First, let me express my appreciation to the Senate of the Philippines and to the Inter-Parliamentary Union who have made this meeting a reality. It is the first time ever that Parliamentarians from all over the world have come together to discuss the challenges of HIV.
Over the past eight years, since the first meeting in Honduras, CONCASIDA has created a unique forum for Central American countries to come together, share knowledge and develop AIDS strategies. CONCASIDA is much more than a meeting: it’s a real driving force. That’s why I’m so pleased to be here today.
It’s a real pleasure to be back here. This is the third time I’ve spoken here at the Woodrow Wilson Center. I’ve spent a lot of time in Washington over the years, and this has been always an important stop. The research and the activism at the Woodrow Wilson Center are really crucial for our campaign to fight AIDS.
It is an honour to be here with you in Kigali today, and to have this opportunity to speak on behalf of the World Bank, the World Health Organisation, UNICEF – all the co-sponsors of UNAIDS and of this meeting.
Seven years ago, many of us met here in Durban at the 2000 International AIDS Conference. That conference marked a watershed in the global response to the epidemic because, for the first time, it was possible to discuss developing country access to anti-retroviral treatment and a global movement was initiated.