Statements and Webcast
H.E. Mr. Kevin Rudd, Minister for Foreign Affairs
10 June 2011
- Statement: English (Check against delivery)
KEVIN RUDD, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, said: “we are not here to describe a problem. The purpose here today is to make a difference”, as nations in 2000 had resolved to halt and reverse the spread of HIV by 2015. That was why they had had the audacity to embrace the Millennium Development Goals a decade ago, a pursuit which Australia fully embraced. The country had increased its ODA by 50 per cent; its ODA budget was among the fastest-growing in the world and the country aimed to be among the top 10 ODA providers. In that context, he said that in over 30 years, 30 million people had died of HIV/AIDS. Today, 33 million people were living with HIV and 16 million children had been orphaned by the epidemic.
“These figures are stark,” he said, adding, however, that they contained real elements of hope if built upon. The world now must ask: “what if we had done nothing” — on prevention, antiretroviral drugs or research, where breakthroughs had occurred. “The challenge would have become an apocalypse.” Indeed, HIV/AIDS was about faces across the breadth of the human family. It did not respect gender, age or sexuality. It was a challenge for everyone and particularly affected the poor, which was why its impacts were most seen in Africa. Australia had invested $1 billion in AIDS programmes worldwide, and increased by 50 per cent its contributions to the Global Fund. In closing, he said that, without appropriate care, more than 50 per cent of newly infected infants would die because of the disease. Australia fully embraced the goal outlined in the new declaration to eliminate all infections in newborns by 2015. “Global declarations are not worth the paper they are written on unless they galvanize action,” he declared.