United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon left Nairobi, Kenya, on the evening of 17 July, for Durban, South Africa, in order to attend the AIDS2016 Conference.
On 18 July, the Secretary-General met with the Deputy President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, with whom he discussed progress and challenges in the fight against the AIDS epidemic, as well as the situations in Burundi, Lesotho, Mozambique and South Sudan.
He then had a breakfast meeting with civil society leaders working on the fight against AIDS, before participating in a media outreach event on the work of his high-level panel on access to medicines, during which he stressed that more than half of all people living with HIV still lack access to treatment, and that there is not enough research and development on neglected and rare diseases.
During a press conference, alongside Michel Sidibé, the Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and Charlize Theron, United Nations Messenger of Peace on the prevention of HIV and the elimination of violence against women, among others speakers, the Secretary-General called on Durban 2016 to mark the commitment to a new era when we finish what we started: the era of a fast-track response against the epidemic.
The Secretary-General then participated in a lunch given in his honour by the Deputy President of South Africa at Durban’s City Hall, where he also met with youth representatives, encouraging them to be the leaders of today in the fight against AIDS.
Before leaving Durban, he planted a tree celebrating the memory of Nelson Mandela, on the occasion of Nelson Mandela Day, recalling that Madiba had brought his towering courage to this cause, supporting all people affected by HIV.
The Secretary-General then flew back to New York where he arrived early on Tuesday morning, 19 July.