Deborah von Zinkernagel
Principal Deputy Global AIDS Coordinator
Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator
U.S. Department of State
June 21, 2011
Michel, we would like to thank you for your report on the significance of the recent UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS and your continued leadership in mobilizing the global HIV/AIDS response.
A little more than a week ago, world leaders convened in New York to commemorate thirty years of the global epidemic, celebrate our achievements in the global response, and chart a bold way forward to fight a disease that continues to devastate communities around the world. The United States was proud to be part of the overwhelming commitment expressed by global leaders – governments, civil society, communities, and private sector – to a strong, effective, and sustainable future HIV/AIDS response. We stand firm in our commitment to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Prevention, care, and treatment have always been the core pillars of the United States response through PEPFAR and the Global Health Initiative and we will continue our contributions toward the goals of 2015 as set in the high-level declaration. We see these goals as essential steps to accelerating global efforts to achieve universal access.
Although we know that negotiations were, at times, difficult as Member States balanced priorities and positions, ultimately we achieved a strong declaration of commitment based on scientific evidence and human rights. The declaration recognizes the crucial involvement of people living with HIV/AIDS, communities, civil society, and governments as partners to the success of the response. We strongly believe that the inclusion of the key populations – sex workers, men who have sex with men, and people who inject drugs – in this declaration was critical both to protect their rights and to promote their access to HIV services. We will not win this fight without the meaningful engagement and involvement of all. The declaration also reaffirmed the importance of addressing the overwhelming number of women and girls around the world who are vulnerable to or living with HIV. This goes beyond provision of HIV prevention, care, and treatment services, but addressing the underlying factors such as gender inequality and gender-based violence.
We are also firmly committed to supporting the goal towards the elimination of new infections in children and saving their mothers’ lives. We were proud to have worked closely with UNAIDS and the members of the Global Task Team to establish a high-level Global Plan towards elimination by 2015 and saving mothers lives. We believe that country-level action, a clear roadmap, and the accountability framework laid out in the Plan will lead us to this success.
We are now at the PCB and the significance and the timing of the Unified Budget Results and Accountability Framework are clear. This is where the leadership of UNAIDS – Secretariat and co-sponsors – is critical: to translate the words of the Declaration into clear and decisive action with deliverables, indicators of progress, and a well-defined division of labor. We will provide further remarks on the UBRAF when we get to this agenda item, but first let me commend the hard work of the PCB Bureau, and the Secretariat for a comprehensive framework for action that is clearly linked with the UNAIDS Strategy and more broadly with the high-level declaration. The transparent and inclusive process in the development of the UBRAF is unparalleled in the UN system and it means that as a Board, we are in a strong position to provide effective guidance as a result.
We would like to close by reiterating our commitment to working closely with UNAIDS, countries, civil society, and private sector, as partners in the global fight. Only through concerted and collective action can we realize the vision of zero new infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths.