Address by Deputy Permanent Representative Michael Grant delivering the Canadian Statement on AIDS to the UN General Assembly

Canada joined the consensus [committed to the 2016 UN Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS] and supports the Political Declaration, but let’s be clear: we must go beyond. That is Canada’s intention.

For us, the success of the implementation of the Political Declaration depends on three key elements.

First, we must accelerate access to high-impact HIV prevention, testing and treatment services in high-burden countries.

Too many people don’t have access to treatment or are unaware of their HIV status.

That is why Canada, along with many other countries, has endorsed the Fast-Track Initiative of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), which calls for ambitious treatment targets to be achieved by 2020.

Second, we must prioritize the needs of key vulnerable populations, in particular.

We need comprehensive, evidence-based prevention programs and services to reduce HIV infections among key populations. We also need to engage them in the implementation process, especially at the local level.

Young women and girls are also particularly vulnerable to HIV transmission. In high-burden countries such as South Africa and Nigeria, girls account for more than 80 percent of all new HIV infections among adolescents. This cannot go on.

We need to work with all partners to:

  • reach women and girls with comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and education;
  • take meaningful steps to prevent and end domestic violence and abuse; and
  • involve boys and men.

It is also very important to recognize the vulnerability of Indigenous populations around the world. Their needs are often unique and must be addressed.

Canada also recognizes and protects the legal rights of the LGBTQ [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning] community to live free from discrimination, hate propaganda and hate crimes.

Similarly, Canada’s approach to injection drug use at home and globally includes prevention, compassionate treatment and evidence-based harm-reduction approaches.

In these efforts we must ensure the active engagement and participation of civil society, local governments and their communities.

Third, we must innovate now and over the long term to make treatment cheaper and more effective and to find a cure for HIV/AIDS.

This means investing in research and development, in science and new technologies, to decrease costs and increase access to treatment not just for AIDS, but also for tuberculosis and malaria, the two main causes of death for people living with AIDS.

I would like to acknowledge the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for its extraordinary contributions in this area.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is another excellent example of innovation.

I want to commend the Global Fund-implementing countries for investing in strengthening their health systems, improving governance and reducing the rate of disease.

I also want to recognize the Global Fund’s leading private sector contributor, (RED), which has raised over $350 million for AIDS programs in Africa from the sale of (RED)-branded products and services through iconic world brands, such as Apple, Coca-Cola and Starbucks.

Canada recently announced a 20-percent increase in its Global Fund contribution, for a total of $785 million for the period 2017 to 2019.

We are also proud to be hosting the Global Fund Replenishment Conference this September.

I invite you to support this effort and look forward to seeing many of you in Montréal for the replenishment.

This will be a big year for the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Canada will be there, and we will do our part to implement the Political Declaration, and to do even more to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic for good.

Thank you.


Source: Government Of Canada