ECOSOC BEGINS REVIEW OF AGENDA ITEMS ON COORDINATION,PROGRAMMES, ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTIONS



17 July 2003


Considers Reports on Coordination Bodies, Budget, UNAIDS,
Information and Communication Technologies,
Situation in Guinea-Bissau and Haiti, Others



The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) began this afternoon its consideration of reports related to coordination, programmes, economic and environmental questions, and other issues.
It heard introductions to reports on coordination bodies; UNAIDS; the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2004-2005; the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Task Force; the Commission on Science and Technology; the calendar of conferences and meetings in the economic, social and related fields; the long-term programme of support for Haiti; and on the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on African countries emerging from conflict whose report dealt with the situation in Guinea-Bissau.
Introducing the annual overview report of the United Nations System Chief Executive Board for Coordination, Patrizio Civili, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, said the increasing resonance of measuring the performance and impact within United Nations system agencies had set the stage for ECOSOC to assume a role akin to that of a governing body of the system as a whole.
Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (UNAIDS), said his report highlighted the activities undertaken by UNAIDS in an attempt to curb and address the spread of the pandemic. He said challenges to UNAIDS included the delivery of solutions to the most affected areas; addressing the needs of orphans and food security; curbing the globalisation of HIV/AIDS in Asia and Eastern European; moving from resource allocation to resource management; and ending the increased feminisation of HIV/AIDS.
A report was introduced on the proposed budget for the biennium 2004-2005 by Morteza Mirmohammad, Chairman of the Committee for Programme and Coordination, who said the Committee had completed its deliberations and recommended approval of the programme narratives of most sections of the budget, with some modifications. It had been recommended that the Chief Executive Board be results-oriented and that it incorporate expected achievements and the progress made in its work.
Sarbuland Khan, Director of the Division for ECOSOC Support and Coordination of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the first annual report of the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Task Force. He said the Task Force was a unique body that brought together key government policy-makers, multilateral institutions, business leaders and civil society representatives on a single platform – it served as a bridge between the public and private sector; ICT and development communities; and development goals and the market.
Robert Blois, Deputy Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union, introduced a report on the progress of the first phase of the World Summit on Information Society to be held in Geneva in December 2003.
William Bunch, Chief of Central Planning and Coordination for the Conference Services Division, informed ECOSOC about the provisional calendar of upcoming conferences in the economic, social and related fields.
Mr. Khan also introduced the report of the Secretary-General on the long-term programme of support for Haiti and said that the report provided an update on the assistance given by the United Nations system to Haiti. He described the economic and social context within which United Nations agencies had been operating, and stressed that a return to normalcy would be necessary to attract donors and foreign direct investment for long-term development.
Speaking on behalf of the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on African countries emerging from conflict, Henri Rubenheimer said the report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Guinea-Bissau had formulated short and long-term recommendations for increasing assistance to that country. It was clear that, in this critical phase, concrete support to the electoral process in the country was deeply needed to avoid a relapse into conflict, ensure a return to constitutional order and restore confidence with development partners.
Addressing the many issues before ECOSOC were representatives of Morocco (on behalf of the Group of 77 and China), Italy (on behalf of the European Union), the United States, Jamaica, Switzerland, Republic of Korea, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, Chile, Japan, Haiti, Burundi, and Sudan.
Representatives of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and UNESCO also spoke this afternoon.
ECOSOC will meet at 10 a.m. on Friday, 18 July, to begin its review of regional cooperation and continue its consideration of the report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on African countries emerging from conflict.

Documents
Under its agenda items on coordination, programme and other questions, and on economic and environmental questions, the Economic and Social Council has before it the annual overview report of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination for 2002 (E/2003/55) which provides an overview of major developments in inter-agency cooperation during the year 2002 within the purview of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB). During the year, Executive Heads in CEB focused on guiding the system’s contribution to the development of strategies to review progress, and to advocate and assist Member States in the implementation of the development goals embodied in the United Nations Millennium Declaration; gave special attention to the follow-up to the objectives and goals of the Millennium Declaration relating to “the treatment and prevention of diseases, including HIV/AIDS and malaria” and “preventing armed conflict” – the two themes selected for greater in-depth treatment in the 2002 report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the Millennium Declaration; reviewed the progress being made in providing coherent, system-wide support to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development; and considered ways of fashioning an integrated follow-up to major conferences and summits held during the course of the year.
There is a letter dated 26 June 2003 from the Chairman of the Committee on Conferences addressed to the President of the Economic and Social Council (E/2003/102) concerning the reviewed provisional calendar of conferences and meetings for 2004 and 2005 in the economic, social and related fields.
There is a report of the Secretary-General on international cooperation in the field of informatics (E/2003/75) which contains information on the initiatives taken by the Ad Hoc Open-Ended Working Group on Informatics. The report reflects the various activities in the field of informatics reported by the departments of the Secretariat and includes the findings of the Working Group and an assessment of its work and mandate.
There is a note by the Secretary-General on the Joint United Nations Programme on Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (UNAIDS) (E/2003/66) through which the Secretary-General transmits the report of the Executive Director of UNAIDS. The report provides an update of the status of the epidemic, summarized steps taken by UNAIDS to promote the implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS adopted by the special session of the United Nations General Assembly on HIV/AIDS in June 2001; summarizes other key developments in advancing a more effective and coordinated United Nations system response to the epidemic; and provides an overview of the future directions of UNAIDS in response to decisions made by its Programme Coordinating Board at its 13th meting in December 2002 following an external evaluation of the Programme. The report concludes with a series of recommendations and ECOSOC is invited to review the report and endorse its recommendations.
The Council also had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the First annual report of the Information and Communication Technologies Task Force (E/2003/56 and E/2003/56/Corr.1), which explained that the Task Force provides a global forum on integrating information and communication technologies (ICT) into development programmes and a platform for promoting partnerships of public, private, non-profit, civil society and multilateral stakeholders by helping develop new models of leadership and collaboration to advance significantly the global effort to bridge the digital divide and foster digital opportunity. During the first year of its mandate, the Task Force had become a universally recognized forum where ICT and development communities interacted in the quest to mobilize worldwide support to attain Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with the use of ICT. The Task Force had helped develop a holistic policy response to the challenge of putting ICT in the service of development, particularly for people living in poverty and rural areas, to which end it had paid special attention to Africa. It also began to address policy issues related to the integration of national e-strategies in overall development and poverty eradication strategies. In coming years, the Task Force will implement a focused strategy to make the realization of the MDGs its paramount objective.
There is a report on the sixth session of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (E/2003/31). There had been a general consensus that while information and communication technologies (ICT) offered wide-ranging opportunities, they had also generated new challenges for countries in which technological capability, skill capacity and infrastructure were not sufficiently developed, and that technology and competitiveness could be acquired only when supported by a policy focused on national capacity-building for technology absorption and technology learning. After the consideration of its agenda items, the Commission had adopted a resolution which addressed the major issues considered at the session and recommended them for adoption by ECOSOC. In the resolution, entitled “Science and Technology for Development”, the Commission decided that the substantive theme and focus of the Commission’s work during the intersessional period 2003-2004 would be “Promoting the application of science and technology to meet the Millennium Development Goals”. The resolution also recommended that the Commission take into account the need to meaningfully and systematically integrate a gender component into all its programmes and to improve its collaboration with its Gender Advisory Board.
There is a note by the Secretary-General on preparations for the World Summit on the Information Society (E/2003/58) which transmits the report of the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union on the ongoing preparatory process for the World Summit on the Information Society. The report states that three meetings of the Preparatory Committee are expected to set the framework for the first phase of the Summit, two of which have already been held. The report also says that five regional preparatory conferences have been held, and that the Executive Secretariat of the Summit, composed of detached persons from Governments, United Nations agencies, the private sector and civil society, began work in Geneva in September 2001 to support the preparatory process of the Summit. It also says that ITU and the Executive Secretariat of the Summit have developed a fund-raising campaign for the preparation of the Summit, the estimated cost of which is approximately 5.9 million Swiss francs for each of the two phases.
There is a report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Guinea-Bissau (E/2003/8). The report states that Guinea-Bissau is a country that is emerging from conflict. About three years ago, when the country first emerged from conflict and received post-conflict assistance from donors, it was among the countries that benefited from the enhanced heavily-indebted poor countries (HIPC) initiative. Today, however, the economic, social and political situation suggested that it may be slowly sliding back into conflict, despite the fact that all interlocutors interviewed by the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Guinea-Bissau said that they were tired of violence and preferred peace. The Ad Hoc Group had been mandated by ECOSOC to prepare recommendations for a long-term programme for the country. During its visit, it had become clear that the country was facing many short-term challenges that needed immediate consideration, and that future ad hoc work would need to be crafted in such a way as to address the unique and particular needs of each country. The report stresses that the close working relationship between ECOSOC and the Security Council was crucial in bringing about this productive collaboration. ECOSOC should consider engaging donor countries and the rest of the United Nations system, including Bretton Woods institutions, in an attempt to urgently find creative and innovative ways to respond to the situation in Guinea-Bissau. Beyond this situation, there is a need for the international community to develop a predictable and coherent manner of responding to countries emerging from conflict.
There is a report of the Secretary-General on the long-term programme of support for Haiti (E/2003/54) which describes the economic and political context in which the United Nations system has operated in since last year, summarizes the levels of official development assistance granted and provides an overview of the actions undertaken to prepare the outlines of a long-term programme of support. The report stresses that the political crisis experienced by Haiti, despite the assistance provided by the Organization of American States, is persisting, and constitutes a major obstacle to the country’s development and to the international assistance it so urgently requires.

Statements
PATRIZIO CIVILI, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-agency Affairs, introducing the annual overview report of the United Nations System Chief Executive Board (CEB) for Coordination, said that the increasing resonance of measuring the performance and impact within United Nations system agencies set the stage for the Council to assume a role akin to that of a governing body of the system as a whole. This had led to an expansion of the defined common business of the CEB and its high-level committees. Unfortunately, the inter-governmental mandate that formed the basis of annual reports such as the one now before the Council meant that their approach was largely retrospective. Though he tried to supplement these reports with up-to-date briefings to the Council after each session of the CEB, the Council might want to review the reports’ mandates and consider ways in which their usefulness as an instrument of dialogue could be maximized.
In terms of the current report, he noted that the CEB continued to follow the practice of building the agendas of its two annual sessions around the two themes decided by the Secretary-General in his annual reports on the implementation of the Millennium Declaration. Thus, last year the focus had been on the treatment and prevention of diseases and the prevention of armed conflict. This year, the CEB had focused on the follow-up to Johannesburg, and would address the follow-up to Monterrey in its next session. With inter-agency coordination becoming increasingly more mainstreamed in the day-to-day work of the United Nations system, a deepening of the policy dialogue between the CEB and the Council would become essential for progress.
PETER PIOT, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (UNAIDS), said that the HIV/AIDS epidemic continued to grow and was more deeply felt than ever. The report highlighted the activities undertaken by UNAIDS in an attempt to curb and address the spread of the disease. The global response to HIV/AIDS must be on a greater scale. However, HIV/AIDS was a problem with a solution. Today’s challenge was to deliver the solutions to the areas where they were most needed. There was a need to respond to the needs of heavily affected countries where rates of infection were still increasing.
Prevention efforts must be combined with measures to address the needs of orphans and the improvement of food security. Another challenge was the need to stop the globalisation of the epidemic in Asia and Eastern European. Funding was also a challenge, he said. Along with increased resources came increased capacity needs, including resource management as well as capacity building. It was added that treatment must go hand in hand with efforts of prevention. Finally, UNAIDS faced the challenge of responding to the increased feminisation of HIV/AIDS, particularly in Africa. This was why UNAIDS was launching a coalition on women and HIV/AIDS to respond to this unfortunate trend in the spread of the epidemic. The role of UNAIDS was to continue to be the world’s reference on HIV/AIDS, to support advocacy campaigns and to strengthen United Nations country campaigns. Above all, UNAIDS supported developing countries and communities in delivering solutions to HIV/AIDS.
MORTEZA MIRMOHAMMAD, Chairman of the Committee for Programme and Coordination, said that one of the main tasks of the forty-third session of the Committee was to review the proposed budget for the biennium 2004-2005. The Committee had completed its deliberation and recommended approval of the programme narratives of most sections of the budget, with some modifications. In regard of coordination questions, the Committee had requested that future annual overview reports of the Chief Executive Board (CEB) be results-oriented, incorporating expected accomplishments, indicators of achievement and progress made toward their accomplishment. It emphasized the importance of the CEB in its system-wide coordination functions with respect to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and stressed the need for the CEB to keep the issue of inter-agency coordination on NEPAD under regulated review.
The Committee also considered the issue of the future engagement of the United Nations system with NEPAD, he said. The United Nations system should assume the role of convener, consistent with the fields of competence and capacity of relevant organisations, while complying with the need to avoid inter-agency rivalry, and strengthening coordination and collaboration in order to ensure their effective involvement in providing added value to the implementation of NEPAD. Additionally, the Committee tried to make optimal use of its time, through the adoption of a time limit for statements, and tried to extend more attention to programme performance and evaluation in consideration of the budget. In conclusion, he said that the value and format of the report could be further improved to reflect the outcome of its work on strategic issues, policy direction in the medium-term plan on the budget, and assessment of programme performance and evaluation.
SARBULAND KHAN, Director of the Division for ECOSOC Support and Coordination in the Department for Economic and Social Affairs, reading out a statement by the Chairman of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Task Force to introduce the reports of the Secretary-General on the Task Force and on the United Nations informatics system, said that the Task Force was in many ways a unique body in the United Nations system in that it brought together key government policymakers, multilateral institutions, business leaders and civil society representatives on a single platform. It served as a bridge between the public and private sectors, between ICT and development communities and between development goals and the market. Furthermore, it had a cutting-edge mandate to serve as a catalyst in building multi-stakeholder partnerships to make a difference in the lives of the poor and enable them to join the mainstream world economy.
The report provided a comprehensive overview of the environment in which the Task Force operated, he said, as well as an assessment of progress made in its first year and an outline of the agreed strategy and plan of action for the second and third years. The explosive development of information and communication technologies had had a profound impact on the global situation. Yet despite the rapid spread of digital technologies, billions of the world’s people remained untouched by this revolution. The divide between technology’s haves and have-nots threatened to exacerbate the gaps between rich and poor. The challenge of including 4.5 billion people in the digital world was huge; it involved affordable and universal access, local content development and capacity building and ICT policy and governance issues. To this end, the Task Force had developed a strategy focused on using ICT in support of the Millennium Development Goals and contributing to the World Summit on the Information Society.
ROBERT BLOIS, Deputy Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union, introduced the report on the progress of the first phase of the World Summit on Information Society to be held in Geneva in December. Since the last report, there had been substantive progress in the preparations. The preparatory committee meetings would be held before December, and five regional meetings had already been held. The three meetings of the Preparatory Committee were expected to set the framework for the first phase of the Summit. The Executive Secretariat of the Summit, composed of persons detached from Governments, United Nations agencies, the private sector and civil society, had began work in Geneva in September 2001 to support the preparatory process of the Summit. The International Telecommunication Union and the Executive Secretariat of the Summit had developed a fund-raising campaign for the preparation of the Summit, the estimated cost of which was approximately 5.9 million Swiss francs for each of the two phases.
WILLIAM BUNCH, Chief of Central Planning and Coordination in the Conference Services Division, introduced a draft resolution on the provisional calendar of upcoming conferences in the economic, social and related fields. In addition to the calendar, this draft resolution covered a letter from the Chairman of the Committee on Conferences addressed to the President of the Council, by which the Committee submitted its views on the provisional calendar and recommended its adoption by the Council. Detailing several corrections and additions to the calendar, he said that it must be recognized that the calendar captured only a moment in time. As presented today, it included all information available. However, before the end of the session, the Council would adopt a number of resolutions and decisions in regard of the mandates of meetings and dates on which they were to be held. That information would be inserted into the provisional calendar before its submission to the Committee on Conferences at its substantive session in September. The complete calendar would be submitted to the General Assembly within the context of the report of the Committee.
SARBULAND KHAN, Director of the Division for ECOSOC Support and Coordination of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the report of the Secretary-General on the long-term programme of support for Haiti. The report provided an update on the assistance given by the United Nations system to Haiti and described the economic and social context within which United Nations agencies had been operating. It stated that a return to normalcy would be necessary to attract donors and foreign direct investment for long-term development.
HENRI RUBENHEIMER (South Africa) introduced, on behalf of the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on African countries emerging from conflict, the report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Guinea-Bissau. The report had formulated short and long-term recommendations for increasing assistance to Guinea-Bissau and had highlighted the need of keeping the momentum in assistance to Guinea-Bissau going. It stressed the growing relationship between the Group and the Security Council over the last months. It also enumerated actions taken by the two Councils to complement their work and mutually strengthen the message they sent to the authorities of Guinea-Bissau and their international development partners. The recent mission had strengthened the conviction of the Group that, in this critical phase, concrete support to the electoral process in the country was deeply needed to avoid a relapse into conflict, ensure a return to constitutional order and restore confidence with development partners. He repeated the appeal of the Group and urged the donor community to make the necessary investment to assist in ensuring the credibility of the upcoming elections in order to fill the vacuum by the absence of an elected legislative arm of Government.
ABDELLAH BENMELLOUK (Morocco), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said that the technology born of the 1990s had continued to bring challenges as well as opportunities to the world. Developing countries in general had been further marginalized by their inability to take advantage of the dot.com era, while the digital divide grew ever wider due to rapidly changing technology, the high cost involved and the lack of requisite human resource capacity. This trend must not be allowed to continue if the Millennium objective of ensuring that the benefits of new information and communication technologies were available to all was to be achieved.
Commending the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Informatics and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research and their partners for the progress achieved so far, he stressed the continued validity of the Working Group and recommended the extension of its mandate for another year.
PAOLO BRUNI (Italy), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the European Union supported strengthened United Nations coordination and was convinced that inter-agency cooperation and coordination was crucial, in particular in promoting an integrated follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and, in broader terms, in fostering the effective implementation of the development goals contained in the Millennium Declaration. Only a few weeks ago, the General Assembly had adopted an important resolution on integration and coordination in the implementation and follow-up to the major United Nations conference and summits. The resolution underlined that the work of the Chief Executive Board (CEB) must reflect the agreements and commitments reached at the major United Nations conferences and reiterated its role and functions in the promotion of system-wide inter-agency coordination and cooperation.
The proactive role that CEB had played until now deserved to be supported since it indicated the system’s capacity, through its coordination body, to be receptive to indications from the members. The European Union looked forward to stepping up the dialogue between ECOSOC and CEB. From the European Union’s perspective, it would be useful for CEB members to show their support for all the initiatives aimed at reinforcing the effectiveness and coherence of the multilateral system’s action, with specific attention to the follow-up to the Monterrey Consensus.
Concerning another agenda item, namely HIV/AIDS, the European Union expressed its deep concern as to the current expansion of the epidemic. This emphasized the need for continued efforts on prevention and care. The European Union was also concerned about the feminisation of HIV/AIDS and called on other States to step up activities in this regard. In February 2001, the European Commission adopted a comprehensive and coherent “Programme for Action on Communicable Diseases”, which sought to mobilize development policy, trade and research instruments, and financial policies to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The European Union was also supporting appropriate incentives to increase investments in global health, including through working with key pharmaceutical companies. In the conviction that research and development were key components both in the health and social field, the European Union had decided to increase its commitment to research and development in the area of new treatments to fight this disease of poverty.
SICHAN SIV (United States) said that the United States was committed to turning the tide against AIDS and had pledged significant funds to that effort. The United States had pledged over $ 1.6 billion to the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, in addition to the $ 5 billion pledged recently by President Bush to the fight against HIV/AIDS. There needed to be a recommitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS, he continued. It was good to see UNAIDS playing a leadership role, but affected countries could do more. Leaders needed to speak out against stigma and discrimination. In this context, it was good to see UNAIDS improving its involvement at the national level and strengthening the United Nations theme groups and effectiveness and accountability at the national level.
STAFFORD O. NEIL (Jamaica) said he would address the issue of science and technology for development. In this regard, he welcomed the report of the Commission on Science and Technology since it was a good record of the comprehensive work being done by the Commission. Its strategy to conduct its affairs through expert panels, drawn largely from members of the Commission, had worked remarkably well. Jamaica endorsed the findings of the report that while information and communication technologies (ICT) offered wide-ranging opportunities for innovation, they also presented new challenges for countries with insufficiently developed technological capability, skill and infrastructure. Jamaica had taken full note of the recommendation that the ability to gain and use ICT profitably would depend on long-term national policies and strategies. With regard to science and technology as a whole, through implicitly and explicitly enunciated policies, strategies and plans in Jamaica, the Government had challenged the science and technology community to bridge the gap between science and technology and their application in employment creation, and poverty reduction. Notwithstanding achievements made, major challenges still remained in the immediate future for Jamaica if the country was to be competitive in a globalised environment which was characterized by rapid technological changes.
NIKOLAI FETISOV (Russian Federation) said that HIV/AIDS was one of the most serious health and social problems blocking the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The HIV/AIDS epidemic had depleted the resources of countries and drained their human potential, both important factors for state security. The epidemic was also undermining foundations for sustainable development, particularly in Africa. Moreover, the Russian Federation was also deeply concerned over the number of Russian citizens infected, 70 per cent of whom were young and gainfully employed. Yet against this data backdrop, the Government was heartened by advances in the fight against HIV/AIDS and was interested in further expanding its cooperation with UNAIDS, particularly in the area of biomedical, clinical, epidemiological and social programmes dealing with HIV/AIDS. Welcoming the beginning of operations within the context of the Global Fund against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, he said it was necessary to ensure the replenishment of the Fund and the effective implementation of its programmes. The Russian Federation had contributed to the Fund and was willing to supply inexpensive and high quality equipment for diagnosis and laboratory work. The social and human rights aspects of HIV/AIDS were no less important; one channel for efforts could be provided by developing initiatives to develop guidelines for national-level guarantees of non-discrimination to those vulnerable because of HIV/AIDS.
On the subject of information and communications technologies (ICT), he said that it was necessary for the Task Force to continue and work together with other key institutional actors in the ICT field. It should play the role of catalyst in structures aimed at overcoming the digital divide.
JEAN-MARC BOULGARIS (Switzerland) welcomed the progress in the preparations for the World Summit for the Information Society, as well as the report of the Secretary-General on this topic. The International Telecommunications Union had an important role to play in the smooth running of the Summit which must eventually contribute to development through the bridging of the digital divide. The implementation of the plan of action of the Summit could only be successfully ensured through the strong and vibrant participation of civil society and the private sector, both in the first phase in Geneva and the second phase in Tunis. The objective must be to create real synergies and partnerships between the private and public sectors. In this connection, he highlighted the importance of programmes such as “ICT for D” – Information and Communication Technologies for Development. Switzerland had been actively involved in the preparations of the Summit, particularly in terms of electronic media. In conclusion, he stressed the importance of each country ensuring its highest level of participation in order to ensure that the commitments to be undertaken were respected and implemented.
BERNARD GARDINER (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies) addressing the work of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), said that a more courageous and determined approach to the crises affecting the world was needed, especially with regard to the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic. This new way of thinking should include three elements, namely, a resolve to address problems with an integrated approach and recognizing the interconnectivity of all sectors and actors; the incorporation of a long-term perspective in all interventions to strengthen local capacity and empower communities for self-reliance; and built-in strategies to highlight and promote the role and contribution of women.
The International Federation was fully engaged with UNAIDS to reduce stigma and discrimination and to mobilize communities through volunteers, he said. Collaboration with GNP+ and the HIV+ humanitarians within the National Societies of the Red Cross and Red Crescent had inspired leadership and practical day-to-day assistance to the vulnerable, both in terms of home-based care for those with AIDS as well as preventive education work. Moreover, the International Federation considered that a consensus had emerged concerning the necessity of community mobilization to the effective delivery of treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS. Yet this mobilization would not occur on its own; models for treatment delivery that did not include this mobilization had to be adjusted and “demedicalised” so the contribution of civil society was well articulated and properly funded. It was time to put people at the centre of response strategies. Finally, he said that nowhere was the gap between science and donor practice more evident than in the inhumane treatment of injecting drug users. These people were in need of care and real alternatives, not harassment, stigmatisation, violence and deliberate marginalisation, which would create a public health disaster in forcing them underground and facilitating the transmission of HIV/AIDS.
KYUNG-WHA KANG (Republic of Korea) said information and communication technologies (ICT) had emerged as one of the most effective instruments for increasing productivity, fostering economic growth and ultimately leading to overall development in developing countries. To this end, the Republic of Korea believed that the increased involvement of the Governments of both developed and developing countries, the private sector, multilateral institutions and the non-profit sector, as coordinated by the Task Force, would be crucial to the international community’s timely achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. While extending appreciation to the Secretariat for its efforts in preparing the first annual report of the ICT Task Force, her delegation hoped that the second annual report would provide more detailed information regarding the specific countries and companies with which the Task Force had been involved. It was interesting to note that ICT penetration had continued to increase not only in the advanced economies, but also in the developing countries and the correlation between ICT and growth remained strong. Moreover, it had been interesting to note that in 2001 the demand for mobile subscriptions in developing countries had eclipsed that in developed countries. However, while the ICT gap was narrowing significantly, it was a source of concern that the digital divide between developed and emerging countries and least developed countries had actually increased.
MYKHAILO V. SKURATOVSKYI (Ukraine) said that there had been three decisive developments for the perspective activities of UNAIDS and the entire struggle against HIV/AIDS since the previous report’s submission to the Council. The first had been the follow-up actions undertaken by all actors in response to the Declaration of Commitments on HIV/AIDS; the second, the external evaluation of the first five years of UNAIDS’ work; and the third, follow-up measures, which had become important milestones in history. Much work remained to be done to combat disease, in which context, Ukraine supported the five crosscutting key functions for UNAIDS at the global and country levels, adopted by its Programme Coordinating Board.
UNAIDS activities at the national level had substantially contributed to strengthening national capacity and leadership, he said. Commending those efforts based on broad awareness of the multi-faceted dimensions of the epidemic and its impact across sectors, Ukraine felt that the establishment of the Country Response Information System and dissemination of best practice and lessons learned were of great value. Inside Ukraine, UNAIDS was active and efficient, cooperating closely with government bodies and non-governmental organizations. Fighting HIV/AIDS had become a national priority, as Ukraine had one of the fastest increasing rates of infection.
R. MSUYA (United Republic of Tanzania) said she was concerned about the statistics demonstrating the seriousness of the HIV/AIDS crisis. It was reported that about 42 million people globally were living with HIV/AIDS, of whom 28.1 million lived in sub-Saharan Africa. In several areas in southern Africa, prevalence rates among pregnant women exceeded 30 per cent. In Tanzania, approximately two million people had been infected with HIV to date. Despite alarming statistics, globally, HIV/AIDS prevention reached only one in five of those at risk of infection; HIV/AIDS treatment reached only one per cent of the Africans who needed it and only one in ten African children slept under a net that protected them against malaria. Much remained to be done at all levels, at the national level, at the regional level as well as at the international level. Tanzania supported the recommendations contained in the Secretary-General’s report, among others the call on UNAIDS to expand support to global advocacy and leadership initiatives, strengthen United Nations system performance and accountability at the country level; and to strengthen national capacity in key areas. Since HIV/AIDS was a multi-faceted problem its solution required a multi-pronged approach. The Government of Tanzania reaffirmed its commitment to working together with the international community to meet the internally agreed goals in addressing the great challenge of HIV/AIDS.
CLAUDIO ROJAS (Chile) said that the work of UNAIDS in South America had allowed Chile to set up a broad national programme to react to the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country. The Health Ministry was responsible for tracking the spread of the epidemic within Chile. Twenty-one programmes had been launched in June under the aegis of the horizontal coordination board on HIV/AIDS within the country. Chile had oriented its policy in terms of social needs, highlighting the needs of the most vulnerable population groups including sex workers, women and ethnic minorities. Chile sought to ensure the rights of these groups and to enable them to play a significant role in their communities.
On the subject of information and communications technologies (ICT), all efforts should be aimed at overcoming the technological divide that separated the developed from the developing world, he said. Public policies should be defined in terms related to structures for telecommunication, access to technologies, setting regulatory measures to contribute to ensuring progress in the new economy and training and education programmes. The international community must also work to never lose sight of its commitments with regard to women and their access to ICT.
GEORGES MALEMPRÉ (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) reaffirmed UNESCO’s commitment to the work to combat HIV/AIDS through the educational part of its mandate. He also stressed the importance that States and international organizations fully participate in the preparation for the World Summit for Information Society, including bridging of the digital divide, ensuring access to information and data, and developing the supply of educational tools enabling all people to be agents in their own development process. It was also important to address ethical issues such as the preservation of cultural diversity. New communication technologies could open up new horizons if the international community ensured that all people could have access to it. However, it was essential that the concept of pluralism was maintained and consolidated within the sphere of information and communication technology, including that of linguistic and cultural diversity. Developing countries needed to be assisted in the achievement of qualitative and quantitative objectives, he added. It was important to live up to this challenge. In this context, he mentioned the importance of the Universal Declaration of Cultural Diversity.
KIYOSHI WADA (Japan) said that a global approach was indispensable to the fight against HIV/AIDS. In order not to lose the international community’s current momentum in facing the issue of HIV/AIDS appropriately, the reform of UNAIDS was essential. Japan intended to participate in the reform and the continued activities of UNAIDS.
SERAPHINE WAKANA, Minister of Planning, Development and Reconstruction of Burundi, said that her country was moving towards an end to the war that had torn it apart. Although the rebel groups were now involved in the peace process, they continued to carry out violent attacks. It was to be hoped that under international pressure, the rebels would fully join in the peace process. The progress in Burundi had been recognized by her foreign partners, who had resumed their cooperation since the signing of the peace agreement. Although the delivery of concrete aid would be slow, it was important to realize that without economic and budgetary assistance, the peace process could fail. There was a great risk of state collapse. Near promises would not be enough, the international community had a responsibility for the success or failure of the peace process. The Burundian Government intended to discuss with the international community how to ensure the successful provision of international assistance.

Statements on the Draft Resolution on Haiti
RIA THOMAS (United States) said that the “Friends of Haiti” in New York had produced a draft resolution on the long-term programme of support for Haiti. The United States would like this text to be introduced to the Council with a view to adopting it by consensus.
CLAUDIO ROJAS (Chile) said that as a member of the “Friends of Haiti” group, his country attached particular importance to the Secretary-General’s report and viewed it as raising essential points for stability in the country, aimed at achieving sustainable development and democracy. Of particular note was the impact of regional efforts in Latin America and the integrated emergency programme, which recently had been enacted in Haiti. This constituted an important contribution to promoting progress in Haiti. His delegation was in support of the resolution.
ABDELLAH BENMELLOUK (Morocco), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said that he was pleased by the intent to adopt the draft resolution which was demonstrated in the Council. This programme would lead to the promotion of progress in Haiti.
JEAN C. ALEXANDRE (Haiti) said that his government wanted to express its deep gratitude for the support received under the long-term programme of support. The draft resolution by the “Friends of Haiti” group had led to the issuance of the report of the Secretary-General and the inclusion of this subject in the forthcoming meeting of the General Assembly. Despite the fact that some progress in Haiti had been reported, certain international donors had suspended their essential support. Given the serious economic situation in Haiti, the Government was aware of its responsibility and intended to live up to the challenges facing it as energetically as possible. The 200th anniversary of Haiti’s independence was to serve as a catalyst for sustainable development and democracy.
Noting that half of Haiti’s population lived with serious food shortages, that three-fourth of rural inhabitants lived in extreme poverty, and that the rates of child mortality, maternal mortality and HIV/AIDS infection were high, he welcomed the support of the United Nations system and the international community and hoped that the long-term programme would continue to receive support. As the Security Council had stressed, economic recovery and reconstruction were the main objectives of Haiti’s Government and people.
OMER BASHIR MANIS (Sudan) said that the decision to extend long-term assistance to Haiti was commendable. Haiti was the only Least Developed Community (LDC) in the American area. It suffered from a serious brain-drain and the loss of skilled labourers, which contributed to the worsening of an already difficult economic situation. Paying tribute to the Organization of American States (OAS) for its efforts, he said that one lesson learned from this process was that regional initiatives could obtain results if they were instituted in line with national political will. He called upon the international community to support the long-term programme for Haiti.



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