Statement by Ambassador Jiro Kodera
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
On Agenda item 46 (Follow-up to the outcome of the twenty-sixth special session:
Implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS)
21 May 2007
United Nations General Assembly
At the outset, I would like to convey to the Secretary-General my delegation's sincere appreciation for his report on the progress made over the past 12 months in the international response to HIV/AIDS.
The Political Declaration adopted at last June's High-Level Meeting on AIDS set a new goal of universal access to HIV prevention programmes, treatment, care and support by 2010. According to the Secretary-General's report, it is estimated that 2 million individuals in low- and middle-income countries were undergoing antiretroviral therapy as of December 2006. This number shows an increase of 700,000 from the previous year, and represents 28 per cent of the estimated 7.1 million people in need of such therapy. The international community must take this reality seriously and continue to strive to realize universal access to care.
The Secretary-General's report stresses the importance of the comprehensive and multisectoral approach to HIV/AIDS. Japan has followed this approach since it adopted the Global Issue Initiative on Population and AIDS in 1994. As part of this initiative, Japan has helped improve national responses to HIV in developing countries. My Government is pleased to note that the Secretary-General's report recognizes signs of improvement in several Asian and African countries with which Japan has cooperated in this initiative.
The Secretary-General's report also points out that many national plans fail to take into account the costs of non-health sector interventions such as programmes focusing on youth, both in and out of school, and community mobilization. In addition, the report highlights the importance of information about HIV/AIDS, in other words, of "knowing your epidemic." Non-health sector interventions have long been a part of Japan's support for responses to HIV/AIDS, and it is highly significant that this issue was raised in the report.
Japan launched its "Health and Development Initiative" in June 2005. This initiative puts forward Japan's concept of economic cooperation to achieve the three health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As a part of this initiative, Japan will help developing countries respond to HIV/AIDS in the following ways:
1.) lower the risk of infection by supporting the development of the human resources necessary for prevention awareness activities, and providing condoms;
2.) fight the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, which increase the risk of HIV infections, particularly among vulnerable members of society;
3.) promote voluntary counseling and testing by providing tests kits, and building essential human resources and facilities;
4.) expand antiretroviral therapy programmes, and support the treatment of opportunistic infections, measures against mother-to-child transmission, and activities that encourage social participation among people living with HIV/AIDS;
5.) provide care for AIDS orphans;
6.) and support the creation of a safe blood supply.
Through these efforts, Japan intends to continue to improve the quality of the global response to HIV/AIDS by working alongside developing countries as a responsible partner.
As we look ahead to next year, when the United Nations will undertake a comprehensive review of the global AIDS response, Japan hopes that this organization will continue to work actively to ensure that the goal of universal access is achieved.
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