International News

Former President Clinton, U.N. Advisor Douste-Blazy Announce Voluntary Airline Ticket Donation

May 21, 2009

Former President Clinton has joined efforts to raise money for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria from travelers purchasing electronic airline tickets, the New York Times reports. At a press conference in Paris with United Nations special advisor Philippe Douste-Blazy, Clinton said, "If you provide a user-friendly, efficient way of giving, the contributors will use this system."

The U.N. is behind the effort, which will enable travelers to voluntarily add a $2 donation for projects to fight malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS when buying an airline ticket, the Times reports. Both Clinton and Douste-Blazy are working with a newly formed group — Leading Innovative Financing for Equity, or LIFE. LIFE is comprised of eight different groups working to raising money for health aid. According to Douste-Blazy, efforts targeting small donors will begin in January 2010. He added that "the idea is that the citizens of the world are connected by the Internet and credit cards and can show their solidarity."

The groups also hope to reach people renting cars, booking hotels or buying train tickets, the Times reports (Carvajal, New York Times, 5/21). Clinton said U.S. air passengers will be able to voluntarily participate in the program, adding, "There is no question that huge numbers of people will participate in this. They understand that it doesn't cost much and that 100% will go to save lives." (AFP/, 5/20).

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