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AFRO-NETS> Public speeches by South Africa, Botswana, Uganda, Kenya and Kofi Annan

Public speeches by South Africa, Botswana, Uganda, Kenya and Kofi Annan


Please find below the public speeches pronounced at the UN General 
Assembly on HIV/AIDS by South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Uganda and the 
Secretary General. It would be difficult to copy speeches all of 
countries, but I thought these 4 countries affected by HIV/AIDS de-
serve a very special attention.

Given the current focus on South Africa because Pres. Mbeki while be-
ing present in Washington is not expected to join the UN General As-
sembly in New York (a 2-hours door to door journey), it would seem 
important to show that we find it worthwhile to come to listen to 
such speeches. Thus I am including the points, which I found particu-
larly striking while reading the speech of the South African Minister 
of Health, Mantombazana Tshabalala-Msimang.

* "empower women and the girl child"; 
* "ensure that MEN become part of the solution"; 
* "... there is far more to this programme than the mere administra-
  tion of an anti-retroviral drug"; 
* "let us also continue to support research and scientific enquiry 
  into this complex phenomenon"; 
* "involvement of communities especially People Living With AIDS is 
  key to our success"; 
* "No one country has the luxury to opt out. What may seem to be an 
  act of generosity may in fact be nothing but enlightened self-
* "[Affordable access for the majority calls for a] better balance 
  between creating a system of incentives to drive innovation and 
  strategies to ensure that advances translate into benefits for those 
  most in need."

On July 13th, 2000, president Mbeki is said to have left the AIDS 
conference room while his Child Citizen Activist Nkosi Johnson, 11 
year old, was delivering a speech addressed to him. If sovereignty is 
defined as the people in a democracy, when a president leaves the 
room while a Citizen speaks to him, it may be the most shocking act 
of "lèse-majesté" (lese-majesty). The questions raised by Mbeki will 
fade away from the Internet, but not the touching speech of Nkosi 

Christian Labadie

25TH JUNE 2001 



Mr. President, Secretary General, Chairperson, Your Excellencies,
Ministers, Leaders and Members of Delegations, Ladies and Gentlemen 

Our country South Africa is one of the most affected by HIV and AIDS. 
We have come to New York not just because we care about our people 
and country but also because in a real way the destiny of nations and 
the peoples of the world will take a turn for the better or the worse 
depending on how we elect to conduct this important gathering. South 
Africa has to contend with this catastrophe against the background of 
pervasive poverty, underdevelopment and a range of other public 
health challenges. 

Clearly, our response to the challenge we face has to be rooted in 
this reality. 

There is a lot which we know, helps to mitigate the impact of HIV and 
AIDS. Most of these strategies are eloquently covered in the draft 
declaration before us. Fundamental amongst these, is the need to an-
chor our efforts in strong preventive programmes, with a specific fo-
cus on the Youth; in the empowerment of women and the girl child and 
in ensuring that MEN become part of the solution. The national pro-
gramme we pursue incorporates all these elements. 

Some of the key prevention programmes we have in place are: 
* The Life-skills programme which is a compulsory component of our 
  schools curriculum 
* Free supply of quality condoms 
* Public awareness campaigns that target all sectors of our society. 
  Although still at the beginning of a long journey, we are encouraged 
  by some of the results from some of these programmes. 

Many HIV/AIDS prevention programmes have additional benefits that may 
be overlooked. Many of these interventions involve many role players 
and target communities with wide spread positive outcomes. 

For example, condom programmes also prevent other STI's that are 
spread in the same way as HIV. Life-skills programmes in schools and 
encouragement of condom use among adolescents who engage in sex will 
complement efforts to postpone sexual debut, reduce teenage pregnancy 
and abortion and as a result improve school completion rates among 
young girls. Young girls will thus be able to acquire skills, be pro-
ductive and have a better quality of life. 

Although these benefits are difficult to quantify, they should not be 

Programmes to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV pose sig-
nificant challenges in developing countries where breastfeeding is 
the norm and lack of access to safe water and sanitation is a real-
ity. In order to unravel these challenges, South Africa has embarked 
on a programme to provide a package of care for pregnant women who 
are HIV positive at selected sites in all our nine provinces. 

We have learnt through the preparation of these sites, that indeed 
there is far more to this programme than the mere administration of 
an anti-retroviral drug. Concerns raised about the emergence of re-
sistant viral strains following exposure to this drug, will also be 
examined in these pilot sites. We, however, see this challenge posed 
not so much as a deterrent but a call for an intensified effort. 

But let me stress that the solutions we seek are those that are 
rooted in our reality and which will enhance the capacity of our 
countries and more specifically help secure our health systems in or-
der to better respond to the many public health challenges that ac-
company HIV and AIDS. In our country, for example, where we face both 
an HIV/AIDS and TB epidemic, it is clear that one of the major deter-
minants of our overall success relates to our ability to scale up our 
TB programmes, secure high full treatment rates, reduce treatment in-
terruptions and contain the rise in Multidrug Resistance TB. (MDR 

As we continue to act on the basis of the best evidence available to 
us today - let us also continue to support research and scientific 
enquiry into this complex phenomenon. Let us also not forget that 
some simple interventions such as the management of opportunistic in-
fections and the provision of nutritional support for HIV infected 
individuals have a significant impact on the quality of life. Let us 
not shy away from the simple truth that much as we know a lot today, 
there are many facets of both the HI virus and the syndrome of AIDS 
that need further elucidation. Amongst these efforts we include the 
international search for appropriate vaccines in which our country 
actively participates. 

Needless to say, the millions already infected and affected cry for 
care and support now. We need to move with a greater sense of urgency 
- all of us! We support the view that prevention care and support are 
sides of the same coin and mutually reinforce each other. 

Our task is to mobilize for the requisite resources to provide a com-
prehensive programme. 

We need to assist formal and informal social support networks as may 
exist. In addition, greater involvement of communities especially 
People Living With AIDS is key to our success. 

Mr. President, AIDS constitutes a global crisis. No one country has 
the luxury to opt out. What may seem to be an act of generosity may 
in fact be nothing but enlightened self-interest. 

In this regard, we should try to leverage and strengthen regional ef-
forts. In our own region the SADC Heads of State and Government have 
endorsed a regional multisectoral strategy on HIV/AIDS. 

We welcome the growing number of pledges that have been made to the 
global AIDS and health fund and eagerly await an escalation in both 
the number and size of contributions in keeping with the scale of the 
problem. We are, however, a little concerned that the lack of final-
ity around its actual working may be presenting an obstacle to addi-
tional pledges. 

Since it is not in our collective interest to have the generosity of 
the international community restrained by issues of process, we would 
lend our voice to calls for the Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan, to 
continue his leadership role and to assist us in navigating the final 
stages of this course. In the meantime, Chairperson, we would be 
quite content to hear from others that the cheque is in the mail. 

Let me conclude by thanking the international community for the sup-
port given to us during our recent court case against some elements 
in the pharmaceutical industry. In particular I wish to recognize the 
efforts of the Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan and my President Mr. 
Thabo Mbeki. Let me also signal my government's determination to 
forge enduring and constructive partnerships with the pharmaceutical 
industry-an undeniable key stakeholder in health care delivery. 

Affordable access for the majority is a basic requirement if this 
century is truly to be an African century. This calls for a better 
balance between creating a system of incentives to drive innovation 
and strategies to ensure that advances translate into benefits for 
those most in need. Let us be bold and think more creatively. This 
session and the creation of a fund are small but very important first 
steps. We pledge the full support of our government for this impor-
tant initiative.


Address by His Excellency Mr. Festus G. Mogae President of the Repub-
lic of Botswana at the Twenty-Sixth Special Session of the United Na-
tions General Assembly on HIV/AIDS 

New York, 25th June, 2001

Mr. President, 

1. I wish at the outset to commend the Secretary-General for his 
strong leadership in the struggle against HIV/AIDS, and in particular 
the initiative to establish the Global Fund to fight it. The HIV/AIDS 
pandemic is the most serious global challenge facing humanity at the 
present time. The convening of a UN Special Session of the General 
Assembly on HIV/AIDS is therefore fitting and opportune, but perhaps 
a little overdue. But if we all act decisively, we can redeem our-

2. HIV/AIDS poses a threat to global security, peace as well as sus-
tained development through reversal of development gains that the 
world has achieved. If resolute and concerted action is not taken 
against the spread of HIV/AIDS, the human death toll and suffering 
that will be inflicted will be catastrophic. 

3. Furthermore, if the HIV/AIDS pandemic is not contained, it will 
accentuate disparities in living standards between developed and de-
veloping countries. Developing countries, particularly the poorest, 
many of which are on the African continent, are also the countries 
least able to put into effect efficacious strategies to counter the 
pandemic. This is so because of their lack of human and material re-
sources, under-developed health care systems, lack of health scien-
tific research capability, social security and generally low level of 
development, which is made worse by low rates of economic growth and 
declining levels of Official Development Assistance. 

4. The HIV/AIDS pandemic is severely limiting development prospects 
of the affected countries, through loss of skilled human resources, 
decline in productivity and re-allocation of budgetary and human re-
sources from development activities towards HIV/AIDS related courses. 
The unchecked spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic therefore poses a seri-
ous threat to the goal of the reduction of global poverty by half by 
the year 2015. Increased disparities in living standards between de-
veloped and developing countries are unacceptable. 

5. In the global village in which we live today, which is character-
ised by high mobility of people across countries, no country is safe 
from the ravages of the pandemic. Therefore, it is in the interest of 
each and everyone of us to ensure that we do everything in our power 
to eliminate the spread of HIV/AIDS in the quickest possible time and 
in the most effective way. 

6. The international community needs to commit substantial financial 
and other resources to: - 
* support strengthened HIV/AIDS prevention strategies, especially in-
  formation, education, communication and counselling, including volun-
  tary counselling and testing; 
* provide assistance to develop and extend social support systems to 
  deal with the consequences of HIV/AIDS; 
* support scientific research for AIDS drugs and vaccines; 
* improve access to anti-retroviral drugs for poor and most affected 
  countries and make the drugs available at affordable prices on sus-
  tained basis; 
* deal decisively with traditional, cultural and religious beliefs 
  and practices that inhibit the fight against HIV/AIDS and, most im-
* ensure that the fight against HIV/AIDS does not come at the cost of 
  sustainable development and improved living standards for developing 

7. In Botswana, the National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan embodies a 
multi-sectoral approach and a close working relationship among the 
public and private sector as well as Non-Governmental Organizations. 
The implementation of the Plan is overseen by a committed leadership 
across the broad spectrum of our society. Our key prevention strate-
gies include, house to house counselling, behaviour change targeted 
at the youth and other vulnerable groups, voluntary counselling and 
testing as well as prevention of mother to child transmission pro-
grammes. A combination of hospitalization and Community Home Based 
approach is the cornerstone of care for AIDS patients and support to 
orphans, vulnerable children and affected families. Treatment strate-
gies include pain management and symptomatic treatment as well as 
prevention and treatment of opportunistic infections. We shall 
shortly introduce anti-retroviral treatment in our public health fa-
cilities to complement all these activities, as part of the strategy 
for fighting AIDS. 

8. I appeal to the international community, NGOs, the private sector, 
and humanity at large to do all that is necessary to avert the aggra-
vation of human suffering, death and misery that the HIV/AIDS catas-
trophe brings to many people. Needless to say, substantial resources 
are necessary to mount an effective fight against the pandemic. This 
is an urgent matter which calls for immediate action and committed 
leadership from all of us. 

9. Although not reflected in the film footage of the United Nations 
system, as it was done by an insignificant African member of the 
United Nations, at the Millennium Summit I devoted my entire speech 
to the issue of HIV/AIDS. I am gratified that the Secretary-General 
and some of his top officials were listening as reflected in their 
current positions. 

10. In this respect, Botswana fully supports the proposal to estab-
lish a Global Fund for HIV/AIDS. It is encouraging to note that the 
United States Government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 
have already taken the lead by pledging contributions to the Fund. It 
is important for the Fund to have criteria that will ensure that its 
resources are used to meet the needs of countries most seriously af-
fected by HIV/AIDS such as Botswana. It would be unjust to exclude 
countries such as my own on account of per capita income. The Fund 
should have efficient and flexible rules of operation and mechanisms 
for the disbursement of the funds and give priority to the most af-
fected countries. 

Mr. President, 

11. I wish to conclude by stating that without doubt, The challenge 
of the millennium is to reverse the effects of the pandemic, not only 
through prevention and care strategies but through meaningfully ad-
dressing the structural determinants such as poverty and gender ine-
quality which exacerbate the spread of HIV/AIDS. 

12. I appeal to the world community to be innovative, bold and coura-
geous in embracing and respecting this challenge. What is really re-
quired of us is a social revolution, a willingness to commit, to 
share and to prioritise - a social vaccine against harmful, practices 
and the violation of human rights. We have inner strength in our hu-
manity to win this war. This is my conviction and if nothing else, 
let us all leave this room with the determination to persist and to 
give our children a viable future. The time for action is now. 

I thank you all.


Statement by His Excellency Hon. Daniel T. arap Moi, C.G.H., MP., 
President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic 
of Kenya. 

Occasion: United Nations General Assembly Special Session on 
HIV/AIDS, New York 

25th June 2001

Mr President, Secretary General, Excellencies Distinguished Delegates 

The Continent of Africa has suffered from the harsh experience of 
wars, drought, floods and other human and physical tragedies. Our 
people have been resilient and adaptable. At present, there is a 
plague engulfing a huge area of our continent, particularly sub-
Saharan Africa. This is a disaster unlike any previously experienced. 
It continues without an apparent cure. You will know I speak of AIDS. 

The reality is that millions of African people have died and many 
more millions will die. Some countries in Africa have been particu-
larly successful in educational programmes to control the spread of 
this terrible pandemic. 

In Kenya, AIDS has been designated as a National Disaster. We con-
tinue to vigorously pursue our educational programmes. I am pleased 
to say that Kenya is participating at the forefront of research for a 
vaccine or other preventive measures or cures. 

We shall continue to cooperate and work with the world research lead-
ers and others in this field. We, are determined to fight the spread 
of this dreadful disease relentlessly until a permanent cure is 
found. But the indications are that it will be at least ten years be-
fore significant, tangible developments are available. 

In the meantime, the sick must not be deprived of the most basic hu-
man right - the right to life. I have walked around hospitals and 
other caring institutions in my country. 

I have experienced the desperation of the faces of the victims of 
AIDS. It is a grim reminder that they are deprived even of the, 
treasure of hope itself. 

These are my people. These are Africa's people. I would be failing in 
my duty if I was to stand by idly. This is a time when the production 
of coffins is a growing industry because of this dreadful pestilence. 
As a leader I am charged with the welfare of my people. We are not a 
wealthy nation, but the people must at least be given hope. 

It is incumbent upon myself and my fellow leaders to turn this suf-
fering into history rather than destiny. To this end, my Government 
must choose between the lives of people and reality - that research 
and development of new medicines is enormously expensive. It also 
takes many years to establish their safety and efficacy. 

We agree that companies or institutions carrying out such new devel-
opments have the very justifiable right to patent protection to allow 
them recoup their investment. 

As in many other countries, Kenya, also has in force laws pertaining 
to patents which give such protection. Even though we are a develop-
ing nation with limited financial resources, we shall play out part 
in honouring our international obligations. The time has come when we 
are compelled to make a decision between the human lives and the 
right of commercial interest. Human life must surely come before any-
thing else. 

Our choice is therefore made. Nonetheless, we must pursue our choice 
in a balanced way - balanced to protect the interests of further re-
search and development so that life can be further protected and en-
hanced. We believe this balance can be achieved by making available 
the best possible medication at the lowest possible cost. At the pre-
sent time, we are unable to pay international prices for the medi-
cines we need. 

This is a simple fact which we are facing - and this is why we are 
embarking on the following course of action. My Government has en-
acted emergency legislation to deal with life threatening epidemics. 
This legislation provides for the suspension of existing patent pro-
tection legislation. It is framed to prevent abuse. Manufacture, mar-
keting, distribution and exports are rigidly controlled. The sole 
purpose of legislation is to make high quality AIDS Drugs, which are 
the subject of internationally valid patents. They will be made 
available to the people at the lowest possible cost. 

There will be no question of corporations or individuals making hand-
some profits at the expense of my people, the people of Africa or at 
the expense of the sick, or valid patent holders. Instead, it is our 
intention that this action will signal the start of a life-saving 
crusade - a crusade that will stimulate and enthuse the people of Af-
rica - enabling them to fight against this disease with energy and 

Our culture of self-help will be reborn. This will ultimately lead to 
a scientific ability within Africa and equals anywhere in the world. 
We shall, at the same time, seek to maximise the protection of valid 
patent holders of patents currently in existence. 

They will be given preference to supply the active the active ingre-
dients or finished dose form. Provided first that it meets European 
or American pharmacopoeia specification- the appropriate measure of 
quality. And second, that it is offered at the same or better price 
than it can be produced indigenously in Kenya or imported from a 
source and did not infringe valid patents rights. 

Furthermore, my country will work in close co-operation with our Af-
rican neighbours for the same purposes I have outlined here. Exports 
to these countries will be by licence from both the exporting country 
and the importing country. The cost to these Governments will be cal-
culated on a basis to minimise the costs and maximise benefit from 
our programme. This lethal virus knows no borders -nor is it selec-
tive in its host. The saving of life will take priority over politi-
cal beliefs or aspirations. 

To this end, I am confident that my fellow African leaders and their 
Governments will enact, where necessary, the appropriate legislation 
to protect international trade agreements and other obligations. 
There will be those who will endeavour to cast doubt. There will be 
those who will try abuse. There will be those who will try to profi-

In planning the legislation, my Government is mindful that legalising 
the import of such medicines - which are the subject of valid inter-
national patents - may give rise to the manufacturing of raw materi-
als in an area which will invalidate those patents. It is to this end 
that my Government will wish to have medicines manufactured in Kenya 
from as far back in the manufacturing chain as practicable. Raw mate-
rials can be suitably tagged for the purposes of tracing their domi-
cile origin. Finished dose form can also be suitably marked, with ap-
propriate identification. 

My country - Kenya - subscribes to the World Trade and other agree-
ments including those pertaining to intellectual property. 

We have considered very seriously the steps we are taking to ensure 
that our people and the people of Africa can live in hope. - Hope 
that one day they will be able to take their place amongst the commu-
nities of the world in providing for their well-being. That fathers 
will see sons become men and that men and women will live to grow old 
with the dignity they deserve. 

I want to see my people - my Nation. - Africa - moving into the 
Twenty First Century with an increasing ability to manage disaster in 
a confident and competent manner. 

With every passing week, thousands more are dying or becoming in-
fected. I am not prepared to allow this to continue. This campaign 
will be driven with the utmost vigour. The people of Kenya - and the 
people of Africa - will be the beneficiaries. 

I thank you for hearing me. 




New York 25th June, 2001

Mr. President, 

I bring fraternal greetings and best wishes from the Government and 
the people of Uganda to you and all members of the United Nations for 
the UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS. I also bring to you, Mr. Presi-
dent, and through you to this UN Special Session, personal best 
wishes of the President of Uganda, Mr. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. 

May I also take this opportunity to thank our illustrious UN Secre-
tary-General, His Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan, for his personal commit-
ment to combat HIV/AIDS. Indeed, this august meeting is a big mile-
stone in the global effort to fight the pandemic of HIV/AIDS. 

Uganda was the "epicentre" of the epidemic in the mid 1980s. Today, 
our country is frequently cited as a "success story". Whereas we have 
made a considerable dent in the epidemic, we regard this merely as 
modest "progress". We have not yet achieved "success". There is, 
therefore, no room for complacency. We must continue to reach out to 
the communities, urban and rural, with advocacy and social mobilisa-
tion to empower them to take charge of the manifestation of HIV/AIDS. 

Mr. President, 

HIV prevalence in Uganda has declined from an average of 18.5% in 
1993 to 8.3% in 1999, and 6.2% in 2000. 

Today, there are more than 1.4 million Ugandans infected in a popula-
tion of only 22 million. Close to 1.0 million people have died, leav-
ing behind more than 1.7 million orphaned children below the age of 
15 years. Over 30,000 babies are born annually with HIV from their 
infected mothers. 

By the very nature, the disease deprives us of the most productive 
segment of the population. There is loss of GDP of 0.9 annually. Our 
health systems are over-stretched. The epidemic poses a grave health 
burden and a severe socio-economic problem. It is, therefore, a na-
tional security threat. 

Our people have grappled with the disease for nearly 20 years. We, 
therefore, largely know what works. Our country responded coura-
geously at different levels: in the political and policy arena, the 
technical and scientific field and among civil society and grass-root 
communities. I salute them all. 

Above all, I salute the Ugandan Network and Associations of People 
Living with HIV/AIDS, who have come out openly. Their advocacy and 
campaigns have made a tremendous contribution to our progress in the 
fight against HIV/AIDS. 

Mr. President, 

A number of factors were clearly unique in our response to this pan-

Uganda recognised at an early stage that HIV/AIDS is a multi-
dimensional problem which requires a multi-sectoral approach for the 
political, cultural, economic and health/clinical perspectives. 

Like in all other countries, at the beginning there was fear and 
panic, then denial, stigma and discrimination. These are now dramati-
cally reduced. Little scientific information was available. In addi-
tion, there was civil strife and political instability when the epi-
demic first struck in 1982. When the NRM government assumed leader-
ship in 1986, we chose a political strategy as one of the options to 
fight AIDS. 

President Museveni personally led community mobilisation campaigns, 
speaking about AIDS at every opportunity. The President also adopted 
the attitude of openness about the disease. He urged all our leaders 
to put AIDS on their political agenda, and technical experts to pro-
vide correct information to the public. The NRM Administration ac-
tively encouraged public debate about AIDS-related activities. 

The involvement of people living with HIV/AIDS was critical in the 
mobilisation and awareness campaign. 

Mr. President, Our country is poised to intensify, expand and accel-
erate activities that have proved effective. 

We have integrated AIDS issues in the national priority programme, 
under the Poverty Eradication Action Plan. This implies that debt re-
lief HIPC funds will, inter alia, be dedicated to AIDS activities. 

Due to our dire need for HIV/AIDS strategic interventions, we have 
had to borrow World Bank funds to support our programme for scaling 
up. The estimated cost to scale up our response is well above US$50 
million per year. The Bank loan of US$10 million per year is clearly 
inadequate. We welcome grants and other support measures from all 
sources to intensify our response. We need to reinforce our health 
system to deal with related problems such as Malaria and T.B. 

We are participating in global initiatives, such as the District Re-
sponse Initiative, which aims to empower and serve communities effec-
tively by making integrated action plans which must focus on critical 
areas such as gender inequalities, rampant poverty and adolescent 

We are expanding and integrating antiretroviral therapy into the 
regular health system, starting with prevention of mother to child 
transmission of HIV. Our Health Ministry has already started prepar-
ing for proper provision of Antiretrovirals. The greatest obstacle 
is, clearly, the cost of effective drugs. We urge the international 
community to continue searching for strategies to access these drugs. 
We appreciate the efforts of Pharmaceutical companies so far, but 
more must be done. 

Uganda has pledged US$2 million as a contribution to the Global Fund 
for AIDS and Health. It is my honest opinion that richer countries 
should contribute according to what is proportionate to their re-
sources. We need to ensure effective and efficient mechanism to ac-
cess these funds through the appropriate UN agency - UNAIDS which has 
the technical competence. 

We shall continue to co-operate with the international community in 
the search for effective treatments and vaccines. 

Our policies are being reviewed regularly to ensure that critical is-
sues are appropriately addressed. These include the proper care and 
protection of the rights of People Living with HIV/AIDS, human rights 
and civil liberties with parallel strategies for the vulnerable and 
disadvantaged children and widows. Law reform measures to address 
these rights are being undertaken. 

Uganda pioneered the multi-sectoral approach to the control of AIDS 
in the late 1980s. In order to co-ordinate the activities ofthe mul-
tiple partners, the Uganda AIDS Commission was established by statute 
in 1992. We intend to strengthen this co-ordination for enhanced and 
sustained advocacy. 

We cannot contain the epidemic in one country alone. AIDS respects no 
territorial borders. We shall, therefore, continue to actively pro-
mote regional collaboration. 

We subscribe to all efforts for the restoration and maintenance of 
regional and global peace and security in order to create conditions 
conducive to the fight against HIV/AIDS. 

Uganda supports the International Partnership against AIDS in Africa. 
Within the national partnership, we promote the business community on 
combating AIDS. To this end, we recently launched a National Business 

Mr. President, 

The declining trends must be accelerated towards zero-prevalence. It 
is, therefore, a challenging task to further enhance and sustain the 
scaling up of national efforts at all levels: 

Behaviour management is a daunting task. Innovative strategies must 
be found to accomplish this task. In order for interventions to suc-
ceed, there is need to take into account the cultural and religious 
values of various societies. At the same time it is important to in-
volve and empower the communities to take charge of their programmes. 

The orphan crisis is one of the greatest challenges. We must plan 
comprehensively for effective strategies to address this critical is-
sue which has a broad complex scope ranging from children to adoles-

Decentralisation of services, with the required support, to the 
grass-root communities, and to the under-served areas and popula-
tions, is critical. The Universal Primary Education (UPE) policy in 
Uganda has provided an opportunity for critical messages on HIV/AIDS 
issues to reach the primary-age children. Similar focus is targeted 
to post-primary institutions. 

It is clear that poverty drives the epidemic, and AIDS exacerbates 
poverty. Prioritisation of AIDS issues in poverty eradication pro-
grammes is, therefore, fundamental to addressing the epidemic. 

National governments and global partners must provide the necessary 
resources for these increased demands. 

Mr. President, 

It is well recognised that Sub-Saharan Africa has borne the brunt of 
the pandemic. Over 70% of the adults and 80% of children living with 
HIV/AIDS in the world are in sub-Saharan Africa, while 55% of HIV 
positive-adults are women. The key factors affecting the impact of 
HIV/AIDS in Africa are poverty, illiteracy, political instability and 
armed conflict. 

African countries will, therefore, need access to long-term interna-
tional financing arrangements in order to have viable sustained eco-
nomic growth, generate adequate resources and build capacities for 
poverty eradication and combating HIV/AIDS including: 

* viable education systems including UPE especially for the girl-
* strong and sustainable health infrastructure including health de-
  livery systems; 
* creation of opportunities for employment and other conditions for 
  empowerment of women. 
* agricultural modernisation to increase rural productivity and in-
* total debt cancellation for poor and highly-indebted countries. 

Mr. President, 

In conclusion, I wish to congratulate Secretary-General Kofi Annan on 
taking the lead in global efforts against AIDS. 

The establishment of a Global Fund is timely, essential and most wel-
come. We are committed to supporting the Fund. It is anticipated that 
wealthier countries will make contributions commensurate with their 
national resources so that the fund, with minimum bureaucracy is ac-
cessed for holistic applications in prevention, provision of drugs, 
treatment, care, and research. Equitable access to effective treat-
ments is an urgent necessity. Future strategies must include acceler-
ated vaccine development. Vaccines are the ultimate weapons against 

Thank you. 

United Nations Secretary-General: 

Statement by United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, to the 
United Nations General Special Session on HIV/AIDS

New York, 25 June 2001 (as delivered)

Thank you, Mr. President. Excellencies, Dear friends, 

We are here to discuss an unprecedented crisis, but one that has a 
solution: an unprecedented response from all of us. We are here to 
agree on the action we will take. 

In the twenty years since the world first heard of AIDS, the epidemic 
has spread to every corner of the world. It has killed almost 22 mil-
lion people. It has left 13 million children orphaned. 

Today, as we have heard from the President, more than 36 million peo-
ple worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS. Last year alone, more than 
five million people were infected. Every day, another 15,000 people 
acquire the virus. In some African countries, it has set back devel-
opment by a decade or more. And now it is spreading with frightening 
speed in Eastern Europe, in Asia and in the Caribbean. 

Up to now, the world's response has not measured up to the challenge. 
But this year, we have seen a turning point. AIDS can no longer do 
its deadly work in the dark. The world has started to wake up. 

We have seen it happen in the media and public opinion -- led by doc-
tors and social workers, by activists and economists, above all by 
people living with the disease. We have seen it happen among Govern-
ments. And we have seen it happen in the private sector. 

Never, since the nightmare began, has there been such a moment of 
common purpose. Never have we felt such a need to combine leadership, 
partnership, and solidarity. 

Leadership is needed in every country, in every community -- and at 
the international level, where the entire United Nations system is 
now engaged.

All of us must recognize AIDS as our problem. All of us must make it 
our priority. 

Partnership is needed between governments, private companies, founda-
tions, international organizations - and, of course, civil society. 

Non-governmental organizations have been at the forefront of the 
fight against AIDS from the very start. All of us must learn from 
their experience, and follow their example. How right it is that they 
are playing an active part in this Session. 

Finally, solidarity is needed -- between the healthy and the sick, 
between rich and poor; above all, between richer and poorer nations. 

Spending on the battle against AIDS in the developing world needs to 
rise to roughly five times its present level. 

The developing countries themselves are ready to provide their share 
-- as African leaders pledged at the Abuja summit. But they cannot do 
it alone. 

Ordinary people in the developed countries are now showing that they 
understand this. I urge their leaders to act accordingly. 

We must mobilize the money required for this exceptional effort -- 
and we must make sure it is used effectively. That is why I have 
called for a Global AIDS and Health Fund, open to both Governments 
and private donors, to help us finance the comprehensive, coherent, 
coordinated strategy we need. 

Our goal is to make the Fund operational by the end of this year. I 
will continue to work with all the stakeholders to ensure that we 
meet that goal. 

Let me applaud those who have already pledged contributions. I hope 
others will follow their example, during and after this Special Ses-


When we urge others to change their behaviour, so as to protect them-
selves against infection, we must be ready to change our own behav-
iour in the public arena. 

We cannot deal with AIDS by making moral judgments, or refusing to 
face unpleasant facts -- and still less by stigmatizing those who are 
infected, and making out that it is all their fault. 

We can only do it by speaking clearly and plainly, about the ways 
that people become infected, and about what they can do to avoid 

And let us remember that every person who is infected -- whatever the 
reason -- is a fellow human being, with human rights and human needs. 

Let no one imagine that we can protect ourselves by building barriers 
between us and them. For in the ruthless world of AIDS, there is no 
us and them. 

My friends, 

To do all this, we must change -- if not for our own sake, then for 
our children's. 

We must make this Session of the General Assembly truly Special. 

And we must send the world a message of hope, a message of hope. 

Thank you very much. 

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