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21 September 2010 - MDG Summit - Side event by the Global Fund: "The Champions of Global Health" - Speech by Mr. Bernard Kouchner, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs

(Unofficial translation)

Mr. Secretary-General,

Mr. President,

Ministers,

Agency Heads,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


At the end of the 1990s, in the countries in the South, getting AIDS meant being condemned to death. The very idea of providing treatment that would allow AIDS victims, wherever they might be, to survive was impossible. Treating those affected was impossible.

As you know, France led the way in this struggle by implementing the first International Therapeutic Solidarity Fund in 1998. This was proof that access to treatments for the three pandemics, AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis was not only a moral duty, but also an achievable objective.

The Global Fund, a tool that was ground-breaking due its ambitions and the way it operated was created in 2002. There were only a few of us, including your predecessor, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, who believed in it. Don’t forget, the others didn’t believe in it, they said "it’s impossible" and more or less "you don’t have the right." When you’re told that you don’t have the right to do something then that’s another reason to do it.

What has happened in 8 years? Large-scale prevention, treatment and healthcare programs to combat the 3 diseases have been implemented in 144 countries. The Global Fund has devoted more than $20 billion to them. More than 5 million lives have thus been saved and almost 3 million people infected with HIV/AIDS have been treated. Who would have thought ten years ago that we would achieve such results?

One of the main obstacles to the treatment was the cost of the medications, which were out of reach to 90 % of those affected. This situation was quite simply unacceptable. There again, France’s action was decisive, with the creation of UNITAID, a payment facility aimed at reducing the cost of medications.

Today, France is strengthening its commitment to the Global Fund. We are the 2nd leading donor in the world and have been since its creation. In a few days time, Mr. Secretary-General, you will chair the Global Fund Replenishment Conference (2011-2013). France will be a loyal supporter of this event: President Sarkozy announced yesterday in his speech at the Summit on the Millennium Development Goals that our country will increase its contribution to 20%, thus increasing it from €900 to €1.08 billion for the period 2011-2013.

Dear Mr. Secretary-General, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We all agreed to a major effort over the last few years, but, as we know, there is still much to be done. Working together is the only way to really achieve the objectives that we jointly set ourselves in 2000 with respect to fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

We therefore urge all of our partners to renew their efforts alongside the Global Fund. The recipient countries, by strengthening their healthcare systems. Providing funds to combat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria must at the same time be accompanied by the strengthening of the healthcare and health insurance systems. By strengthening the health insurance systems we will be able to treat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria more effectively. That’s not contradictory it’s complementary. The countries must devote the necessary resources in accordance with the Abuja commitments (15% of States’ budgets for healthcare expenditure). The traditional donor countries, by maintaining or increasing their financial effort, despite the budgetary constraints that we are all aware of. Lastly, the emerging countries, which are now making a significant contribution to world growth, must assume their full responsibility in the joint efforts to achieve the MDGs.

I would like to say one last word regarding innovative financing. All of our public effort will not be enough. Of course, we have to make the recipient countries understand, the African countries in particular, that what we want to achieve through innovative financing will be in addition to the public effort and will not take away from it. We held a conference with almost all of the African countries; they believed that innovative financing would allow us to withdraw our public effort. Not at all, it’s complementary financing that we need.

France has worked alongside a group consisting of 60 countries. It’s a small contribution, a very small contribution: 0.005% on financial transactions that will allow us to collect tens of billions of dollars or euros, enough to continue the work.

Mr. Secretary-General, I pay tribute to your commitment to world health and in particular to the health of women and children. You can count on France’s full support.

Thank you.



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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU