29 May 2006

Background Release

World Leaders to Assess Progress on AIDS Response, in New York on 31 May - 2 June

NEW YORK, 26 May (UN Headquarters) -- The 2006 High-Level Meeting on AIDS to assess the international response to the epidemic will take place at United Nations Headquarters from 31 May to 2 June. More than a dozen Heads of State and Government, and over 100 ministers are expected to attend, as well as more than a thousand representatives of civil society and the private sector.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan will present a report on progress achieved in realizing the targets agreed by Member States in the historic Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, adopted in 2001 at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS.

The meeting will also identify common challenges to scaling up and sustaining national AIDS responses.  Member States will consider recommendations on how to scale up HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, with the aim of coming as close as possible to the goal of universal access to treatment by 2010 for all those who need it.

Almost 800 civil society groups have been granted special accreditation to the meeting, an unprecedented number for such a gathering, and many more are expected to attend as part of organizations already accredited to the United Nations, or as part of national delegations.  A hearing will be held to provide an opportunity for civil society to exchange views with Member States.

For the first time, a person living with HIV will address the General Assembly plenary.  Other speakers include the President of the General Assembly, Jan Eliasson; United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan; and the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Peter Piot.

The 2006 High-Level Meeting on AIDS will feature a series of panel discussions, as well as round tables on a range of critical topics, including financing a scaled-up AIDS response and overcoming stigma and discrimination.  Building on these discussions, a political declaration will be adopted at the close of the meeting on 2 June.

An "Evening of Remembrance and Hope: Uniting the World Against AIDS" will take place 1 June in the General Assembly Hall.  The event will remember the 25 years of AIDS and the heroes who have shaped the AIDS response.  The Secretary-General, the President of the General Assembly and the Executive Director of UNAIDS will take part.  Speakers include Noerine Kaleeba, Naomi Watts, Iryna Borisheck, Mary Fisher and Whoopi Goldberg.  The event will also include performances by Wyclef Jean, Salman Ahmad, the African Children's Choir and Angelique Kidjo.  A photo opportunity and press conference have been tentatively scheduled to precede the event.

For more information on the 2006 High Level Meeting on AIDS, see: or .

Media Accreditation

Journalists interested in attending the High Level Meeting on AIDS must be accredited to the United Nations. For information on accreditation, please visit .

Media Centre

A media centre will be available for journalists during the High-level Meeting on AIDS at the United Nations. The room will be equipped with Wi-Fi Internet service. A limited number of computers and printers will also be available. There will be television monitors carrying live proceedings on closed-circuit television.

Media Contacts

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