H.E. Dr. Udval N.,
Deputy Minister for Health of Mongolia,

at the United Nations General Assembly Twenty-Sixth Special Session on HIV/AIDS

New York, 27 June, 2001


Allow me at the outset to join preceding speakers in expressing our gratitude to You, Mr. President, and the Secretary-General for the tireless efforts that made this Special Session possible in such a short period of time. I also wish to commend Ambassador Penny A. Wensley and Ambassador M. Ibra Deguene Ka for their leadership and resolve that played an exceptionally important role in bridging the gaps between so many diverging views and positions.

Differences in views, passionate attachment to respective positions doesn't come as a surprise given the fact that HIV/AIDS exploded since it was first reported into a global threat and humanitarian crisis of a scale never seen before. While we differ in the extent that we are affected, we are all on the same boat and all at high risk for HIV/AIDS. It is even true for Mongolia that has only two reported cases.

This conviction and the sense of solidarity and compassion compel us during this Session to put in place a global response to this global crisis. Yesterday during the dialogue with people living with AIDS, organized by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Society, it was made painfully clear once again that the time for words is over, that it is time to do it right. Our vision and resolve will decide whether millions of people throughout the world will be left to die or their lives will be saved.

Mr. President,

We believe that a response to this global crisis requires a comprehensive, holistic approach. It needs to take into account a wide range of issues from good governance and proactive policies to respect of human rights and reproductive rights. Leadership, community empowerment, building partnerships and coalitions with the civil society and private business are required. Cooperation at the sub-regional and regional levels as a part of a cohesive global response and more assistance to these efforts from international organizations, especially the United Nations, are also needed.

This approach is gaining a momentum worldwide and not least in the developing countries. However, this momentum needs to be supported by more financial assistance. The plight of developing countries, especially most affected, facing this crisis of a colossal scale with such a limited resources at their disposal can not be turned around unless more funding and assistance is made available. Thus, it is gratifying that so many countries made significant pledges during this session in the show of solidarity and compassion.

The Mongolian Government welcomes the proposal for a new Global fund on AIDS and health, tuberculosis and malaria and believes that it must become operational and start its work early in this year.

We believe that, as the Fund becomes operational, assistance must be provided to strengthen the health system of developing countries, especially most poor. Risk reduction interventions, preventive actions and national capacity building must be among its priorities.
This strategy needs to involve assistance to efforts to make information about HIV/AIDS and its prevention more available, assistance to efforts to educate its population, especially youth and particularly on the topic of sexuality and safe sex practice. Safe injection and harm reduction activities must be supported and efforts to reduce vulnerabilities should be encouraged.

As it has been stressed during this session on many instances, political will and commitment is of crucial significance for the successful pursuit of the strategy.

The Mongolian Government is committed at the highest political level. Mongolia, with such a high level of poverty, struggling health care system and increasing number of cases reported in the bordering areas, is extremely vulnerable.

To address the challenge and devise the national response, the National HIV/AIDS Committee has been set up with the Prime Minister as a chair. The HIV/AIDS Law was enacted in 1995 and first stage of the National STI/HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan is near completion with a second one starting soon. National funding for the Plan has been increased substantially this year. The National Information, Education and Communication Strategy for the Prevention from HIV/ADIS was adopted and being implemented. The Government is working closely with a number of NGOs and especially successfully in the outreach STI/HIV/AIDS campaign targeting youth and vulnerable adolescents. One example is the recent campaign that involved pop stars, business leaders and NGOs in educational, fund raising events. The Government is working to improve syndromic case management of STIs and STI and reproductive health activities are being combined.

The Government is cooperating successfully with international organizations and especially UN agencies based on the Memorandum of Understanding. We are working to bring our cooperation with regional countries, especially with the two neighbors to a new stage. Taking this opportunity, I would like to express gratitude of the Government and people of Mongolia to the governments and NGOs, UN agencies and their staff that supported our efforts for their selfless dedication and commitment.
More remains to be done, especially in the area of national capacity building and education among youth. The availability, accessibility and quality of sexual, reproductive and diagnostic services and safe blood products must be increased to support other activities. To this end the Government needs the support of the international community and civil society.

Mr. President,

My delegation believes that the Declaration will and needs to play an important role in giving an impetus to a momentum in the global fight against the HIV/AIDS and we pledge the full support to the commitments it contains.

Thank you.