Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Phil Goff: The international threat of HIV-Aids

Phil Goff: The international threat of HIV-Aids


The international threat of HIV-Aids

Mr President

As Chairman of the Pacific Islands Forum, I have the honour to speak on behalf of the members who are represented at the United Nations, namely: Australia, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and my own country, New Zealand.

It is hard to think of a greater threat to international wellbeing on the UN agenda than HIV-Aids.

Two years ago, heads of state and government and ministers gathered in this hall to demonstrate a global commitment to the battle against HIV-Aids. The Declaration of Commitment, which the Special Session on HIV-Aids adopted, outlined the key actions required to achieve the sixth Millennium Development Goal: to halve and reverse the spread of HIV-Aids by 2015.

Today our task is to consider how far we have come in meeting those commitments, and how far we still have to go.

With little evidence of reducing infection rates, and indications that the global rate of infection could actually accelerate as the epidemic expands into the Asia-Pacific and Eastern Europe, we must give more attention to combating HIV-Aids. It continues to threaten national development, and destabilises whole regions. This virus is indiscriminate and knows no borders. The international community must give renewed priority to defeating this scourge.

The implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV-Aids is crucial to Pacific Island Forum Countries. At last month's Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Auckland, Forum Leaders expressed serious concern over the developmental threat HIV-Aids presents to our region. They affirmed that strong government leadership, and commitment to implementing national HIV-Aids strategies, are key in combating the pandemic.

The Declaration recognised that an important first step in addressing the epidemic is to establish an enabling policy and legislative environment. Multi-sectoral HIV-Aids strategic plans, national Aids councils, and effective education and awareness-raising programmes have been key components of the campaign against Aids.

Those multi-sectoral HIV-Aids strategies must be implemented and resourced, and legislation and policy enforced and monitored. Member states that have not implemented the first goals in the Commitment need to give this their urgent attention.

There is still much to be done. Globally, we have yet to curb the increase in the number of new cases of HIV-Aids infection. Our efforts so far have fallen short of what is needed. International resource commitments this year are half the US$10.5 billion estimated to be required annually to adequately address the epidemic, and in critical areas leadership to properly implement HIV-Aids strategies is still lacking.

Mr President, HIV-Aids is also a human rights issue.

Women and girls often disproportionately bear the burden of HIV-Aids. We must also pay special attention to vulnerable groups, including adolescents and Aids orphans, for whom the virus has been particularly devastating. We must provide them with a decent future.

We must also work to prevent stigmatisation of, and discrimination against, those living with HIV-Aids and groups at increased risk of infection. More must be done to implement anti-discrimination policies outlined in the Declaration. To beat this disease we must empower those living with it, along with the groups at heightened risk from HIV infection. In New Zealand, we have found that the involvement of those living with HIV-Aids, and those at higher risk, in prevention, education and awareness programmes has had great success.

Mr President, HIV-Aids does not stop at national borders. By its very nature it needs an international response. As Chair of the Pacific Island Forum, New Zealand welcomes the proactive regional approach taken by Pacific Island countries to address the sharp increase in HIV-Aids infection rates in the Pacific region.

Working together, 11 Pacific Island countries recently submitted a successful bid to the Global Fund on HIV-Aids, TB and Malaria for a $US6 million regional programme on HIV-Aids. This, along with a number of other regional initiatives under way, will be important measures in stepping up the response to HIV-Aids in the Pacific Island region.

We have also seen an increase in resources being contributed to HIV-Aids, including by national governments, bilateral donors, and through the establishment of the Global Trust Fund for HIV-Aids, Malaria and Tuberculosis. But a substantial shortfall remains, and we must continue to ensure that there is adequate resourcing for the fight against HIV-Aids.

Mr President, Pacific Island Forum members welcome the recent agreement by WTO members to assist developing countries access affordable drugs to fight serious public health problems including HIV-Aids. This is a breakthrough not only in terms of the care and treatment of those infected with the virus, but also an important part of its control. Moreover, the decision demonstrates the importance of partnerships between the private sector, civil society, governments, donors and multilateral institutions.

But the buck stops here, with us. At the end of the day, the key to beating this disease is political leadership. By being here today, we have reinforced the messages contained in the Declaration of Commitment on HIV-Aids. Some of the initiatives required will not be easy to achieve. It is up to us, the politicians, the leaders, to make good on our commitments to make the world a safer and healthier place today and for the generations to come.

Thank you, Mr President


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Werewolf: What Does Winston Peters Want His Legacy To Be?

A lot of people in New Zealand seem to resent Winston Peters and the power that he appears to have. “Appears” being the operative word. In reality, Peters will have power only up to the point that he uses it.

By next week, he’ll have become just another junior player in an MMP governing arrangement, battling to hold onto the gains he was promised. More>>

 

Rising Toll: Road Safety Needs To Be A Higher Priority

Official advice released to the Green Party under the Official Information Act shows that the previous National Government dismissed an option to make road safety its most important transport priority after being told the road toll was rising. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>

ALSO:

Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>

ALSO:

Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>

ALSO:

Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election