19 June 2001


Secretariat Building to Project Red AIDS Ribbon
In Advance of Special Session

NEW YORK, 18 June (UN Headquarters) -- As a dramatic visual curtain raiser to the United Nations General Assembly special session on HIV/AIDS, on the nights of 23, 24, and 25 June, the Secretariat building will stand out against the New York skyline emblazoned with the red AIDS ribbon. If a picture is worth a thousand words, this symbolic gesture will send a strong message of United Nations commitment to the battle against HIV/AIDS and will focus international attention on the special session.

This historic project has been undertaken by the Department of Public Information and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and its seven co-sponsors, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations International Drug Control Programme, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank.

The AIDS ribbon will be formed by the temporary attachment of red plastic film to 550 designated windows on both the east and west sides of the Secretariat building. The materials have been provided by Alkit Digital Imaging of New York City, who have helped make this special project possible by offering concessionary prices to the Organization. United Nations staff volunteers will assist in setting up.

The resulting image is expected to be widely reproduced by the media, non-governmental organizations, and civil society all around the world. It will also be used on a special stamp issued early next year by the United Nations Postal Administration, as well as on other promotional materials.

There are several precedents for lighting the Secretariat building to commemorate special events. For example, "UN 2000" was spelled out in lights to usher in the new millennium. That project, as well as the current one, were designed and coordinated by Mark Camera of the Office of Central Support Services, Department of Management.

The picture will be taken at about 9.30 p.m. on Saturday night, 23 June. News media wishing to receive the image that night via e-mail should send an e-mail request to or Broadcasters wishing to receive a feed on Saturday night of a videotape that will be recorded at the same time as the photographs are being taken should contact Jim Ludlam at (212) 963-7650. Prints of the photo will be available on 25 June from the United Nations Photo Library, Department of Public Information, Room S-805 L, United Nations, New York, New York, 10017, telephone (212) 963-6927, fax (212)963-1658. The photo will also be available from the United Nations Internet Web site at

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