Ambassador Bagher Asadi (Islamic Republic of Iran), Chairman

G-77 calls on Developed Nations
to Provide Needed Funds for Effective
Fight Against HIV/AIDS

Chairman says new and additional sources
and debt relief are needed

UNITED NATIONS (25 June 2001) - As the Special Session on HIV/AIDS began today at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the Chairman of the Group of 77 (G-77) called on the developed nations of the world to increase their contributions to the global fight against the pandemic. Ambassador Bagher Asadi (Islamic Republic of Iran), Chairman of the Group, echoing the words of the Secretary-General earlier today at the session that "the response has not measured up to the challenge", said that the funds made available so far are simply inadequate for an effective campaign against the deadly virus. The Chairman also emphasized the importance of debt relief to free national resources in the developing countries.

The G-77 Chairman considered the 26th Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly a welcome development and a timely indication of the global awareness of the devastating HIV/AIDS menace. Characterizing the situation as a major development crisis, he said that the world now seems to have realized the real, multi-faceted dimensions of the emergency. He expressed hope that the Special Session would be able to muster the necessary political will and the requisite resources to address and deal with the emergency.

Ambassador Asadi emphasized the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach to the global fight against the pandemic. While recognizing the pivotal role of national policy and action in the fight against the virus and its spread, he underlined the paramount role of effective international assistance. He said there exists a wide range of sources that need to be tapped; bilateral and multilateral development agencies, commercial and foundation sources, non-governmental organizations and civil society actors. He cautioned, however, that the needed funds for the fight against AIDS should be made available in the form of increased grants and debt relief and not through diversion of the existing resources for development needs of the developing countries.

The G-77 Chairman also welcomed the decision of some of the major pharmaceutical companies to lower their prices for HIV/AIDS drugs. He added, however, that the prices are still far too high for most developing countries to afford.



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