Joint meeting of the Executive Boards of
UNDP/UNFPA, UNICEF and WFP
New York 23-26 January 2004
Item 1: HIV/AIDS: Regional Initiatives.
Mr. Jostein Leiro
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway.
New York 23. January 2004
Before turning to the item under discussion, allow me to make a general comment on the documentation for this meeting: The results of the joint meetings rely to a large extent on our ability to have a focussed discussion concentrating on the future activities of the Funds and Programmes. The background notes prepared for the meetings are important in this regard. However, for this to work we need the key documentation to be available more than a couple of days before the session. This should be ensured before the next joint session.
Turning to the item under discussion, Mr. President. The interesting presentations have made very clear the urgent need for better coordination and harmonization to make real progress in the fight against hiv/aids. We welcome and support the regional initiatives underway to achieve this objective. We shall follow the further implementation with keen interest, and in this context echo the emphasis in Executive Director Thoraya Obaid’s introduction on the increasingly female face of the pandemic and the importance of the Secretary General’s Task Force in this regard.
UNAIDS and its co-sponsors have crucial roles to play in assisting countries addressing HIV/AIDS more effectively. At the same time, a number of large and ambitious stakeholders are emerging in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This has become evident not the least when it comes to treatment and care. Their contributions are welcome and necessary. However, these efforts must be coordinated and roles must be clearly defined. It would be of great interest if the panel could elaborate how UN agencies assess these opportunities and challenges in the context of regional initiatives.
Finally, Mr President, we welcome the emphasis in the strategies and actions on blurring the lines between humanitarian and development assistance. In this connection, let me underline the importance of health systems in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We must strengthen national health systems to make sure that systems are in place for prevention, treatment and care.