Statement by H.E. Mr. Kassymzhomart Tokaev,

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan

at the High-level plenary meeting devoted to reviewing progress

in implementation the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS

(22 September 2003, New York)

 

Mr. President,

 

††††††††† First of all, on behalf of the Government of Kazakhstan, I would like to extend my congratulations to you on your unanimous election as President of the 58th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

†††††††† I also would like to extend my appreciation to the Secretary General for convening this event of historic importance.

There is no doubt that HIV/AIDS problem has become a challenge affecting not only health but also security of many countries in the world. Therefore, to be properly solved, this problem demands comprehensive and coordinated approach of the international community. The United Nations Millennium Declaration and the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS of 2001 signify that the world leaders, having understood the scale of the disaster, have made overall commitments to stop the expansion of the epidemic and lay the basis for the efforts to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS on the people of the Earth.

Todayís high-level meeting can definitely be considered as a very important follow-up step to fulfil these commitments.

Mr. President,

In the early 1990s, Kazakhstan, like many other countries of the world, got affected by the HIV/AIDS problem. Economic difficulties of that period contributed to a rise in the overall number of HIV infections in the country. Even with a relatively low incidence of HIV/AIDS, we are well aware that without deep involvement in the international cooperation on this extremely important issue, this disastrous disease will seriously affect internal stability in Kazakhstan, which is considered to be the highest priority of our politics. Thatís the reason why Kazakhstan adopted legislation on HIV/AIDS, which provides for preventive measures by the Government and guarantees fundamental rights of people affected by the disease. The National AIDS Coordinating Committee, which was established eight years ago, has become fully operational. Multi-faceted approach to HIV/AIDS which has become possible due to the rapid economic growth of my country during the last four years has brought the national response to the epidemic to the top governmental level. HIV/AIDS prevention measures have been integrated into a strategic plan of development of the Republic of Kazakhstan up to 2010. Key governmental agencies have developed detailed strategic programmes focusing on appropriate allocations of available financial resources.

Strong partnership of the Government with non-governmental sector and international organizations coupled with the appropriate commitments by the Government ensured the success in overcoming the problem of the spread of this epidemic in my country. These national efforts have helped to develop a proposal that resulted in a grant from the HIV/AIDS Global Fund in the amount of 22.4 million dollars for 5 years.

Partnership between the Government and civil society is now primarily aimed at decreasing vulnerability of high-risk groups and enhancing their protection. It has become possible through the provision of adequate information and access to essential prevention supplies and health care service. Serious efforts are being made to ensure awareness of the population at large and to educate young people. Kazakhstan is creating legal and public climate conducive to protection of people with HIV/AIDS and identified as being especially vulnerable to discrimination and marginalization.

HIV/AIDS poses a real threat to every country and demands a global vision and understanding supported by genuine political will and global solidarity. In this respect, strong commitment of the developed countries is a matter of paramount importance. We have to openly and sincerely say that without financial and educational assistance to the most affected countries this epidemic will acquire global dimensions, thus posing a major threat to the future of generations to come. It will not be an exaggeration to say that the issue of HIV/AIDS demands no less attention than other issues of international security, for instance proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.

I believe that this extremely representative gathering gives us an opportunity to share experience and to exchange views on how to jointly and effectively meet the challenge for a better future of all countries in the world.††††††

Thank you for your attention.