Irish Government contribution to the U.N. Security Council debate on HIV/AIDS
Sweden will speak later this morning on behalf of the European Union. I would like to fully associate Ireland with the statement of the Presidency in advance. We would like to make the following remarks in our national capacity.
We welcome today's debate on HIV/AIDS and we recognise the efforts of the US and of Ambassador Holbrooke in helping to put this critical issue on the agenda of the Security Council. We commend the Department of Peace Keeping Operations (DPKO) and UNAIDS for the Cooperation Framework just presented which is an important follow-up to Resolution 1308.
The intensified cooperation envisaged at the HQ and field levels, encompassing military and civilian peacekeepers as well as humanitarian workers and vulnerable populations will constitute a very useful step in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic. We particularly welcome the proposal for extensive training for peacekeepers, before , during and after their participation in Missions which has already been identified by the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations as one of the key factors to in this area. We encourage Member States to support the efforts of DPKO in this regard.
The Council has recognised that HIV/AIDS poses- in some areas of the world- a threat to international peace and security. Where this threat is most conspicuous the Governments and peoples concerned are faced already with huge challenges of forging national and regional development. Ireland is firmly convinced that in building international peace and security, the international community must recognise that no peace can be whole or secure if it is not underpinned by a sustainable process of economic and social development. Many different challenges flow from this assertion. Effective combat and reversal of HIV/AIDS is one of them.
The problem of HIV/AIDS is an extremely complex problem. It is abundantly clear that the success of the struggle against HIV/AIDS in developing countries depends on the implementation of policies and programmes that deal with the fundamental problems of global poverty and inequity. I would like to make some comments on what Ireland sees as the major challenges in combatting this pandemic.
On a global scale the impact of HIV on international development is similar to the impact of the HIV virus on human immunity - it is progressively weakening the fabric of societies and increasing their vulnerability to conflict and poverty. Though there is now genuine commitment on the part of many leaders to fighting the disease, it is a hard reality that the countries most affected by HIV/AIDS are those least able to afford the mobilisation of a sustained effective response.
There is no single issue that presents such an enormous challenge to the attainment of the international development goals than HIV/AIDS. We know that low levels of development are associated with poverty, illiteracy, poor access to health services, gender inequality, economic migration and political instability. We know that these are the same factors that have greatly facilitated the spread of HIV in poorer countries. We know also that the existence of high rates of HIV/AIDS in communities leads to a reversal of development progress. In short, HIV/AIDS is both a cause, and a result, of high levels of poverty and under development. The fight against HIV/AIDS will never be won unless it is situated within a comprehensive response which effectively addresses global poverty and disadvantage.
Despite the very considerable efforts to stop the halt of HIV/AIDS over the past decade, the number of people infected with the virus, particularly in countries where there are high rates of poverty and instability, continues to grow. Twenty years into this pandemic the international community is more aware of what interventions have succeeded in curtailing the spread of HIV and which ones have not. More than this, there is now a much greater understanding of what approaches to development aid have been found to be effective - and which ones are inappropriate or are no longer valid. One clear message has been learnt however - complex development problems are not amenable to quick fix vertical type interventions.
There is a very real sense that HIV/AIDS has transformed the development agenda. The global spread of HIV/AIDS has highlighted the inadequacies and failures of the international development effort to date. Ireland believes that there is no single issue that provides a more compelling reason for strengthening our commitment, including the financial commitment of the donor community, to international development co-operation than the global HIV/AIDS crisis.
Ireland has developed a specific HIV/AIDS Strategy for our national programme of development cooperation. HIV/AIDS is now a core issue cutting right across all development programmes supported by the Irish Government. The commitment by our government to reaching the UN target of 0 .7% of GNP to be spent on ODA by the year 2007 provides us with an opportunity to advocate and provide additional financial support to address this huge global challenge.
There is a need for the international community to assist poorer countries in providing care and support for people infected with the HIV virus. In particular, we must redouble our efforts in conjunction with the relevant UN bodies, industry and other relevant organisations to address the complex issues of access to medicines in developing countries and overcoming the obstacles in that regard.. We need clarity about issues such as tiered pricing, compulsory licensing, parallel imports and the rights and obligations of both patent holders and signatories to international patent protection agreements.
We hope that all of these issues will be addressed in the forthcoming Special Session of the General Assembly on HIV/AIDS next June. We welcome the proposal that one of the round tables scheduled as part of the Special Session should include a discussion on HIV/AIDS as a security issue. We look forward to participating in the preparatory process and in the Special Session itself which hopefully will secure a full global commitment to fight the pandemic.
In his address to the HIV/AIDS meeting organised by the African Development Forum in Addis Ababa last month Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia stated that ‘... the struggle against HIV/AIDS is a struggle for the future of the African continent '. Our presence here to-day demonstrates a very clear affirmation of Mr Meles statement - and recognises also that HIV/AIDS is a major development crisis not just for Africa but for the global community. We also recognise the only solution will be a global one involving the coordination and cooperation of all of us.
Thank you, Mr President.