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Republic of Guinea Introduces Air Solidarity Levy to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria

Mali Makes its second contribution to UNITAID

Geneva, 30 June 2011 — At an international meeting on innovative financing last weekend in Bamako, Mali, the Republic of Guinea announced the establishment of an air solidarity levy on all flights taking off from national soil.  The funds will be donated to UNITAID to continue to impact on global markets for health commodities in order to expand access to treatment for HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria.  At the same meeting, Mali made its second contribution to UNITAID, amounting to US$ 305 000, in addition to the US$ 402 000 disbursed in 2010.

"UNITAID warmly thanks the governments of Guinea and Mali for their commitment to national and international development and their success in implementing a revolutionary financing tool to boost aid to development," said Philippe Douste-Blazy, Chairman of the UNITAID Executive Board.

To date, over US$ 5 billion has been raised through innovative financing mechanisms.  At the meeting of the Leading Group on Innovative Financing for development in Bamako, a declaration was drafted urging the Leading Group's 63 member countries to implement an innovative financing tool over the coming year.

The President of Mali, His Excellency Mr Amadou Toumani Touré, praised UNITAID's commitment to the fight against the three pandemics.  "It is of our duty, in light of reduced Official Development Aid, to build on the undeniable success of mechanisms such as UNITAID, and to encourage the international community towards greater solidarity mobilization, in order to address both the large and numerous challenges we face in meeting the Millennium Development Goals," he said.

Among its 29 member countries UNITAID counts several from Africa, namely: Cameroon, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Niger, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"We understand that implementing the levy at the national level can take time,"  said Philippe Duneton, Deputy Executive Secretary of UNITAID.  "But we are truly thankful for the efforts made by the Guinean Ministry and encourage others to follow this innovative example of South-South cooperation."

UNITAID funds projects in 94 countries and to date has collected more than one billion dollars through the air levy, complemented by some donors' direct budgetary contributions.  With over US 1.6 billion spent in less than five years on health commodities to test and treat HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, UNITAID has played a critical role in reducing the price of a number of key medicines and in creating a market for child-friendly HIV/AIDS treatments.

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