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Statement delivered by the Hon. Mario Giro, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy, at the Plenary Session of the General Assembly High-level meeting on HIV/AIDS

Mr President,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honoured to address this High-Level Meeting on behalf of Italy. While Italy fully aligns itself with the statement of the European Union, I would like to share with you some additional thoughts.

The global campaign against HIV-AIDS has made great progress, but we all know it’s not over yet.

As in all campaigns the “final stretch” is always the most difficult one to pursue. And we cannot lose our focus now, with the momentum offered to us by the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.

We should remain anchored to Goal 3 (ensuring healthy lives and wellbeing), but our work in HIV/AIDS is virtually interlinked with so many other Goals.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Fighting HIV-AIDS remains a key priority for Italy, whether within our national borders or working with our development partners.

Italy has been a strong supporter of the UN’s work, particularly in the context of the Global Fund, playing a major role in its creation at the G8 summit in Genoa in 2001. We have returned among its main supporters since 2014. I can announce here that we will increase our contribution by an additional 30% as requested by the Global Fund.

Mr. President,

Italy appreciates the fast track approach, envisaged in the Political Declaration, working to build resilient and sustainable health systems, on reducing barriers towards universal health coverage, especially for women, and on girls education, recognizing the impact of education on health.

Looking at prevention and treatment in a more integrated manner is another key element of our strategy. Central to this idea is a greater level of investment in human capital, building skills and capacity, which must go hand in hand with access to medicine.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We are closer than ever on the path towards our goal, but there are still too many highly vulnerable, marginalized and neglected populations that we cannot afford to leave behind in every country, whether developing, in transition or developed.

Italy also recognizes the seriousness of the shortage and stock-outs of medicines especially for those who are most fragile. Broken supply chains, lack or insufficient control by civil society, poor indicators and unsatisfactory emergency response mechanisms are all issues to be addressed with additional emphasis.

New and innovative approaches are needed to target key populations and other categories at risk such as refugees, migrants, detainees and sex workers. This, on top of the crucial importance of promoting the human rights of people living with HIV, because the protection and promotion of human rights and of inclusive societies has a positive impact on preventing the spreads of HIV and on mitigating its social and economic consequences.

Adolescent girls and young women remain at risk. Insufficient access to treatment and to education, health services, on top of food insecurity and violence, are some of the reasons of increased risks.

Finally, building on the spirit of the III Conference on the Financing of Development in Addis Ababa (July 2015), we must continue to encourage stronger global and local alliances of governments, regulators, industry, civil society, local communities, research institutes, and let’s not forget patients’ associations, to promote innovative finance mechanisms and the rise of new donors, both public and private. We have experienced that a community-based strategy is the most effective for both treatment and care.

These and other issues were at the heart of an Event Italy has organized here, on the side of this meeting, with the collaboration of many partners and friends committed to ending HIV-AIDS in Africa.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

These are just some of the reasons why we fully support the Political Declaration adopted at this meeting, which we believe will help to achieve our common ambition in ending HIV/AIDS.

Thank you.