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Statement of Finland by H.E. Mr. Jouni Laaksonen Deputy Permanent Representative of Finland - Suomen pysyvä edustusto, YK : Ajankohtaista

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Puheet, 15.6.2016

Statement of Finland by H.E. Mr. Jouni Laaksonen on 2016 High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS,on the 10th of June 2016


Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honour and pleasure to address this distinguished High-Level Meeting.

This is a key moment in the global AIDS response. After more than three decades of efforts working against AIDS, we have a unique opportunity to fast-track the end of the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030, and to transform and advance global health in line with the 2030 Agenda. 

Ensuring the success of the Sustainable Development Goals, including ending AIDS, requires universal responsibility and a coherent approach to make sure that no one is left behind. In order to do so, our focus must remain strong. 

Finland fully endorses a human rights-based and gender-responsive approach, taking into account the needs and rights of the people most affected by the epidemic and at a higher risk of infection. We need an inclusive response that is strongly committed to the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, dignity and social justice.

 Addressing the epidemic among young women and adolescent girls, children, young men, migrants and key populations, including men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, sex workers, transgender people and prisoners, is an essential element in the global response. By ensuring equal access to high-quality combination prevention, testing and treatment free from discrimination and stigma, we can take an enormous step closer to ending the epidemic. In addition to being rights-based, this approach is cost-effective, and has been proven to work.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If the people most affected and most discriminated are left behind, we run the risk of
jeopardizing the end of the AIDS epidemic by 2030. Especially adolescent girls and youngwomen are currently being left behind and denied their full rights. 

Therefore, it is fundamental to reaffirm greater attention, commitment and action to ensure that all women and girls have the right and knowledge needed to make decisions concerning their own body, sexuality and reproductive health. This empowerment is crucial in order for all women and girls to be able to lead healthy lives and participate actively in society. We must invest in gender-transformative HIV programmes that also engage boys and men. This is particularly important when working with issues relating to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

 Another element of effective prevention is quality comprehensive sexuality education, which empowers young people by providing information and tools to make safe, healthy and educated decisions about their sexual and reproductive lives. Comprehensive sexuality education is also of importance in advancing tolerance, mutual respect and non-violence in relationships.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Universal health coverage can only be effectively provided by a resilient health system. Our experience is that access to comprehensive HIV and AIDS services incorporating prevention, treatment, care and support for all, promote a sustainable HIV response and a strong national health system.

Going forward, greater investment in advocacy, civil society and community-based services is essential for fast-tracking the HIV response. Equally, we must look closely at the inter-linkages between different sectors and work through partnerships that embrace relevant stakeholders. 

In a world of diverse and interlinked challenges, we need to share responsibility and contribute together to ending AIDS by 2030.

Thank you.


Päivitetty 15.6.2016

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