|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Secretary-General Stresses Need for More Efficient, Equitable Use of Resources
in Scaling Up Response to HIV Among Women, Children
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the meeting for “A Call to Action: Protecting Mothers and Children against AIDS” in New York, today, 23 September:
I want to thank you all for coming here today, especially those directly affected by HIV/AIDS, who have made an invaluable contribution to the global response.
We can all be proud that we have finally begun to make progress against HIV. Today, more than four million people in developing countries are on AIDS treatment. That is up from virtually no one just five years ago.
In a few days, the World Health Organization will release new figures showing more progress, but still not nearly enough. We urgently need major new advances. That is why I am calling for a more ambitious approach. To save lives. To help mothers and children around the world. We have effective drugs. There is no reason any mother should die from AIDS. There is no cause for any child to be born with HIV. If we work hard enough, we can virtually eliminate mother-to-child transmission.
I applaud the efforts of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UNAIDS [the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS] and UNICEF [the United Nations Children's Fund]. And I especially commend Madame Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the Global Fund Ambassador to Protect Mothers and Children against AIDS. I am deeply grateful that the renowned First Lady of France is championing a cause so close to our hearts.
We all agree that the world must scale up its response to HIV among women and children. But we are also realistic about what it takes to get the job done: More resources. Used more efficiently. With a commitment to equity. Next year, I will chair a meeting at which countries can demonstrate their commitment to funding. They should pledge to meet the ambitious targets which I hope you will set today. The future of countless parents and children is at stake.
When I learned about this meeting, I was looking forward to seeing Keren Gonzales, who I last met at the International Conference on AIDS in Mexico. She was the youngest speaker there –- and by far the most powerful. Unfortunately, because of the situation in her country, Honduras, Keren was unable to fly here to join us. I am grateful to Christina Rodriguez for agreeing to read Keren’s message and offering her own thoughts.
I want to share the words of Keren’s mother, Rosa. She was describing her husband, Keren’s late father. “Allan”, she said, “made it clear from the beginning days of his activism that he had a responsibility to speak for those who had no voice.” I was sad when I learned that Allan passed away earlier this year. But I take comfort in knowing that his powerful message still rings out loud and clear. We see his bold compassion in countless activists giving voice to the voiceless.
Now is the time to amplify this voice –- and to keep on speaking out until no mother dies of AIDS, and no child is infected with HIV.
* *** *For information media • not an official record