First we would like to thank the Secretary-General for his report on the excellent progress towards achieving the targets of the Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS: Intensifying our efforts to Eliminate HIV and AIDS, adopted in 2011 by the General Assembly;
We appreciate the review of the progress and challenges in meeting the 10 specific and time-bound targets to be met by 2015, and we would like to stress that we consider that the report is well balanced and takes into consideration the specificities of the different regions.
We are particularly pleased to note the reduction of new infections and more people having access to treatment, but are concerned by the high level of stigma and discrimination.
In this regard, the EU is committed to upholding human rights, an effort which is underpinned by the common EU values of solidarity towards equitable and universal coverage of quality health services1. In its relationships and agreements with third countries the European Union pays particular attention to rights-based programmes to address the specific needs of key population groups.
With respect the AIDS resource gap we welcome the increased national funding and emphasise the need for further strengthening of country ownership, while supporting a broader donor base. To this end we encourage other donors, such as the private sector and emerging donors, to continue to enhance their contributions in line with their increased role in the global economy. As demonstrated with UNITAID, innovative financing can also be a valuable contribution.
The European Commission has been associated with the Global Fund since it was founded 12 years ago, in 2001. Since then the Commission has contributed more than 1.1 billion euros to the Global Fund. Collectively, the EU and its Member States have been contributing 55% to the Global Fund´s budget so far. GFATM will remain also in the future an important instrument for the EU in the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in developing countries.
Concerning the allocation of resources, the EU stance is to align its resources to the countries’ priorities identified in the national plans and to discuss and agree with countries representatives and stakeholders strategic options on the basis of a policy dialogue.
This policy dialogue is also key to providing adequate support to strengthen health systems in the delivery of integrated health services, in particular through comprehensive primary health care.
Notwithstanding past support to the Global Fund, it is now too early to determine the level of future contribution; however, we can assure that the GFATM will remain a central instrument for the EU in the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in developing countries.
Civil society organisations are an integral and crucial part of the health and AIDS landscape and, as such, should, where necessary, be supported to advocate for adequate services. Such support is critical when the provision of public funds for the fight against HIV is not sufficient or when policies on drugs and rights for LGBT and other key population groups are inadequate.
Finally we would like to note that we need to address the unfinished challenges related to the current health MDGs, and embrace new global health challenges, including non-communicable diseases and universal health coverage in the elaboration of the post 2015 framework. While important progress has been made on the health-related MDGs 4, 5 and 6 globally, we need to tackle the progressive reduction of inequalities. This includes access to prevention, treatment and care for those in need. Inequalities should be addressed by setting policy priorities and allocation of resources according to needs (e.g. poorest quintiles, disadvantaged regions, marginalized or potentially vulnerable population groups, gender inequalities)2 and through strengthening health systems which are responsive and able to deliver comprehensive quality health services for the entire population.
Universal health coverage and access to comprehensive quality health services, including sexual and reproductive health, constitutes a specific contribution to achieving a broader goal of sustainable well-being;
It is clear that the fight against HIV/AIDS remains a key health issue, which the international community must continue to address with great determination in the years to come.
1 Council Conclusions on the EU Role in Global Health, 2010, para 4.
2 The EU Council Conclusions “Equity and Health in all policies: Solidarity in Health”. 3019h Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council meeting, June 2010.