Norway urged to continue commitment to AIDS response
14 January 2011
Norway is a longstanding supporter of the AIDS response and has shown outstanding leadership on AIDS issues both domestically and abroad. Norway has been increasingly present in the African region, providing support on a range of HIV issues but perhaps most notably on HIV prevention.
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé met with key partners in Norway’s AIDS response to stress the importance of keeping AIDS at the very top of the health and development agenda.
On the first day of the two-day visit, Mr Sidibe met with Erik Solheim, Minister for the Environment and International Development to thank him personally for Norway’s leadership and support, and highlight the concrete results of collective investments in the AIDS response.
Bold actions and smart choices have saved lives. Commitment and investment in the AIDS response has helped to reduce new HIV infections by nearly 20% in the past 10 years and reduce AIDS-deaths by 20% in the past five years.
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé
“Bold actions and smart choices have saved lives,” said Mr Sidibé. “Commitment and investment in the AIDS response has helped to reduce new HIV infections by nearly 20% in the past 10 years and reduce AIDS-deaths by 20% in the past five years. With continued commitment we have an opportunity to build on these gains and save yet more lives.”
Minister Solheim echoed the importance of continued support to the AIDS response, “There have been made great achievements the last decade. But we must not be complacent. The fight is far from over.”
During the meeting the Minister told Mr Sidibé that Norway believes it is critical for the development agenda in Africa to support HIV programmes and announced that Norway will be increasing its annual contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis and Malaria by 20% in 2011, in acknowledgement of the importance of scaling-up resources for HIV.
For the first time in 2009, Norway dedicated 1% of its Gross National Income to Overseas Development AID and despite the current economic climate, has pledged to maintain this rate into 2011. It has also committed NOK 1.5 billion over 10 years to strengthen health systems in developing countries which will play an essential role in advancing the AIDS response.
On the second day of his visit Mr Sidibé will meet with Norwegian representatives at both the Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.