Secretary General visits UNAIDS, Geneva
20 November 2006
The United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan urged the international community to continue to “fight to bring the global AIDS epidemic under control” as he visited UNAIDS in Geneva on Monday 20 November.
“In a short quarter of a century, AIDS has drastically changed our world. At least 25 million people have died of it; almost 40 million live with HIV today. AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria make up the deadliest triad the world has known,” he said, on his final visit to the UNAIDS Secretariat in his capacity as United Nations Secretary General.
“But at the same time, there is more than ever reason for hope. We can see how much things have changed, how the world is joining forces,” he added.
During his term in office Kofi Annan has been a pioneer in the AIDS response calling it ‘a personal priority’. “Even as I leave the office of the Secretary General, I assure you I will continue to fight AIDS,” he said, as he officially inaugurated the new UNAIDS/WHO building which will house both the UNAIDS Secretariat and the HIV, TB and malaria departments from WHO.
UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot underlined the importance of the Secretary General’s contribution and commitment to the AIDS response. “ If the world is now increasing acting against AIDS it is in no small part because of the leadership of Secretary General Kofi Annan,” he said “I trust you will remain an AIDS activist as I know your commitment is a passion way beyond your duty as Secretary General,” he added.
During his visit to the new UNAIDS/WHO building – designed by Baumschlager and Eberle architechts – the Secretary General also met with several artists who’s work on and around AIDS is displayed around the new building. He then visited the UNAIDS conference room which is named after him in recognition of his exceptional contribution to the AIDS response.
“This house will not only bring UNAIDS and WHO closer together. It will also be a meeting place for ideas, a centre for dialogue, a forum bringing together people and organizations, in the UN and beyond, to strengthen the global response against AIDS, TB and malaria. In this way, the building will be a nerve centre in our mission to reach the Millennium Development Goals and build better lives for people in the 21 st century,” he said.
Also speaking at the opening of the UNAIDS/WHO building were H.E.Ms Gunilla Carlsson, Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation and Chair of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board; Dr Anders Nordström, Acting Director General of the World Health Organization, H.E Mr Blaise Godet, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva and Mr Mark Muller, State Councillor of Geneva (Conseiller d’Etat chargé du Département des constructions et des technologies d’information, Conseil d’Etat de la République et Canton de Genève).
Speech by UNAIDS Executive Director, Dr. Peter Piot (PDF, 30 Kb)
Speech by WHO Acting Director-General, Dr. Anders Nordström (PDF, 30 Kb)
Allocution by Ambassador Blaise Godet , Mission of Switzerland to the UNOG and other I.O. (PDF, 256 Kb), on the occasion of the UNAIDS HQ inauguration ceremony in Geneva on November 20, 2006