Statements and Webcast
H. E. Mr. Erik Solheim, Minister of Environment and International Development
9 June 2011
- Statement: English (Check against delivery)
ERIK SOLHEIM, Minister for the Environment and International Development of Norway, said the approaches that worked well on HIV were those based on rights and promoting peoples’ dignity, and important partners in the response were people living with the virus, as well as key populations, such as men who have sex with men, transgender persons, drug users, prisoners and sex workers. “Remarkable” results had been achieved in the last 30 years, and transforming those gains was crucial to the next phase of the HIV response. HIV/AIDS programmes should be mainstreamed into national health systems, with links to sexual and reproductive health programmes being particularly important. An integrated approach to AIDS and tuberculosis was also vital.
Women’s social, political and economic empowerment was crucial, he said, urging States to provide the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) with tools to advance women’s rights. In the declaration to be adopted, Norway would have wanted to see clearer messages on several issues to curb the epidemic, especially an acknowledgement of the importance of sexual and reproductive rights. Nonetheless, the text contained ambitious targets and he was confident that new strategies of UNAIDS and the World Health Organization (WHO) would serve as good tools to implement it. Some religious preaching had added to the burden of persons living with HIV, and Norway was disappointed that, during negotiations, representatives of faiths had not been helpful in fighting sigma, promoting dignity and addressing the needs and rights of marginalized groups.