Deputy Secretary-General: Statements
New York, 3 June 2011 - Deputy Secretary-General's opening remarks at press conference to launch UNAIDS 2011 Progress of Nations Report: "AIDS at 30: Nations at the Crossroads" [a summary of the entire press conference will be posted on http://www.un.org/News/briefings/docs/2011/110603_AIDS.doc.htm]Good morning.
I am pleased to launch this important UNAIDS report, “AIDS at 30: Nations at the Crossroads.”
I am especially honoured to be joined today by my brother, Michel Sidibé, but more so by Christina Rodriguez. Some of you may remember when she was here two years ago for an event on protecting mothers and children against HIV.
Christina, at the time, you made a point that has stayed with me ever since. You said in your own words: “While youth are turning the tables to show we are the generation of change, we are still overlooked. I know with a little support we can create the change we want to see in the world. That will help more than ourselves.” This is what Christina told us two years ago.
I saw this in my own country, Tanzania recently, when Mr. Sidibe and I visited earlier this year to focus on the national AIDS response there. At the time, we had just come from Nairobi, where the Secretary-General chaired the Chief Executives Board Meeting, but also launched the UN AIDS report. I was impressed by the teenagers at an organization led by youth in Tanzania, which is called Tanzania Youth Alliance. They provide frank, respectful and helpful advice about sensitive issues like sexuality. They help their peers in ways that adults could not. And they are stopping the spread of HIV.
The efforts of a group of Tanzanian teenagers may seem like a drop in the bucket, but with enough drops, we can create waves and waves of change.
That is what this report today is about.
Thirty years ago, when scientists first identified AIDS, it was mysterious, deadly and spreading.
Now, three decades on, more and more people have access to treatments, infections are declining, and greater numbers of pregnant women living with HIV are keeping their babies free of infection.
We owe this progress to a broad range of partners: governments, health professionals, the private sector and international organizations. Above all, it was the people living with HIV or at risk of getting the virus who stood up to be heard. Their activism brought us here today.
But we still have a long way to go.
Ten years ago, the United Nations General Assembly special session on AIDS produced the first targets for our global response. Five years ago, Member States embraced the goal of working towards universal access for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
Now we have to sustain this momentum – and expand HIV services.
Next week's high-level meeting is our chance to chart a new, bold, path.
Some 20 heads of State and Government will be here from all regions. I am counting on them – the Secretary-General is counting on them - and all of our partners – to review and renew our global commitments. Ultimately, our target is clear: zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.