Debate: Impact of HIV and AIDS on International Peace and Security
(New York, June 7, 2011)
Statement by H.E. Ambassador Néstor Osorio Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations
I want to thank the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon and Mr. Michel Sidibe, Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS - UNAIDS for their contributions
30 years after the first case of AIDS was recorded, with nearly 30 million AIDS-related deaths and 34 million people living with HIV worldwide, it is encouraging to hear that prevention strategies are paying off and that, between 2001 and 2009, the global rate of new HIV infections fell by almost 25%.
However, Mr. Sidibe statement about the reduction of international investments in a time when the AIDS response is working is worrisome. The shortfall on funds predicted by UNAIDS for 2015 puts the achievement of Millennium Development Goal 6 at risk, in particular, the target of reducing new infections.
We hope that the agreement to be reached in the framework of high-level meeting on the comprehensive review of the progress achieved in realizing the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS to held from tomorrow through Friday will reflect the urgency of securing the necessary resources to maintain this positive trend and to realize the goal to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2015.
The opposite would be a setback from the commitments of the Heads of State and Government, as reflected in the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS of 2006 with regards insuring the availability of additional funds for countries to have access to predictable and sustainable financial resources; to ensure that international funding is consistent with national plans and strategies on HIV and AIDS; and to increase the investment on research and drug development, new products, and technologies that are safe and affordable.
My country is convinced that the fight against HIV and AIDS will benefit from an approach based on respect for human rights and safeguarding human dignity. It is necessary to intensify efforts to eradicate stigma and discrimination suffered by affected populations, and that constitutes an obstacle to control the epidemic. It is also necessary to strengthen sexual education programs based on respect for human rights and that encourage the exercise of sexual and reproductive rights with a clear gender perspective and respect for differences.
This approach should be accompanied by adequate, quality and timely social services provision. Since the poorest communities are at higher risk and are especially vulnerable, preventive strategies should be considered not only as HIV and AIDS projects, but primarily, as development projects that impact the epidemic in a sustainable manner. However, national efforts are not enough without the technical and financial cooperation of the international community. The joint work of States and international cooperation agencies is needed to overcome the access gaps that still exist, to address the most vulnerable populations, to implement comprehensive preventive strategies, to ensure adequate supplies for diagnosis and treatment, and to strengthen epidemiological studies.
We agree with the Secretary-General that support should be given to countries in taking full advantage of the flexibilities inherent in the Doha Declaration and on the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In this context and bearing in mind that the Agreement does not prevent members from taking measures to protect public health, the international community should reaffirm the commitment to interpret and implement the Agreement in a manner supportive of the right to protect public health and, in particular, to promote access to medicines for all including the production of generic antiretroviral drugs and other essential drugs for AIDS-related infections.
Colombia recognizes that the magnitude of the HIV epidemic requires comprehensive and coordinated action by the international community, and that the actions of the United Nations system to provide a comprehensive response to the epidemic should continue favoring the General Assembly as a discussion and consensus building forum. However, in the framework of its responsibilities under the Charter, the Security Council can play an important role in the promotion and integration of prevention programs, treatment, care and support on the implementation of the tasks assigned to Peacekeeping Operations and to ensure the continuity of these strategies during the post-conflict transition and peacebuilding processes.
In this context and as an opportunity to review the progress made on implementing previous mandates, we appreciate the celebration of this important debate and we endorse the resolution to be adopted by the Council as a strong sign for a renewed political will to improve the global response to the HIV epidemic and to strengthen cooperation to achieve the goal of zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.
Thank you very much, Mr. President.