Just over a year ago the Special Session of the UNGA on HIV/Aids became a key milestone in the international community’s effort to combat HIV/Aids. The Secretary General will be reporting on progress soon. Earlier, in January 2000, the Security Council discussed key aspects of HIV/Aids relevant to its responsibility for international peace and security and agreed that it should regularly share information and views with ECOSOC. It is to follow up these initiatives that I am glad to have this opportunity of being with you today.
We are familiar with HIV/Aids statistics. 3.4 million new infections and 2.3 million deaths in Africa alone in 2001. And rapidly rising infection rates in Asia, Europe and the Caribbean. And a cold fact: HIV/Aids is going to get worse before it gets better. We have not yet begun to see the mortality that HIV/Aids will inevitably bring to many countries. It has enormous potential to unravel societies, destroy economies and roll back the development gains of the last thirty years. A new generation of leadership in Africa may be lost. HIV/Aids is a major risk to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. There is no doubt that this appalling situation has a bearing on Africa's capacity, even with the help of the international community, to generate enduring stability and security.
an integrated response
HIV/Aids knows no boundaries. Neither does it respect the institutional mechanisms which we have established to resolve our problems. Our response must be coherent and sustained over a long period of time and guided by the Declaration of Commitments adopted at the recent UNGASS on HIV/Aids. It must be truly integrated so that we leave no gaps for HIV/Aids to exploit within the UN system and across the international community. Our strategy must involve national governments, civil society and the private sector.
The Secretary General in his report earlier this year on the “Prevention of Armed Conflict” recognised the need for the Security Council and ECOSOC to work more closely together on conflict issues and, inter alia, on HIV/Aids. We have made an excellent start by building stronger communication and information links. And this is already producing results. We can now see evidence of HIV/AIDs being successfully mainstreamed into our work on conflict and emergencies, through:
· raising awareness amongst and developing HIV/Aids training programmes for, all humanitarian agencies and peace-keeping forces;
· developing national strategies for addressing the spread of HIV/Aids amongst national uniformed services and civil defence forces;
· providing special consideration to the needs of the women and children and the impact HIV/Aids has on their lives.
GA Resolution S-26/2 - the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/Aids (August 2001); SC Resolutions 1325 on Women and Peace and Security (October 2000) and 1379 on Children and Armed Conflict (November 2001) are testaments to the momentum we are building.
measuring progress, acting on results
An important challenge now is to build on the impact this work is having; to learn lessons both positive and negative; and to feed those lessons into our future planning. This does not necessarily mean building new and complex structures. We should begin by with implementing effectively the decisions we have already taken and then move to assessing what more is needed. We need to support the professional organisations on the ground. And we need to listen to and provide a voice for people who are battling day to day with HIV/Aids in every sense.
building a partnership
I would like to end by underlining the commitment of the Security Council to continue working to work effectively with ECOSOC on the issue of HIV/AIDs. I pay tribute on behalf of the Security Council to UNAIDS and the many NGOs and other workers who are performing wonders in this field. But there is a huge amount still to do. Our Councils, each in their own sphere, share the responsibility for ensuring that the UN realises its enormous potential for contributing to, indeed leading, an integrated global response. Today more than ever the UN system understands the linkages between peace, sustainable development, security and respect for human rights. The Secretary General is providing leadership and political will. Our main challenge is to support him and work with each other to ensure that tangible results are delivered.