My dear colleagues Ambassadors,
Mrs. Alicia Barcena Ibarra, Chef de Cabinet of the Secretary-General,
Mr. Shashi Tharoor, Under-Secretary-General for Communication and Public Information,
Mrs. Ann Veneman, Executive Director of UNICEF,
Ms. Sylvia Fuhrman, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations International School (UNIS)
Ms. Sheila Sisulu, Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Programme,
Dr. Carlos Passarelli, Deputy Director of the Brazilian SDT/AIDS Programme,
Mr. Bunmi Makinwa, Director of the UNAIDS New York Office,
Mrs. Jacqueline Sharpe, President of the International Planned Parenthood Federation,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
[I would like to acknowledge Representative Carolyn Maloney, US Congresswoman from the Fourteenth District]
I wish to thank you all for attending the opening reception for "Drawing It Out": 1st International HIV/AIDS Cartoon Exhibition.
I feel that this is a special day, as we gather to open this ceremony. Today the "World AIDS Day" is celebrated. The 1 December each year is a reminder of the challenges posed by HIV/AIDS. Everyone present in this hall has given contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS, but we must acknowledge that the pandemic continue to elude us. As part of the priority attached by my country to the fight against HIV/AIDS and the need to inject momentum to international efforts, Brazil, jointly with Chile, France, Norway and United Kingdom, with the participation of President Bill Clinton, recently launched the International Drug Purchase Facility – UNITAID, based on innovative financing funding aimed at scaling up access to diagnostics kits and treatment against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis for the poorest people in developing countries. We hope this initiative will make a difference in promoting universal access to medicines.
As part of today's celebrations, this exhibition has a very special significance. In addressing a sensitive, serious issue such as the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the cartoonists made use of humor to disseminate fundamental messages to the public: access to treatment, care and support; repudiation of stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS; and prevention. There is no better place to spread those messages than the United Nations.
I am particularly grateful to the Ministry of Health of Brazil, the UNAIDS and the International Planned Parenthood Federation for making this exhibition possible. I would like also to thank the Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, trough the Department of Public Information, for kindly supporting this exhibition.
I wish now to introduce the first speaker of this evening. Ms. Sheila Sisulu is the Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Programme, one of the sponsors of UNAIDS. One of her main responsibilities is bringing food to families affected by HIV/AIDS, victims of natural disasters and conflict, as well as to other vulnerable groups. As a former Ambassador and politician in South Africa, Ms. Sisulo has a history in raising awareness to the most important social issues in her own country, as well as worldwide.
I now give the floor to Ms. Sisulu.
[Mrs. Sisulu speaking]
I wish to thank Mrs. Sisulu for her speech.
Let me now introduce Dr. Carlos Passarelli, the Deputy Director of the Brazilian AIDS Program and Director of the International Center for Technical Cooperation on HIV/AIDS. Besides his current position at the Ministry of Health of Brazil, Dr. Passarelli has extensive experience working closely with civil society, in particular nongovernmental organizations, on health issues. He is also the author of several scientific publications in areas such as AIDS and development, access to treatment, intellectual property rights and public health, AIDS in the media, and the role of civil society in the Brazilian health system. I now give the floor to Dr. Carlos Passarelli.
[Dr. Passarelli speaking]
I thank Dr. Passarelli for his speech.
I have the pleasure to introduce Mrs. Jacqueline Sharpe, President of the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Mrs. Sharpe has also a very important field experience as a practising physician and the Director of the Child Guidance Clinic of Trinidad and Tobago, a multidisciplinary psychiatric service for children, adolescents and their families. She is deeply committed to the issues of child and adolescent mental health and to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Mrs. Sharpe, you have the floor.
[Mrs. Sharpe speaking]
I thank Mrs. Sharpe for her speech.
I would once again like to thank you all for coming to this exhibition and I invite everyone to enjoy the cartoons.