Robin Hood tax on financial transactions proposed for fight against AIDS

Activists are calling for a tax of 0.005% on all financial transactions worldwide, to raise some $33 billion dollars per year for development and particularly to replace dwindling funding for life-saving AIDS drugs. Protestors at the world AIDS forum in Vienna on 21 July said a “Robin Hood” tax on financial transactions would be one of a series of new funding initiatives, and said the time is right to propose it ahead of a review summit on Millennium Development Goals in September and a G20 meeting in November.
Funding from by rich donor nations to poor countries fighting HIV and AIDS fell back in 2009 to $7.6 billion, from $7.7 bln in 2008. The turnaround set alarm bells ringing for tens of thousands of people in Africa who are kept alive through expensive courses of ART drugs. Cutbacks could be a death sentence.
The 2009 decline ended 6 years of increases averaging more than 10% a year. The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is seeking $17 bln in pledges for 2011-2013, compare to total funding of $1.2 bln for anti-HIV drugs and other initiatives in 2002.
According to news reports, campaigners at the AIDS forum said it was time for innovative financing solutions for development. Dr Philippe Douste-Blazy, former French Minister of Foreign Affairs and Special Adviser on Innovative Financing for Development, said: “It is up to us to explain to the Heads of State that that they do not have any other solution because we know it only depends on political will.” His organisation UNITAID ( has implemented a small tax on airline tickets. In its first 2 years of existence UNITAID committed $730 million of fresh funds to tackle HIV and AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. A portion of thoe funds came from low- and middle- income countries, mostly through the air tax mechanism. UNITAID, in partnership with the Clinton Health Access Initiative ( has stimulated the manufacture of new medicine formulations as well as funded an integrated package of care for HIV-positive children.


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