MISSION OF DENMARK TO THE UNITED NATIONS
FIFTY-EIGHTH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
to the outcome of the twenty-sixth special session: Implementation of
the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS:
I shall not dwell on how the impact of the epidemic is becoming increasingly more alarming. The facts are all well known to the participants in this meeting. And so are the challenges we are facing.
Along with Goal 6 of the Millennium Development Goals, the Declaration of Commitment serves as an important tool to strengthen and accelerate the global fight against HIV/AIDS. The first targets, the ones we are reviewing today, relate mainly to the creation of an enabling policy environment.
Let me highlight a few of the many important findings in the report from the Secretary-General.
First: Implementation of HIV/AIDS strategies and policies. In many countries, we now have the right policies and institutional frameworks to fight HIV/AIDS. What we need is implementation of the policies through broad-based, effective programmes. This will require political leadership. It will require willingness to talk openly about the epidemic and to make the fight against the disease a political priority. Political leaders must stamp out all discrimination and stigmatisation of infected people. Civil society must be involved. And increased financial and human resources must be set aside for the fight in each and every country.
To illustrate this point: Most countries today have national strategies for prevention. But very few people have access to basic information and prevention services. The report states that: “The inability to deliver HIV prevention programmes on the scale required represents a critical missed opportunity”. We must do more to provide sufficient coverage in order to reduce the number of new infections.
Second: The role of women. Women stand out as particularly vulnerable to the epidemic, not least in Sub-Saharan Africa. Most countries now have national policies to ensure equal access to services. But plans and policies alone will not reduce the special risks women face. To fight HIV/AIDS we need true economic and social empowerment of women.
And third, Mr. President,
Funding: As we broaden the scope and add more interventions, the need for long-term, stable funding becomes more urgent. This is more important than ever now that care and treatment programmes are being scaled up. The donor community must live up to this challenge through increased funding for HIV/AIDS activities.
It is therefore encouraging to see the significant increase in resources over the past year for combating the pandemic. The Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria is an important new financial mechanism. Together with partners in countries: Governments, the civil society, the UN family and bilateral donors, the Fund has the opportunity to make a real difference. In our fight against HIV/AIDS we need committed actors, closer cooperation, increased efforts and a balanced approach including prevention, awareness, enlightenment, care and treatment.
Denmark has a long tradition as a substantial donor and actor in development cooperation. We will live up to this standing through increased funding for HIV/AIDS activities, bilaterally, multilaterally and through national and international Civil Society Organisations.