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Bono Calls on Policy Makers and Faith Leaders to Fully Fund Initiatives to Beat AIDS and Extreme Poverty

Washington, D.C.– Addressing the National Prayer Breakfast, U2 lead singer and DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa) co-founder Bono today called on faith leaders and policy makers to support life-saving initiatives to fight global AIDS and extreme poverty, asking for their support of ONE and an additional 1% of the U.S. federal budget for effective international assistance.

By this evening, Bono will have addressed both the National Prayer Breakfast and the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference.

“It must be an emergency when an Irish rock star is being invited to speak at the National Prayer Breakfast and the House Democrat annual retreat all on the same day. And it is. Because in this long day 6,500 Africans will die of AIDS and 110 million kids won’t get to go to school,” Bono said of the event.

“The good news is that politicians on both sides, and more importantly the people who elect them, are all joining as ONE against AIDS and the extreme poverty in which it thrives. The great news will be when the effective programs to beat AIDS and extreme poverty are finally fully funded.”

Most Americans would be surprised to learn that less than 1% of the federal budget is currently marked for development assistance, with surveys often incorrectly estimating numbers as high as 15%. Currently, the U.S. devotes far less than one penny of every dollar to the fight against global AIDS and extreme poverty.

With an additional ONE percent of the federal budget, America could help a global effort to prevent 10 million children from becoming AIDS orphans, get 104 million children into grade school, provide water to almost 900 million people around the globe and build a better, safer world for all.

2005 brought unprecedented public action on bolder measures to fight global AIDS and extreme poverty. On a wave of support from over 1.6 million Americans and half a million letters to President Bush, the U.S. made historic commitments on international assistance and debt cancellation at the July G8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland. 2006 will be critical to the success of these efforts, with robust increases needed for effective development assistance efforts that fight global poverty and AIDS in the Fiscal Year 2007 budget, scheduled to be announced on February 6th.

ONE asks that the U.S. allocate an additional 1% of the federal budget to fighting poverty-an increase of $25 billion to be reached over 5 years, requiring a $5 billion increase annually. A $5 billion increase above FY2006 passed levels for development and humanitarian assistance programs, focused on funding the fight against extreme poverty and global AIDS, core development and humanitarian accounts and meeting U.S. commitments on the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) and Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria will make the difference in keeping America’s historic promises.

ONE is a new effort by Americans to rally Americans, one by one, to fight the emergency of global AIDS and extreme poverty. ONE was founded by 11 of America’s most well-known and respected non-profit, advocacy and humanitarian organizations: Bread for the World, CARE, DATA, International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam America, Plan USA, Save the Children US, World Concern, and World Vision. For the complete list of all coalition partners, please visit www.ONE.org.