Fifty-fifth General Assembly
93rd Meeting (PM)
GENERAL ASSEMBLY APPROVES LIST OF CIVIL SOCIETY PARTICIPANTS
FOR JUNE HIV/AIDS SPECIAL SESSION
The General Assembly this afternoon approved a list of 112 civil society organizations seeking accreditation to its special session on HIV/AIDS and to its preparatory process.
The Assembly approved the list, which concerned organizations not in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, as corrected and decided it would return to the issue of civil society participation at a later stage, when the Secretariat released a list of additional organizations.
This afternoon's action was part of preparations for the special session, to be held at Headquarters from 25 to 27 June 2001. Informal consultations in preparation for the special session are being held this week at Headquarters focusing on the Secretary-General’s report (document A/55/779), which was issued at a 20 February Headquarters press conference. A second round of informal consultations will be held from 21 to 26 May and will focus on the outcome document for the session.
The report, which will be the only document before the special session, states that epidemic has become a “truly global emergency” and examines its spread and reviews its impact -– demographic, social, economic and from the standpoint of the security of people and nations. It also summarizes lessons learned in the struggle to combat the disease and outlines major challenges. Critical areas requiring increased effort, it says, are political leadership, cross-sectoral coordination and adequate resources.
At present, it adds, the resources available were less than one fifth of what was needed in Africa alone, which has been the hardest hit, with some
3.8 million infections in 2000 alone. It also asks Member States to consider ways to alleviate the epidemic's social and economic impact, reduce vulnerability, and address gender inequity and exclusion of marginalized groups.
As the Assembly prepared to approve the list this afternoon, Lynne Lambert (United States) said it should provide for participation by a broad range of civil society organizations, as well as people living with AIDS and the business sector, including representatives of the pharmaceutical industry. The United States was disappointed that the list was not as broadly based as had been anticipated, because it did not include many representatives of the business sector.
Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), explained that the international association representing pharmaceutical producers had consultative status with the Economic and Social Council and, as such, was accredited to the entire process. In addition, some organizations were members of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board.
Ross Hynes (Canada) noted that when the list was released, UNAIDS had explained that it had not been able to process all the non-governmental organizations. It had been agreed that a second group of participants would be approved later.
Assembly President Harri Holkeri (Finland) said the Secretariat had informed him that a second list would be processed.
In other business this afternoon, the Assembly took note that Guatemala and Libya had made the necessary payments to reduce their arrears below the amount specified in Article 19 of the United Nations Charter.
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