|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6547th Meeting (AM)
Unanimously Adopting 1983 (2011), Security Council Encourages Inclusion of HIV
Prevention, Treatment, Care, Support in Implementing Peacekeeping Mandates
Reaffirming its previous commitment to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic as a threat to international peace and security, the Security Council this morning encouraged the incorporation of HIV prevention, treatment, care and support in the implementation of peacekeeping mandates.
Resolution 1983 (2011), building on the first Council action on HIV/AIDS, resolution 1308 (2000), was adopted unanimously in a meeting presided by Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba and addressed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé, on the eve of a high-level General Assembly meeting on global progress in fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Through today’s text, the Council specified that HIV/AIDS programmes in peacekeeping could include confidential counselling, testing and other activities, in the context of assistance to national institutions, security sector reform and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration processes, with particular attention paid to the needs of vulnerable populations, including women and girls.
Through the resolution, the Council also underlined the need to intensify HIV-prevention activities within United Nations missions, and encouraged continued cooperation among troop-contributing States and other Member States in that regard.
Recognizing that conflict- and post-conflict-related violence and instability could exacerbate the epidemic, including through related sexual violence and large movements of people, the Council sought strengthened efforts to implement “zero tolerance” of sexual exploitation and abuse in the missions.
Secretary-General Ban, welcoming the adoption of the resolution, said that “before resolution 1308 (2000) was adopted, uniformed personnel were viewed in terms of the risk they might pose to civilians. Now we understand that United Nations troops and police are part of prevention, treatment and care.” Programmes in security sector reform and demobilization, disarmament and reintegration were critical context for such efforts.
Given the atrocious fact that rape was still a weapon of choice in many conflicts, he urged all Member States to link efforts to combat HIV/AIDS with campaigns against sexual violence and for the rights of women, recognizing the dangerous interaction between AIDS, the international drug trade, sex trafficking, the abuse of women and post-conflict peacebuilding challenges.
Introducing the draft, President Bongo Ondimba said that today’s text went further than the 2000 resolution by encouraging measures to protect civilians from sexual violence and laying the groundwork for a more comprehensive and coordinated international approach.
“The risk HIV poses to peace and security is far more nuanced than we thought in 2000,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), after the adoption, stressing that the nature of conflict, and the epidemic itself, had evolved.
He added that fresh political commitments around the new resolution would enable the United Nations to effectively contribute to the efforts of Member States to address the impact of AIDS on peace and security. In doing so, Member States also would be encouraged to strengthen their response to AIDS in national strategic plans and to put in place appropriate strategies and polices to tackle the threats posed by the disease.
Also taking the floor after the adoption, Council members welcomed the Council’s continued involvement in the fight against HIV/AIDS in post-conflict situations and within peacekeeping missions. The representative of the Russian Federation said that the Council’s work should be incorporated in the system-wide response, but remain focused on those specific situations. “This is where we see the real added value of the Council’s work on the matter,” he said.
Representatives of troop-contributing countries outlined extensive efforts by their nations to combat the disease and, in regard to incorporating HIV prevention into peacekeeping and peacebuilding, stressed that the Council must set out clear goals. President Jonathan of Nigeria said his country, as the largest African troop contributor, had a major stake in ensuring that HIV/AIDS prevention mandates were integrated into its armed services. Outlining a raft of activities, he stressed his commitment to sustaining the momentum to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS in the region and his full support of Council efforts.
Also speaking this morning were the representatives of the United States, Portugal, United Kingdom, India, China, Brazil, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Germany and Lebanon.
The meeting opened at 10:53 a.m. and closed at 12:51 p.m.
The full text of resolution 1983 (2011) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Deeply concerned that in the 30 years since the beginning of the HIV epidemic, more than 60 million people have been infected, more than 25 million people have died and more than 16 million children have been orphaned by AIDS,
“Recalling its meeting of 10 January 2000, on “the situation in Africa: the impact of AIDS on peace and security in Africa” and its subsequent meetings on “HIV/AIDS and international peacekeeping operations”, and reaffirming its commitment to the continuing and full implementation, in a complementary manner of all of its relevant resolutions, including Security Council resolution 1308 (2000), 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009), 1894 (2009), 1960 (2010), and all relevant statements of its President,
“Reaffirming the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS of 2001(A/RES/S-26/2), and the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS of 2006 (A/RES/60/262), including its commitment towards the goal of universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support which will require renewed efforts at local, national, regional and international levels,
“Recalling the Millennium Development Goals Summit Outcome Document (A/RES/65/1) and the report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (A/65/19),
“Taking note of the Secretary General’s report on the implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS (2001) and the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS (2006) (A/65/797),
“Recognizing that HIV poses one of the most formidable challenges to the development, progress and stability of societies and requires an exceptional and comprehensive global response, and noting with satisfaction the unprecedented global response of Member States, public and private partnerships, non-governmental organizations and the important roles of civil society, communities, and persons living with and affected by HIV in shaping the response,
“Emphasizing the important roles of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council in addressing HIV and AIDS, and the continuing need for coordinated efforts of all relevant United Nations entities, in line with their respective mandates, to assist in the global efforts against the epidemic,
“Commending the efforts by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) to coordinate and intensify the global, regional, national and local response to HIV and AIDS in all appropriate forums, and the pivotal role of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria in mobilizing and providing international assistance, including resources, to respond to HIV and AIDS,
“Recognizing that the spread of HIV can have a uniquely devastating impact on all sectors and levels of society, and that in conflict and post-conflict situations, these impacts may be felt more profoundly,
“Further recognizing that conditions of violence and instability in conflict and post-conflict situations can exacerbate the HIV epidemic, inter alia, through large movements of people, widespread uncertainty over conditions, conflict-related sexual violence and reduced access to medical care,
“Recognizing that women and girls are particularly affected by HIV,
“Underlining the importance of concerted efforts towards ending conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence, empowering women in an effort to reduce their risk of exposure to HIV and curbing vertical transmission of HIV from mother to child in conflict and post-conflict situations,
“Noting that the protection of civilians by peacekeeping operations, where mandated, can contribute to an integrated response to HIV and AIDS, inter alia, through the prevention of conflict-related sexual violence,
“Underlining, the continuing negative impact of HIV on the health and fitness of United Nations missions personnel, and concerned that available statistics indicate that health-related issues have become a leading cause of fatality in the field since 2000,
“Welcoming the efforts to implement HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, including voluntary and confidential testing and counselling, programmes by many Member States for their uniformed personnel and by the United Nations for its civilian staff in preparation for deployment to United Nations missions,
“Bearing in mind the Council’s primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security,
“1. Underlines that urgent and coordinated international action continues to be required to curb the impact of the HIV epidemic in conflict and post-conflict situations;
“2. Notes in this context the need for effective and coordinated action at local, national, regional and international levels to combat the epidemic and to mitigate its impact, and the need for a coherent United Nations response to assist Member States to address this issue;
“3. Notes that the disproportionate burden of HIV and AIDS on women is one of the persistent obstacles and challenges to gender equality and empowerment of women, and urges Member States, United Nations entities, international financial institutions and other relevant stakeholders, to support the development and strengthening of capacities of national health systems and civil society networks in order to provide sustainable assistance to women living with or affected by HIV in conflict and post-conflict situations;
“4. Recognizes that United Nations peacekeeping operations can be important contributors to an integrated response to HIV and AIDS, welcomes the incorporation of HIV awareness in mandated activities and outreach projects for vulnerable communities, and encourages further such actions;
“5. Stresses the importance of strong support by United Nations mission civilian and military leadership for HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support, as a factor for reducing the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS;
“6. Requests the Secretary-General to consider HIV-related needs of people living with, affected by and vulnerable to HIV, including women and girls, in his activities pertinent to the prevention and resolution of conflict, the maintenance of international peace and security, the prevention and response to sexual violence related to conflict, and post-conflict peacebuilding;
“7. Encourages the incorporation, as appropriate, of HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, including voluntary and confidential counselling and testing programmes in the implementation of mandated tasks of peacekeeping operations, including assistance to national institutions, to security sector reform and to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration processes; and the need to ensure the continuation of such prevention, treatment, care and support during and after transitions to other configurations of United Nations presence;
“8. Underlines the need to intensify HIV prevention activities within United Nations missions; takes note of the “DPKO/DFS Policy Directive on the Role and Functions of HIV/AIDS Units in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations”, and requests the Secretary-General to ensure the implementation of HIV and AIDS awareness and prevention programmes for United Nations missions;
“9. Requests the Secretary-General to continue and strengthen efforts to implement the policy of zero tolerance of sexual exploitation and abuse in United Nations missions;
“10. Welcomes and encourages continued cooperation among Member States through their relevant national bodies, for the development and implementation of sustainable HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support, capacity-building and programme and policy development for uniformed and civilian personnel to be deployed to United Nations missions;
“11. Invites the Secretary-General to provide further information to the Council as appropriate.”
The Security Council had before it a letter dated 6 June 2011 from the Permanent Representative of Gabon to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (document S/2011/340) transmitting a concept paper for the debate on the impact of HIV/AIDS on international peace and security.
The paper recalls the meeting of the Security Council in January 2000 on the HIV/AIDS epidemic as a threat to international security, which it said drew the world’s attention to the need for a massive mobilization in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and served as an important counterpart to parallel efforts on the part of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council to harness the power of the United Nations to address that threat.
Resolution 1308 (2000), it also recalls, recognizes the potential of the HIV/AIDS pandemic to pose a risk to stability and security, focusing particularly on the potential of the disease to affect United Nations peacekeeping personnel and requesting the Secretary-General to strengthen preventative training, while encouraging Member States to increase cooperation to assist with HIV/AIDS prevention, voluntary and confidential testing, counselling and treatment for personnel to be deployed to peacekeeping operations.
In the 11 years since the adoption of resolution 1308 (2000), it says, there has been much investment in such activities and corresponding progress. However, as shown by statistics of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, since 2000, illness has surpassed accidents and malicious acts as the leading cause of death of United Nations peacekeeping personnel (except for 2010, the year of the Haiti earthquake), although the precise number of deaths related to HIV/AIDS was not known. That trend demands continued emphasis on strengthening national HIV policies for uniformed services, training and health measures for all categories of personnel before deployment to United Nations missions, continuing awareness programmes, a comprehensive command-centred approach and education and health programmes for local populations.
In addition, the paper notes that understanding of HIV/AIDS in conflict areas has improved since 2000. For example, HIV/AIDS incidence has been shown to increase in post-conflict situations, with implications for the role that could be played by peacekeeping and peacebuilding missions in strengthening HIV prevention in their areas of operation. A greater understanding of the gender dimensions of the disease, which disproportionately affect women and girls, has also been gained.
The paper concludes that the Security Council should thus consider how it could maximize the positive potential of United Nations peacekeeping missions to include HIV/AIDS awareness and training when implementing disarmament, demobilization and reintegration processes and in post-conflict justice and security sector reform efforts.
Action on Draft
In introductory remarks as Council President, ALI BONGO ONDIMBA, President of Gabon, said there was no doubt of the impact of HIV/AIDS on international peace and security. Ten years ago, the Security Council, at the initiative of the United States, had adopted resolution 1308 (2000). Gabon, which had just completed a term of office as a non-permanent member of the Council at that time, had participated in the elaboration of that important text, which noted the threat of HIV/AIDS in conflict situations, especially where sexual violence was used as a weapon of war.
With the resolution to be adopted shortly, “we must go further” by adopting measures to protect civilians from sexual violence and lay the groundwork for a more comprehensive and coordinated international approach, he said, thanking all delegations that had supported the new resolution.
Speaking next in his national capacity, he said the General Assembly was set to begin its high-level meeting tomorrow to mark the 10-year anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS. Ten years after the Council’s recognition of the impact of that disease on peace and security, it was time for it to examine the issue again to consider the progress made and challenges encountered.
There had been a positive evolution in the international response to the virus and recognition of its impact on peace and security, specifically generated by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, he said. The United Nations peacekeeping architecture had made significant efforts to promote greater awareness about HIV/AIDS and to establish codes of conduct for peacekeepers and other staff on the ground.
Yet, he noted, new factors continued to impact the dynamics of crises, conflicts and peacebuilding processes, which was particularly evident in sub-Saharan Africa. One major challenge was the cross-border and regional nature of conflict, which often uprooted many people from their homes and risked spreading the disease. Indeed, sexual violence was frequently used as a weapon of war, with disastrous consequences. With the increase in sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations, women and girls were the first to be exposed.
With that in mind, he invited the Council to continue to consider the impact of HIV/AIDS on international peace and security. It should also continue to press for full implementation of resolutions 1325 (2000), 1888 (2009) and 1960 (2010), regarding the need to combat sexual violence, given that was an important aspect of resolving conflict and of peacebuilding. It was desirable to create a synergy between policies to combat HIV/AIDS and those aimed at combating sexual violence in post-conflict and peacebuilding situations. He also invited the international financial institutions to bolster their support for HIV/AIDS programmes.
“On the ground, we must raise awareness of parties to conflict to the impact of their conduct as regards civilian populations, especially that which compounds the spread of HIV/AIDS,” he said. In peacekeeping missions, programmes that combated HIV must be strengthened, as should policies promoting “zero-tolerance” measures.
The Security Council then unanimously adopted resolution 1983 (2011).
BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, welcoming the adoption of the resolution, said: “We have come a long way since health issues were first discussed in this Council,” adding that “now is the time for bold action”.
Since the first Council resolution had been adopted in 2000, he said, the United Nations had become an integral part of the global solution to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Now, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and a number of Governments were training troops to make a difference. Force Commanders in missions around the world had become involved in the effort, with predeployment HIV training now standard, more than 1,500 peacekeepers trained as peer counsellors and some 14,000 receiving testing or counselling.
The fight against the pandemic in post-conflict areas had also become part of the Security Council’s broader mission to protect women and children, and to work so “people recovering from war do not also have to recover from disease”, he said, adding: “In conflict zones, in refugee camps — anywhere people fear for their lives — women, young people and children are more vulnerable to contracting HIV.”
“Before resolution 1308 (2000) was adopted,” he said, “uniformed personnel were viewed in terms of the risk they might pose to civilians. Now, we understand that United Nations troops and police are part of prevention, treatment and care.” Programmes in security sector reform and demobilization, disarmament and reintegration provided a critical context for such efforts.
Given the atrocious fact that rape was still a weapon of choice in many conflicts, he urged all Member States to link efforts to combat HIV/AIDS with campaigns against sexual violence and for the rights of women, recognizing the dangerous interaction between AIDS, the international drug trade, sex trafficking, the abuse of women and post-conflict peacebuilding.
Overall, the effort, he said, must involve regional partners and particularly civil society organizations, including the activists, researchers and health workers who had been important to the progress so far.
MICHEL SIDIBÉ, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), said the global AIDS response was at a crossroads. Ten years ago, the Security Council had adopted resolution 1308 (2000) and the General Assembly had adopted the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS. The international community had made progress over the past decade providing prevention, treatment care and support services to peacekeepers and other uniformed services personnel. “But I am deeply concerned by the ways AIDS still intersects with conflict,” he said, pointing to HIV-impacted peacekeepers and others in uniform and the populations with which they interacted.
That was why the new resolution adopted by the Security Council today was so important, he said. Resolution 1308 (2001) had been a “watershed” moment in the international community’s response to the deadly disease, and all were indebted to the late United States Ambassador Richard Holbrooke for backing that text so passionately. Indeed, Member States had been correct in recognizing AIDS as a potential threat to peace and security. There had been progress against the HIV infection among people in uniform, but it remained uneven and insufficient.
“The risk HIV poses to peace and security is far more nuanced than we thought in 2000,” he said, stressing that the nature of conflict, and the epidemic itself, had evolved. Fresh political commitments around the new resolution would enable the United Nations to effectively contribute to the efforts of Member States to address the impact of AIDS on peace and security. In doing so, Member States would also be encouraged to strengthen their response to AIDS in national strategic plans and to put in place appropriate strategies and polices to tackle the threats posed by the disease.
“Tragically, we have seen increased frequency of sexual violence used as a tactic of war,” he said, emphasizing that the new resolution was correct in calling for HIV prevention among uniformed services to be aligned with efforts to prevent sexual violence in conflict. The disproportionate burden of HIV on women was a serious obstacle to the full participation of women in efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts and build peace. “It is my hope that this new resolution will motivate all parties concerned to empower women, as well as strengthen national health systems and civil-society networks to provide sustainable assistance to women infected or affected by HIV in armed and post-conflict situations,” he said.
Continuing, he said that the global response to AIDS had changed dramatically since the Council had adopted resolution 1308 (2000). Indeed, today, the international community had the capacity to provide wide-scale treatment and to target prevention for populations at higher risk of HIV infection. However, it had also become clear that post-conflict and transition periods also brought risks of increased HIV infections or sexual violence. There had been progress in addressing those challenges, and now was the time to scale them up. To that end, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, in close collaboration with UNAIDS, wanted to work with Member States on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration and security sector reform. That could enable countries to benefit from a force of “blue berets” that was strong, healthy and fit for even the most difficult peacekeeping missions.
He said that over the past decade, the international community had come to understand that peacekeepers and the millions of people in uniform “are not a problem to be fixed, but are a part of the solution”. Their extensive contacts with conflict-affected populations and various settings positioned them as agents of positive change, particularly with respect to preventing violence against women and girls. He also hoped the new resolution would reinvigorate global and regional partnerships working to prevent conflict, ensure security and build peace. “This new resolution is key to realizing the future we all desire — a world with zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.”
GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN, President of Nigeria, praised the holding of the debate on an issue that he said was vital to the future of Africa and the world. As the largest African troop-contributing country, Nigeria had a major stake in ensuring that HIV/AIDS prevention and other mandates were integrated into the country’s armed services. Outlining a raft of activities in that regard, he stressed his commitment to sustaining the momentum to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS in the region.
He joined the international community in calling for action to ensure that women and girls were adequately protected in conflict situations, and approved of integrating HIV/AIDS programmes into peacekeeping mandates. It was incumbent upon the Security Council to set clear goals in that regard, he said, pledging his nation’s full support.
KGALEMA MOTLANTHE, Deputy President of South Africa, acknowledged the global community’s significant progress in addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic through substantial resources for research and notable advances by the pharmaceutical industry to develop drugs that had saved or prolonged millions of lives. But those efforts had yet to turn the tide of the epidemic. The rate of new infections still outpaced treatment intervention, compelling the world to do more. The shortage of financial resources was a challenge for many developing countries, especially in Africa. He encouraged donor partners to fulfil their financial commitments, stressing that no effort should be spared to save lives. The United Nations must pursue that objective earnestly and the Council could play an integrated role in that regard within the ambit of maintaining global peace and security.
He lauded the efforts of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and UNAIDS to address the epidemic in conflict areas. In the short term, qualitative peacekeeping interventions should focus on achieving immediate gains that mitigated the epidemic’s harmful effects. Decisive action to reduce and prevent conflict-related sexual violence might be critical in an integrated United Nations strategy. He called for more focused interventions in the medium and long term. An integrated global response, combined with resources and expertise, could help countries in need of assistance to develop strategies to prevent HIV infection, especially among women and children. The United Nations could help post-conflict societies improve health-care sectors and develop strategies for antiretroviral therapies.
Through joint outreach activities to conflict-affected communities, enhanced political cooperation with host countries and closer collaboration with local law enforcement and health agencies, United Nations peacekeeping operations and local staff on the ground could help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, he said. Peacebuilding efforts must incorporate strategies tailored to the specific needs of affected communities. Those interventions required a vision and commitment supported by long-term investments, based on respect for human rights and the right to dignity, safety and respect.
ALAIN JUPPÉ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of France, said that over the past three decades, HIV/AIDS had killed some 30 million people — far more than any conflict during the same time — and had left behind some 16 million orphans. The international community, including the General Assembly and the Security Council, had taken action through the adoption of important resolutions and declarations on combating the pandemic and addressing its impact on peace and security. The international community also had adopted several initiatives and mechanisms to address the threat, such as UNITAID (international drug purchase facility), UNAIDS and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
He said that those mechanisms had led to significant drops in the pattern and depth of transmission, and to strengthened national health-care capacities, especially in developing countries where the impact of the pandemic had been most devastating. Those steps were positive and should encourage further efforts. At the same time, nearly 300,000 children were born with the virus every year, and infections were continuing. “We must do more. That is the meaning of the resolution that we adopted today,” he said, stressing that France had pledged to increase by 20 per cent its contribution to the Global Fund over the next two years. World leaders at the recent G-8 meeting in Deauville had reaffirmed support for the Fund, as well for broader efforts to curb mother-to-child transmission.
France also strongly supported all efforts to combat sexual violence, including zero-tolerance polices enacted by United Nations peacekeeping missions, he said. The international community had the responsibility to encourage the development of national strategies to combat the disease, based on principles supported by the United Nations, including respect for human rights and the need to end discrimination. France shared the view of — and would work hard to ensure — a world with no more infections, no discrimination and no AIDS-related deaths.
SUSAN RICE (United States), noting that President Barack Obama’s global AIDS coordinator was in attendance at the meeting, said that resolution 1308 (2000) had put the epidemic on the global security agenda, stressing that threats to peace and security came in many forms that were global and knew no borders. In that light, the campaign against HIV/AIDS must not lose its urgency, she said, stressing the magnitude of the effects of the disease and the fact that most people with HIV still lacked treatment. Post-conflict countries were more vulnerable to the epidemic and, thus, efforts must be redoubled to counteract the toll that took at all levels.
She outlined progress that had been made in fighting HIV in armed services, with the United States partnering with some 70 militaries worldwide. Such efforts, she urged, must be made robust and consistent across all peacekeeping contingents. Noting impressive global achievements in treatment and prevention, she said, however, that too many people still died from that preventable disease and pledged that the United States would keep its leadership role on the issue. She urged other countries to step up and do more as well and, in that light, she congratulated the Government of Gabon for its increased attention. Indeed, conquering the threat of HIV/AIDS required the coordinated efforts of the international community. She concluded: “It is a challenge that could only be met by us all together.”
JOSÉ FILIPE MORAES CABRAL (Portugal) regretted the increasing number of cases of conflict-related sexual violence at a time when conflicts were growing in number and intensity. When combined with HIV/AIDS, those situations were particularly explosive. He noted the high prevalence of HIV among female victims of sexual violence, stressing its lasting consequences must be addressed through post-conflict peacebuilding strategies. It was important to implement effective integrated programmes that addressed sexual violence, HIV prevention and AIDS treatment in conflict and post-conflict settings. He commended collaboration between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and UNAIDS to foster HIV/AIDS awareness among peacekeepers. The United Nations should take the lead in setting the highest possible medical standards to protect peacekeepers and local populations from the epidemic.
He also welcomed the Peacekeeping Operations Department’s move to install HIV/AIDS advisers in missions. Measures of both the Department and UNAIDS must be complemented by fully implemented medical guidelines for peacekeeping operations. Countries must increasingly harmonize predeployment and in-country awareness programmes. He noted efforts by the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support in that area, including in-mission induction training and peer education. He lauded the United Nations comprehensive strategy to eliminate sexual abuse in United Nations peacekeeping operations as a major step forward. Training to prevent sexual violence should be strengthened and integrated into policy and law enforcement practices.
MARK LYALL GRANT (United Kingdom) said the resolution just adopted and today’s debate sent a strong message that the HIV/AIDS epidemic still had an impact on international peace and security. His Government was deeply committed to the global combat against the pandemic and looked forward to a strong political declaration being adopted by the General Assembly at the conclusion of its upcoming high-level debate. While the international community had made significant strides to curb the spread of the disease, it should also remain concerned at the high number of HIV infections and repatriations among peacekeeping personnel.
Continuing, he said peacekeepers were currently more likely to die from illness than from activities carried out undertaking their mandates. Tackling HIV/AIDS among peacekeeping personnel was essential, but both peacekeepers and the populations they were protecting were at risk. There used to be a fear that the spread of the virus during the “fog of war” could have debilitating effect, but now it was clear that the spread of the disease post-conflict could be equally devastating.
United Nations peacekeepers were uniquely placed, especially with their wide contacts with civilian populations, to ensure the virus did not gain a foothold in local communities, he said. They should be seen as positive agents for change in post-conflict societies and, among other initiatives, could spearhead awareness-raising or education programmes for demobilized combatants. “Peacekeeping operations can affect real change on the ground,” he said.
VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said his delegation believed that tackling the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic required complementary and coordinated work, and the distribution of labour between the Security Council, General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. Specifically, the Security Council’s efforts must be incorporated into the system-wide response, but with a focus on conflict and post-conflict situations. “This is where we see the real added value of the Council’s work on the matter,” he said.
HIV/AIDS was not a source of conflict, but the disease often exacerbated the impact of fighting, he said. Affected countries required coordinated and targeted support from the United Nations, and the Russian Federation agreed with priorities set out by UNAIDS and other related mechanisms and programmes. It was also of great importance to work with troop- and police-contributing countries to provide a coordinated response and to promote the adoption of relevant polices for uniformed personnel.
Also important was to acknowledge the impact of the disease on women and children, he said. Indeed, the disease prevented women from participating in settlement processes. The Security Council’s important resolutions on “women and peace and security” provided a solid foundation for efforts in that area. Tackling the myriad challenges posed by the pandemic was a priority for the Russian Federation, which had contributed significantly to the Global Fund. The special role of the United Nations was coordinating a common response to the disease.
HARDEEP SINGH PURI (India) said that as the “scourge of our times”, HIV/AIDS had caused untold misery for millions of people worldwide. While international and domestic efforts to tackle HIV and AIDS were beginning to show results, they must be accelerated and support must be intensified. The lack of firm financial commitment for developing countries to bolster prevention and treatment, and the high cost of medicines exacerbated through trade and intellectual property rights barriers for generics required immediate attention. India was striving to control and tackle the spread of HIV and AIDS through a massive national AIDS control programme, which was buttressed by more broad-based awareness and educational initiatives. The involvement of local communities and civil society at all policy stages had also provided impetus to India’s success. Indeed, latest statistics showed overall reductions in adult HIV prevalence and new infections, although the country’s disease burden in absolute terms remained high, at 2.27 million.
Dubbed as the “pharmacy of the world”, India’s contribution to the global fight against HIV and AIDS extended well beyond its borders, particularly by ensuring the supply of safe, effective, affordable and good quality generic antiretroviral treatment to other developing countries, he said. There was an urgent need to recognize the ways in which the epidemic was fuelled by armed conflict and post-conflict situations, and where there was a lack of information and credible data on the magnitude of HIV and AIDS. Stressing the need for United Nations mission leaders to be sensitive to that global public health challenge, he welcomed the incorporation of HIV-awareness activities in peacekeeping, as well as outreach projects to vulnerable communities. India strongly supported the incorporation of preventive measures in the preparation and discipline of peacekeeping forces. Noting that the “abhorrent and intolerable” practices of sexual violence in armed conflict could lead to the spread of HIV and AIDS, he voiced further support for peacekeeping activities and operations to proactively working to prevent violence against women and children.
LI BAODONG (China), outlining the continuing challenges of HIV/AIDS in conflict and post-conflict countries, said it was important to strengthen global cooperation in the area and implement international commitments. Developed countries must provide assist with technology and financing for developing countries in general. In post-conflict countries, the Peacebuilding Commission and other bodies must give adequate attention to HIV/AIDS, and the response to the disease must be incorporated into security sector reform, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, and other post-conflict programmes. Efforts to combat the disease within peacekeeping missions must also be strengthened. Continued coordination between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and UNAIDS also was important in that context.
MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI (Brazil) said today’s debate was an opportunity for the Council to support the General Assembly meeting. The Council’s efforts in the area should focus on the impact of HIV/AIDS on conflict and post-conflict situations, peacekeeping operations and sexual violence in situations of conflict. In that light, the way that HIV/AIDS hampered the emergence of sustainable peace and affected peacekeeping must be addressed. Creative ways must be found for peacekeeping missions to support local authorities in combating the disease and assisting those living with the virus. The human rights components of peacekeeping missions could play an important role in that regard.
The issue, she stressed, was closely linked to the Council’s consideration of women and conflict. The intersection between HIV and conflict-related sexual violence was real and troubling, and she deplored the grave harm caused to victims of sexual violence who found themselves infected with the virus as a result of such attacks. She underlined the need for the Council to help provide assistance to those victims. She was pleased that the resolution adopted today touched on all those issues and laid the basis for a more systematic analysis of the impact of epidemics on situations of conflict.
IVAN BARBALIĆ (Bosnia and Herzegovina) said the spread of HIV negatively impacted all sectors and levels of society. The epidemic was exacerbated by violence, and people fleeing conflict — displaced persons or refugees — were vulnerable. Peacekeepers could play an important role in raising HIV/AIDS awareness and providing the means of prevention in post-conflict settings. Thus, training them in gender awareness, child protection and the ability to recognize and respond to sexual violence would add value to their role as agents of change. States should institutionalize voluntary and confidential testing of all uniformed personnel sent to peacekeeping missions and be able to track national policies.
Noting that HIV negatively affected women’s involvement in peacebuilding, he underlined that UNAIDS, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations could work with local communities to target vulnerable categories and take part in broader disarmament, demobilization and reintegration activities. Further, peacekeepers must be held accountable for their response to AIDS, especially in continuing zero tolerance of sexual exploitation and abuse in United Nations missions. Strengthening national health systems was also critical. As for the United Nations, he urged better coordination in responding to conflict-related sexual violence.
NÉSTOR OSORIO (Colombia) said that 30 years after the first case of HIV/AIDS had been discovered, and with the sad loss of some 30 million lives and just as many people living with the disease, it was encouraging that prevention strategies were paying off, as evinced by the 25 per cent drop in new HIV infections between 2001 and 2009. However, it was troubling that global investment in combating the disease was falling at exactly the time when such strategies were yielding positive results. The shortfall predicted by UNAIDS over the next four years put at risk broad achievement of the relevant Millennium Development Goal target for reducing the number of infections by 2015.
He hoped that the agreement to be reached during the General Assembly’s high-level meeting would reflect the urgency in securing the necessary resources to maintain positive trends and realize the goal to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, also by 2015. Anything less would be a step backwards from the commitments made by world leaders when they had adopted the Declaration on HIV/AIDS. Colombia was convinced that the fight against the pandemic would be enhanced if it was based on respect for human rights and safeguarding human dignity. It was necessary to intensify efforts to end the stigma and discrimination suffered by affected populations, which were obstacles to efforts to control the spread of the disease.
Colombia also recognized that the magnitude of the epidemic required comprehensive and coordinated action and that such action should be funnelled through the General Assembly, as the main “discussion and consensus-building forum”. However, the Security Council, in the framework of its responsibilities under the Charter, could play an important role in promoting and integrating prevention programmes, treatment, care and support through the implementation of the tasks assigned to peacekeeping operations. It could also ensure the continuity of such strategies during post-conflict transition and peacebuilding processes.
MIGUEL BERGER (Germany) said that 11 years after the adoption of resolution 1308 (2000), the risk of exposure to HIV/AIDS was especially high in conflict and post-conflict situations, as well as in transition processes. The epidemic destroyed social structures and could be considered a cause of political weakness and conflict aggravation. On the other hand, conflict exacerbated the problem within societies, with access to prevention and treatment ranging from difficult to nearly impossible in some areas. Prevalence was an estimated three to four times higher among armed forces and groups than among the general population.
As children were often misused as soldiers, they must be provided with special HIV-related health care, he said, adding that Germany had initiated several projects for former child soldiers and girls that had been sexually exploited by armed groups in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Voluntary testing and counselling must be provided and antiretroviral drugs supplied, he said, citing refugees and combatants in that context. In transition processes, an effective international response to ensure assistance might have to rely on the establishment of local health centres. To reduce HIV/AIDS-related deaths among peacekeepers, States should develop strategies for personnel participating in peacekeeping operations.
NAWAF SALAM (Lebanon) said that in order to more fully understand the complex relationship between HIV/AIDS and conflict, more data needed to be compiled and shared in the United Nations system. Close coordination with local and national AIDS initiatives also was critical, as was mainstreaming HIV/AIDS prevention and care policies into conflict prevention, peacekeeping operations and humanitarian responses to conflicts. Peacekeepers’ efforts should be aligned with the ultimate goal of a universal standard for HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment and care.
In addition, he said, the international community should sustain attention in conflict societies with high HIV prevalence, beyond the lifespan of the peacekeeping mission. Priorities in that area were increasing State capacity in the health sector and in delivery of other basic services. Support should be provided to national Governments in formulating their policies to respond to HIV during post-conflict transitions, especially in the context of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants and security sector reform programmes. It was important in those periods to foster community resilience, engage civil society and base the response to the epidemic on a framework of participation and inclusiveness. No effort should be spared to preserve the life and dignity of individuals in the context of all efforts to combat HIV/AIDS.
* *** *For information media • not an official record