Statement by Ambassador Yukio Takasu
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
at the High-Level meeting on a comprehensive review of the progress achieved in realizing the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS
11 June 2008
A quarter of a century has passed since HIV/AIDS was recognized by the public as a social issue. Significant strides have been made since then. However, humanity is still confronting one of the deadliest diseases in history, taking more than 25 million lives throughout the world. For developing countries, tackling health issues including infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS is one of the major challenges of development as a whole.
Large amounts of financial resources, both public and private, have been mobilized for tackling HIV/AIDS. However, in order to achieve universal access to prevention programs, treatment, care and support by 2010, and also to achieve the related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, it is crucial to scale up, strengthen and implement efficient interventions and increase the positive impact of support programs. From this point of view, we highly appreciate UNAIDS for the efforts to achieve universal access for those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
Japan will continue to cope with global health issues from the human security perspective, which is a human-centered and integrated approach. Furthermore, as emphasized at the HIV-TB Global Leaders' Forum on the day before yesterday, we should not overlook the spread of HIV-TB co-infection. An integrated approach is essential. Japan will work with developing countries by making use of its own experience of having overcome high TB rates in its post-war history.
At the G-8 Kyushu Okinawa Summit in 2000, Japan took up for the first time in the history of the G8, the issue of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases as a priority, and initiated a global action plan. Since then, the G8 leaders have set numerical targets and launched the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. This has driven the international community to new heights in its campaign against HIV/AIDS.
The MDGs and the UN Declaration of Commitment set an important target in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
To meet these challenges, we have to mobilize more support and resources through multilateral and bilateral channels. Japan has extended strong support amounting $850 million to the activities of the Global Fund in view of its important contribution, participatory approach and promising future. On 23 May Prime Minister Fukuda pledged an additional contribution totaling $560 million to the Global Fund.
In developing countries, an increasing number of international aid agencies, civil society organizations and private sector partners have been involved in the health sector. It is therefore important for all health-related stakeholders to coordinate better to avoid duplication and achieve maximum results.
Equally important is to strengthen health system and community health care. Actions targeted to specific infectious diseases cannot be implemented effectively without first improving health systems. Fragile health systems are one of the biggest obstacles to combating infectious diseases in developing countries. Japan appreciates, in this regard, the World Bank and the Global Fund for their efforts in strengthening health systems in the developing countries.
Last month, the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development reaffirmed the importance of the strong commitment of national leaders and sustained partnerships in the fight against infectious diseases. TICAD IV also stressed particularly the importance of strengthening health systems and improving maternal, new-born and child health by addressing the capacity building of health workers and the brain-drain of skilled health workers from developing countries.
Specifically, the TICAD Action Plan agreed that we should strive to "promote training and the retention of health workers in order to contribute to achieving the WHO goal of at least 2.3 health workers per 1,000 people in Africa." For this purpose, Japan, in collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), commits itself to provide training for 100,000 health and medical workers, including skilled birth attendants in African countries.
The outcome of TICAD IV will be fully taken into account in the high priority discussion of health issues at the G-8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit in 2-3 weeks time. We hope our political leaders reaffirm the comprehensive and balanced approach which promotes both the strengthening of health systems and the introduction of specific methods for controlling HIV/AIDS.
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