Mr. President, Excellencies and colleagues,
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its 27 Member States.
We highly welcome today’s session on the High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS which is convened every five years to discuss the progress in the elimination of HIV/AIDS and pave the way for the coming years to reach the ambitious but achievable goal of elimination HIV/AIDS as a global epidemic.
We would like to thank the President of the General Assembly and particularly the co-facilitators, Namibia and Australia and their teams for their tireless efforts on the political declaration.
The High Level Meeting comes at a historic moment as the first case of HIV/AIDS was diagnosed 40 years ago and it marks 20 years since the groundbreaking UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS and also the creation of the Global Fund.
And yet we still have to get the world on track to end HIV/AIDS as a global epidemic. The fight against HIV/AIDS is not over, but we are committed to take urgent action over the next five years through a coordinated global HIV response. HIV/AIDS claims lives on a daily basis and shatters families and communities. Every case that can be prevented, saves lives, spares grievances and spares life-long treatment as well as economic resources. Every case that receives treatment, gives new hope not only to an individual but also to families and communities.
Still, around 2 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2019, around 40 million are living with it and an estimated 7 million don’t even know about their status and might spread it further. So despite the important successes, we still have a huge task ahead of us and a lot still needs to be done and achieved.
That is the reason why we started the negotiations of this Political Declaration with high ambitions well aware that we need to do better, to move forward, if we truly want to achieve our goals.
We are extremely disappointed that a consensual document could not be achieved despite major concessions from our side and the compromises carefully crafted by the co-facilitators and agreed by the overwhelming majority of the UN membership. We are even more disappointed upon realizing that some countries have sought to disrupt the process even until the very end. It is a shame that fighting HIV/AIDS becomes the victim of political games.
Mr President, let me nevertheless point out important positive aspects of this declaration:
Nevertheless we have to underline that this might not be sufficient and we would have wanted to go further.
Finally we were nevertheless able to join consensus and to compromise as we were guided by the purpose of this declaration: we need to be united and ambitious in light of the expectations which are rightly put on us not only to deliver a significant political declaration but to live up to these commitments starting today.
We cannot disappoint people already affected by HIV/AIDS and we cannot miss out on committing to do our outmost to prevent every single case in the future!
We are looking forward to interesting discussions in the coming sessions!