Statement by Mr. Katsuhiko Takahashi
Minister, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
Plenary Meeting of the 68th Session of the General Assembly
Agenda Item 10: Implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS
And the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS
6 June 2014
My delegation would like to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report A/68/825. My delegation would also like to thank the President of the General Assembly for giving us an opportunity to have a discussion on this agenda item with other Member States.
There are less than 600 days left to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Since the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS was adopted three years ago, steady progress has been made globally on several of its core goals which include reducing sexually transmitted HIV, eliminating HIV infection among newborns and infants, and reducing maternal deaths. However, the goal of universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS by 2010 was not achieved, and there remain other challenges such as the continued growth of the epidemic in several countries, including 16 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the continued lack of access to treatment for many children.
Discussions on the future Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Post-2015 Development Agenda are ongoing at the present. And there is no doubt that the fight against HIV/AIDS will remain a struggle that we must continue to contend with, even after 2015.
In his report, the Secretary-General described the many important synergies between the responses to HIV/AIDS on the one hand, and global efforts to eliminate extreme poverty, ensure Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and reduce inequalities on the other. My delegation totally agrees on this point.
In order to accelerate and enhance our efforts towards HIV/AIDS prevention, diagnosis, treatment and health management, it is necessary to implement comprehensive measures focusing not just on HIV/AIDS itself but the entire health system.
Under Japan’s national health programme, we have established an effective health and medical system by locating health care facilities nationwide, and cultivating medical specialists such as doctors, nurses and pharmacists. We have realized universal medical care insurance in order to enable everyone to have access to sufficient services. And we have strengthened our measures towards HIV/AIDS in addition to our basic health and medical systems. Through the aforementioned efforts, all people in Japan living with HIV have access to necessary health care services as part of UHC.
Next, my delegation would like to speak briefly about the issue of “equity” in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Lack of equitable access to life-saving HIV treatment, especially for women and children, needs to be dealt with. Human security provides a comprehensive approach that strengthens the protection and empowerment of people and communities in need. In this regard, Japan expects the UN organizations and the Member States to draw on this approach on the ground to fight against HIV/AIDS.
Prejudice and discrimination continue to exist against people living with HIV, and this stigma has been an obstacle in the path of our fight against HIV/AIDS. It is necessary for us to make every effort to eliminate prejudice and discrimination to those living with HIV, by the “people-centered approach” of human security.
To this end, my country contributed amounting to 1.86 billion USD by the end of 2013 to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for supporting HIV/AIDS response. Moreover, at the 4th voluntary replenishment conference of the Global Fund last December, Japan announced that it would contribute an additional 800 million USD to the Fund in the coming years starting from 2014.
Furthermore, at the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) which was held in Japan last year, prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS highlighted as an important sector-specific agenda in Japan’s assistance policy, and we are moving it forward in order to steadily implement the Yokohama Action Plan, which elaborates on the follow-up of the outcome to the TICAD V.
Japan believes that through realizing UHC and human security we can realize societies and communities where all people have full access to prevention, diagnosis, treatment and health care services for HIV/AIDS; where new HIV infections cease; and where we can live with the people living with HIV without prejudice and discrimination.
Finally, I would like to inform you that an event on UHC co-organized by the Governments of Japan, France and Thailand together with the WHO and the World Bank Group will be held at the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations beginning at 8:15 in the morning on 11 June. We hope that as many Member States as possible will participate in this event and will learn that UHC is achievable in all the countries. We also hope that we can discuss the importance of promoting UHC, particularly within the discussions of both the SDGs and the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
I thank you, Mr. President.