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    For information only - not an official document.
      UNIS/SG/2741
          8 December 2000
     Secretary-General Launches International Partnership 
    Against AIDS in Africa in Addis Ababa
     

    NEW YORK, 7 December (UN Headquarters) -- United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today officially launched an International Partnership Against AIDS in Africa, to marshal continent-wide support to fight the epidemic.

    In a speech to leaders at the second African Development Forum, Mr. Annan declared that the Partnership will galvanize intensive efforts, bringing together African governments, the United Nations, donors, community organizations and the private sector.  The Partnership  --  established informally a year ago as a loose coalition, and already gaining momentum -- grew out of a meeting Mr. Annan convened last December, where he called all sides together and asked them to “develop an unprecedented response to an unprecedented crisis”.

    The International Partnership “will be the focus for a new spirit of cooperation in building the response to AIDS”, Mr. Annan stated in his speech. He told the leaders assembled, “We face a terrible epidemic, but we are far from powerless against it.  We can halt the spread of AIDS.  We can even reverse it.”

    The need for the Partnership for Africa was born of the realization that efforts to fight AIDS had not kept up with the epidemic itself and that an extraordinary response was needed to catch up.  From a health problem, AIDS has deteriorated into a full-blown development catastrophe, with 3.8 million new cases this year in Africa alone. 

    Since the Secretary-General’s initial call for a partnership, the International Partnership has been building a response to AIDS in Africa that aims to be commensurate with the scale of the epidemic.  In the past year it has mobilized unprecedented political leadership, helped shatter the silence and stigma around the epidemic, and strengthened national planning, especially in the hardest hit countries.  It has also helped mobilize new resources for AIDS, from both donors and African governments, opened new channels for cooperation among the alliance partners, and accelerated access to HIV care, support and treatment.

    The goals the Partnership has set for itself are simple but ambitious:  over the next decade, it will help reduce the number of new HIV infections in Africa, promote care for those who suffer from the virus, and mobilize society to halt the advance of AIDS.

    The second Africa Development Forum (ADF2000), being held in Addis Ababa from 3 to 7 December, has gathered over 1,500 African leaders, policy-makers, activist organizations and academics to address the theme of “AIDS:  The Greatest Leadership Challenge”.  Organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in conjunction with several United Nations agencies, ADF 2000 has been designed to serve as a launching pad to galvanize an African-led response to the pandemic.

    From 25 to 27 June 2001, the United Nations will hold a three-day special session of its General Assembly on the HIV/AIDS issue, an historic step to bring the world together to tackle the crisis.

    For more information about the Partnership, see www.unaids.org on the Internet.

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