Thank you, Chairperson.
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, the Republic of North Macedonia[*], Montenegro[*], Serbia[*] and Albania[*], as well as Georgia align themselves with this statement.
The Office's document provides a useful overview of the Organization's response to HIV and AIDS. Global estimates as published by the ILO in 2018 show that the number of people living with HIV in the labour force will continue to increase mainly because better access to antiretroviral treatment allows people with HIV to participate in the working life.
However, there are still major inequalities in access to prevention, screening and care. As mentioned in the document: "even though HIV information is widely available, it does not reach everyone and misinformation and myths die hard.” The Member States of the European Union are working on reducing the still existing discrimination against workers diagnosed with Aids.
The rights-based approach as adopted by the ILO in Recommendation No. 200 must remain at the centre of the Organization's actions. Similarly, the proposed focus on young workers, workers at higher risk of HIV exposure and workers at risk of violence and harassment is very relevant within ILO’s areas of expertise. This should go hand in hand with continuous work on the essential areas of promoting and protecting workers’ rights, ensuring equality and non‑discrimination, such as through the VCT@Work (Voluntary Confidential Counselling and HIV Testing for Workers) programme.
There is a need for an improved and more coherence response to HIV and AIDS in the world of work, in the hope of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. Health and social policies must work together to reach those most at risk. As a co-sponsoring organization, the ILO helped to shape the UNAIDS programme. It is important that the ILO, while pursuing partnerships with other organisations, remains within its mandate.
The European Union and its Member States are at the forefront of the fight against HIV in partner countries through their longstanding support to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Funding from the European Commission and the EU Member States represents close to 50 percent of the total funding to this global health initiative. As a donor since the creation of the Global Fund in 2002, the European Commission has so far contributed €2 billion and will continue its support.
Finally, it would be useful to elaborate on how the Office plans to revitalize its relations with the Global Fund on the one hand and expand PPPs on the other.
Subject to the clarifications provided by the Office, the EU and its Member States may accept the item for decision in its current wording.
Thank you, Chair.
[*] The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.