Statement by H.E. Archbishop Celestino Migliore
Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See
61st Session of the UN General Assembly
Agenda item 46:
Follow-up to the outcome of the twenty-sixth special session:
Implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS
New York, 22 May 2007
My delegation thanks you for convening this important
progress report meeting where States can share the steps they have taken in
their movement towards the goal of universal access to HIV prevention programmes,
treatment, care and support by 2010. Their honest assessments and commitment to
work together are surely a movement in the right direction in caring for all
those affected by HIV/AIDS.
The detailed and comprehensive report of the
Secretary-General lists the greatest challenges: caring for the 39.5 million
people presently living with HIV; reducing the number of people dying annually
from AIDS, which in 2006 was 2.9 million; preventing new infections, which
currently run at some 4 million per year; and taking special care of young
people, who accounted for 40% of new infections last year.
While the numbers speak for themselves, they do not
capture the whole story. The fact that only two million of the 7.1 million
people needing anti-retroviral drugs receive them represents a sorrowful ratio.
Quantifying the resources globally required is thought to be in the region of
$18 billion and $22 billion for 2007 and 2008 respectively for low- or
middle-income countries for HIV. These apparently large numbers actually
represent only $3 to $4 per person on the planet. In aggregate the numbers seem
overwhelming, but taken in their proper context, person by person, they are
really only a fraction of what we as a world community can and should do. All
of us must clearly step up our efforts.
That is why, for its part, the Holy See seizes this
occasion to re-affirm its commitment to intensify its response to this disease,
through its ongoing support for a world-wide network of some 1,600 hospitals,
6,000 clinics, and 12,000 initiatives of a charitable and social nature in
Madam President, the Secretary-General’s report makes five
recommendations, and given the time limitations, my delegation would like to
address briefly two of them.
Firstly, under the heading “Know your epidemic and
intensify HIV prevention”, my delegation believes that providing information and
opportunities for an education respectful of naturally based values is essential
both in the development of scientific advancement and for personal prevention.
There can be no excuse that, twenty-five years into this epidemic, all people in
all countries still do not have sound, accurate and reliable information so as
to educate themselves and live safer lives.
Secondly, under the heading “Report progress on
international commitments”, it appears that, in this house, we oftentimes speak
of transparency and collaboration with regard to our respective commitments. My
delegation encourages all States to be more forthcoming in providing accurate
numbers with respect to monitoring and evaluation, however difficult this may
be. A factual understanding as to where the world community stands on this
matter will serve us well as we attempt to address all the problems associated
with HIV/AIDS and to care for all.
Thank you, Madam President.