Panama City, February 19, 2016 - During a visit to Quito, Ecuador, César A. Núñez, UNAIDS Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean acknowledged the important role of the Andean country as a new member of UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB), especially in the lead-up to the High Level Meeting on Ending AIDS that will take place from 8 to 10 June 2016 in New York.
Ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 will require countries to take a Fast-Track approach over the next five years. To ensure that global efforts are accelerated during this short window, the President of the United Nations General Assembly is convening a High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS at the UN Headquarters. At this meeting, United Nations Member States will come together to agree on a new Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS.
Ending AIDS by 2030 is an integral part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were unanimously adopted by United Nations' Member States in 2015. Lessons learned from the HIV response will play an instrumental role in the success of many of the SDGs, notably SDG 3, good health and well-being, and the goals on gender equality and women's empowerment, reduced inequalities, global partnerships and just, peaceful and inclusive societies.
"I welcome Ecuador as the newly elected Rapporteur of the PCB. As a member of this board, Ecuador will have a leading role in the preparation of the High Level Meeting on AIDS, which will shape the future of the epidemic" UNAIDS Regional Director stated during the meetings held with key stakeholders from government, civil society and international partners.
In his meeting with the Coordinating Minister for Social Development, HE Cecilia Vaca Jones, Dr Núñez recognized the shared vision of social development based on human rights, where individuals are at the center of decisions and joint actions.
In the meeting with the Minister of Health, HE Margarita Guevara, UNAIDS Representative recognized the commitment of the country to the HIV response. "I congratulate Ecuador for their efforts to eliminate discrimination, such as the inclusive health strategy of the Ministry of Health. There are still challenges that need to be addressed, however I recognize the progress made towards the achievement of 90-90-90 targets" he stated. He also encouraged the country to take the final steps to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
UNAIDS Regional Director had the opportunity to meet with UN Resident Coordinator, Diego Zorrilla, and several other UN Representatives, to discuss the support of the UN to the implementation of the Fast Track approach, within a broader health and development response.
We are at a unique moment in history. Ensuring the success of the SDGs, including ending the AIDS epidemic, will require global solidarity and partnership, especially in times of diverse and demanding global challenges. "In Latin America and the Caribbean, strong leadership of cities and countries as well as a meaningful engagement of affected communities to accelerate efforts and achieve the Fast Track targets are critical to close the gaps and ensure no-one is left behind. The HLM will reinforce the momentum built in 2011 and secure regional commitment to change the course of the epidemic" UNAIDS Regional Director said.
During his visit to Ecuador, Dr. Núñez participated in the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) seminar "Convergences for a regional comprehensive and sustainable drug policy", chaired by the Secretary General of UNASUR, former President of Colombia, Ernesto Samper Pizano. The seminar aimed at discussing a regional drug policy, in preparation of the UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs in April 2016. The Regional Director highlighted UNAIDS' approach to the world drug problem, based on human rights and public health.
UNAIDS Office for Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru
UNAIDS Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero aids related deaths. UNAIDS brings together efforts of 11 United Nations organizations (UNICEF,WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, UNHCR, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank) and works closely with global and national partners to maximize the response results.