Speeches

UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on HIV and AIDS, 8-10 June 2021 - Speech by Mr Wavel Ramkalawan, President of the Republic of Seychelles

10 June 2021 | Health

Excellencies,

The records of Seychelles in HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment and care are extremely good and they speak emphatically for themselves.  In the face of health and economic hardships, and in the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, we left no-one behind.

Seychelles has striven extremely hard, with fortitude and resolve, to honour its global, regional and national commitments, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the UNAIDS Strategy to end AIDS, the WHO Health Sector Strategy on HIV and our own assurances and pledges to our people.

I do not deny, nonetheless, that there is still a lot more for us to do. Today, I make further pledges on behalf of my country. We will continue to address the remaining legal and policy barriers. We will continue to meet the required financial commitments, providing resources and making investments where needed. We will continue to foster greater community empowerment. Above all else, we will continue to strengthen respect of human rights and ensure that HIV and AIDS services remain comprehensive and responsive to the needs of the people they serve and that access to such services remain free and unfettered in all state institutions.

This COVID-19 pandemic has shown the world just how fragile health gains are. Health gains secured after many years of hard work can erode quickly when availability of services, access to them and their continuity are at risk. Loss of livelihoods from COVID-19 negatively influences behaviour of survivors and the way people engage in HIV care.

Amid challenges, countries and leaders must rise to the occasion. We must find opportunities and inspire hope. We must innovate. Solutions do exist for both persisting and new challenges. We need to find them where they are and, here we are, finding them together.

Seychelles welcomes this new political declaration on HIV and AIDS because all its calls to action align seamlessly with our own national development vision, strategy and beliefs. We believe firmly in universal health coverage and integration. We believe in the power of data, science and innovation to bring us further forward. We believe in gender equality and empowerment of women as the best vehicle for nation building and progress. We believe in strengthening all our national structures and processes to eliminate the vestiges of stigma and discrimination that persist towards people infected with HIV.

There is need for global collaboration to end AIDS.  This is an ongoing struggle.  It is not over yet.  I call on all to make available resources and to the United Nations to provide technical support in this final leg of the race to end AIDS.

Where there is a will there is a way. Seychelles clearly has the will and this bold UN declaration is clearly showing us the way.  Seychelles supports it fully.

I thank you.

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