Former French Foreign Minister Douste-Blazy Appointed To Serve As Special U.N. Adviser On Innovative Funding For MDGs

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed former French foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy as special adviser on innovative financing for the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, U.N. deputy spokesperson Marie Okabe announced Tuesday, the AP/International Herald Tribune reports (AP/International Herald Tribune, 2/20). Because “official development assistance is still insufficient to achieve” the MDGs — which include curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases — Ban “sees the urgency for innovative sources of funding to be developed and promoted worldwide to fill this critical gap,” Okabe said in a statement.

Douste-Blazy currently serves as chair of the executive board of UNITAID, the international drug purchasing facility that uses airline tax revenues for programs in developing countries. Douste-Blazy will be tasked with promoting UNITAID and finding other sources of alternative funding to achieve the MDGs.

Douste-Blazy said that he plans to bring more countries on board to finance the MDGs through a mandatory airfare tax or through voluntary contributions by airline passengers. He also cited online gambling among other alternative types of financing. “Many people are working on innovative financing,” Douste-Blazy said, adding, “We now need to provide coordination” (AFP/Tocqueville Connection, 2/19).

Douste-Blazy also said that he plans to organize a global conference in 2009 that will focus on development financing from individuals, local officials, foundations, nongovernmental organizations, faith-based groups and businesses. “We want to organize little by little a worldwide citizen movement, with citizens, with private companies, besides states, to set up innovative financing,” Douste-Blazy said. He noted that one of his priorities will be the “traceability” of money so that donors can track how their donations are spent (Worsnip, Reuters, 2/19).

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