UNAIDS and Principality of Monaco commit to strengthened cooperation in AIDS response
29 May 2009
Strengthened cooperation between UNAIDS and Monaco was the aim of Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, on his first official visit to the Principality.
Mr Sidibé met with representatives of the government and civil society and had a private audience with His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco and his sister, Her Serene Highness Princess Stéphanie of Monaco.
This visit was an opportunity to renew the existing funding agreement between UNAIDS and Monaco for another two years until 2011. Mr Sidibé met with senior government officials including Mireille Pettiti, Directeur Général, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Monaco and Mr Frédéric Platini, Director of the International Cooperation Directorate of Monaco.
Cooperation between UNAIDS and Monaco has grown in recent years as has the country’s financial contribution to AIDS response in priority countries including Madagascar and Burundi. The role played by Her Serene Highness Princess Stéphanie as Goodwill Ambassador for UNAIDS has also reinforced this partnership.
In his audience with the Prince Albert and Princess Stéphanie, his first in his role as UNAIDS Executive Director, Mr Sidibé emphasized the importance of their respective leadership in environmental protection and the response to the AIDS epidemic. Although Monaco is a country small in size, through their worldwide advocacy outreach, the leadership of the Prince and the Princess reach beyond its borders.
The Executive Director’s visit included a meeting with the association “Fight AIDS Monaco” of which HSH Princess Stéphanie is the founder and president. She introduced Mr Sidibé to the Board members as well as some of its members. Mr Sidibé emphasized the importance of having people living with HIV at the centre of the initiative in order to carry forward the movement they have created. He also explained the necessity of implementing the principle of greater involvement of people living with HIV, or GIPA.
Princess Stéphanie has been working with UNAIDS since 2006, focusing on HIV prevention and raising awareness on the negative impact of discrimination against people living with HIV. Through her personal engagement and work, she has become an important role model and significant UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador.
The princess represented Monaco at the High Level Meeting on AIDS in New York in June 2006 where she expressed her personal commitment to the AIDS response.
She has twice visited Madagascar in 2007 and 2008 in order to raise awareness around HIV-related stigma and to support the local authorities and associations actively engaged in the AIDS response in their country. In 2008 HSH Princess Stéphanie renewed her commitment as UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for another two years.
The press conference which closed the visit was an opportunity to raise visibility for Monaco’s activities at national and international level with regard to HIV and show a strong sign of renewed commitment towards UNAIDS and the response to the epidemic.