World must do more to tackle AIDS crisis, says UNDP

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown has urged world leaders to use their full capacity to do more to tackle the alarming spread of HIV/AIDS.
"A world that spent an estimated 500 billion US dollars to tackle the elusive Y2K bug on our computers must be able to do more to tackle a tragedy that has already blighted hundreds of million of lives," Brown said in a statement for the UN General Assembly special session on HIV/AIDS in New York.
Worldwide spending on HIV/AIDS from all sources is less than 2 billion dollars a year, said Brown, noting that the estimate for an adequate global response in low and middle-income countries is 7-10 billion dollars annually.
More than 36 million people are living with the deadly disease, and in the worst affected countries, one in four adults are infected.
"The result is a devastating hollowing out of communities, leaving only the very young and very old and thrusting millions of families deeper into poverty," he said.
The special session is preparing a Declaration of Commitment that will set out priorities for action and time-bound targets for achieving results.
The burden will be on the international community "to do everything possible to support developing countries in their implementation," Brown suggested.
He added that stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS requires mobilisation of various initiatives under strong national political leadership.
These, he said, range from public awareness campaigns and sex education in schools to programmes in the workplace, mobilisation of religious and community leaders and support for orphans.
Action to mitigate the impact on poverty and essential social services is also needed, as are "tough policy decisions in ministries of finance to ensure optimal allocation of resources to cope with the crisis," he said.
He explained that UNDP is helping governments to scale up "multi-sector and multi-partner national AIDS strategies" as well as work to integrate the issue of HIV/AIDS into broader national poverty strategies.

26 june 2001 14:48:00

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