UN SECURITY COUNCIL DEBATES HIV/AIDS
The UN Security Council today held an open debate on HIV/AIDS with a particular focus on its impact on developing countries. This was the third time the Security Council has discussed HIV/AIDS, following previous debates in January and July 2000.
Liz O'Donnell T.D, Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, welcomed the debate saying it demonstrated the global consensus that HIV/AIDS was a major challenge to development and required a global response.
"In our contribution to the debate, Ireland focussed on the fact that there is a fundamental link between poverty and the spread of the HIV/AIDS virus. The rapid advance of the virus in sub Saharan Africa highlights the failure of the international development effort to date. The epidemic would never have reached the current frightening levels of infection, if the poorest countries had the resources to fund properly functioning and sustainable health systems."
Liz O'Donnell added: "We have said that there is no quick fix solution to the problem. The fight against HIV/AIDS will never be won unless it is situated within a comprehensive response which effectively addresses global poverty, indebtedness and conflict prevention.
The Government's decision to increase spending on Ireland's official programme of development assistance to the UN target of 0.7% of GNP by 2007 estimated at £800million with an interim target of 0.45% of GNP by 2002 estimated at £365million will provide substantial additional resources to help us fight against HIV/AIDS.
Ireland is now contributing to national HIV/AIDS programmes in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Ghana and Zimbabwe. We are also increasing our funding to UNAIDS and are contributing to the international effort to develop an AIDS vaccine. The fight against HIV/AIDS has been integrated at every level of our national programme of development assistance."
In the Security Council debate Ireland also called on the international community to overcome the obstacles preventing access to essential medicines by the poorest countries. "The spread of AIDS has highlighted the disparity between rich and poor. In the rich world HIV/AIDS is treatable, in the poorest countries it is terminal" - the Minister added.
NOTE. The full text of Ireland's statement to the Council is attached. The statement was delivered to the Security Council by Ireland's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Richard Ryan.Top