Holy See Talks to U.N. on Need to Boost Efforts
The Holy See seizes this occasion to reaffirm its commitment
to intensify its response to this disease, through its ongoing support
for a worldwide network of some 1,600 hospitals, 6,000 clinics,
and 12,000 initiatives of a charitable and social nature in developing
Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See's permanent observer
at the United Nations, delivered this statement during the 61st
session of the U.N. general assembly on May 22 in New York.
Below is a copy of his message.
61st Session of the U.N. General Assembly
Agenda item 46:
Follow-up to the outcome of the 26th special session: Implementation
of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS
New York, May 22, 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
programs, 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
While the numbers speak for themselves, they do not capture the
whole story. The fact that only 2 million of the 7.1 million people
needing antiretroviral 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
reaffirm its commitment to intensify its response to this disease,
through its ongoing support for a worldwide network of some 1,600
hospitals, 6,000 clinics, and 12,000 initiatives of a charitable
and social nature in developing countries.
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.
First, 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, 25 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.
Second, 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.