What's a group like the G8 to do when it is forced to weigh competing funding requests for two critical, equally weighty issues such as AIDS prevention and global warming? That is the question it must now face as it mulls redirecting billions of dollars of funding currently targeted towards fighting AIDS to tackle climate change within the next few years.
Members of the G8 have been "under pressure" in recent weeks to clarify their pledge of $60 billion for combating AIDS at last month's Heiligendamm summit, according to Jon Liden, a spokesman for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Ban Ki Moon, the U.N. secretary-general, criticized rich nations for the "lack of significant increases in official development assistance since 2004" and urged them to spend more on assistance to developing countries.Liden, citing the recent release of several highly publicized reports on global warming, acknowledged that the Global Fund "is not naive about what (the increased importance of) global warming will do to AIDS funding in a few years' time," adding that the "huge momentum" behind its funding "cannot last for ever." Indeed, that time may be arriving sooner than even Liden anticipated: Oxfam and Data, two development assistance groups, have attacked the G8's pledge as an "act of deception," arguing that under the nations' current budgets, the $60 billion figure would mean only $3 billion in new funding by 2010.
Yet what is the G8 to do? Both AIDS prevention and global warming are arguably some of the most pressing issues we face today and in the near future so making a decision as to whether to fund one over the other is bound to raise a lot of questions and concerns. There are valid arguments that could be made on either side to defend one position over another.
In an ideal world, the industrialized nations would pledge enough money to substantively fund both but, given the current state of affairs, that is not likely to happen any time soon.
See also: ::People and Planet: UK Students Tackling Poverty, Human Rights and Environmental Issues, ::G8 Summit: US to "Seriously Consider" European Climate Pact, ::G8 Nations Hit Brick Wall On Climate