31 May 2006

General Assembly Holds Procedural Meeting in Advance of HIV/AIDS Review

NEW YORK, 30 May (UN Headquarters) -- In a decision adopted this morning without a vote, the General Assembly invited additional speakers to the high-level meeting and comprehensive review of the progress made since adoption of the 2001 Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS.  The three-day event will take place at Headquarters from Wednesday, 31 May, to Friday, 2 June.

Invited to participate in the plenary review on Thursday, 1 June, were rapporteurs of panel discussions to summarize the outcome of views expressed.  They were:  Wu Zunyou of the National Centre for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention of China; Sigrun Mogedal, HIV/AIDS Ambassador of Norway; Keesha Effs as a National Youth Ambassador for Positive Living of Jamaica; Omolou Falobi of Journalists against AIDS of Nigeria; and Raminta Stuikyte, Director of the Central and Eastern European Harm Reduction Network of Norway.

Invited to make statements at the opening of the high-level plenary meeting on Friday, 2 June, were Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, and Richard Feachem, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.  Invited to speak at the meeting itself were a representative of civil society, Khensani Mavasa, Deputy Chairperson of the Treatment Action Campaign of South Africa, and a representative of the private sector, William Harvey Roedy, President of the MTV Networks International and Chairman of the Global Media AIDS Initiative of the United Kingdom.

During the meeting this morning, General Assembly President Jan Eliasson of Sweden said that, to accommodate the participation of more than 140 speakers who desired to express their views on the urgent question, the meeting would be split into two parallel segments "of equal status".  The measure was exceptional and not meant to set a precedent for future meetings.

Cuba's representative said he regretted the high-level plenary session had not been allotted two days, as his country had proposed during the planning stages.  He hoped in the future the enormous interest shown by Member States on the issue would be taken into consideration when planning meetings.  Mr. Eliasson assured all those similarly concerned that discussions were under way on ways to avoid such exceptional measures in the future and asked for the understanding of Members States.

The Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. Wednesday, 31 May, when it will begin the high-level meeting and review of the Declaration on HIV/AIDS.

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