Former President Clinton Joins World Leaders in
Strategy Session to Combat AIDS

-- Unprecedented Participation by Heads of State
in
International AIDS Conference --



Barcelona, Spain – July 12, 2002 – For the first time, a group of political leaders from around the world demonstrated the high priority they place on the role of government in fighting HIV/AIDS by participating in the 2002 International Conference on AIDS. This group of world leaders, including former U.S. President William Jefferson Clinton, conducted a town hall meeting on Thursday evening to outline leadership strategies needed to translate the commitment to the fight against AIDS into measurable progress toward global goals. The meeting was sponsored by the International AIDS Trust and UNAIDS.

“In countries that have achieved real results, the head of state has made it a priority to educate the public about AIDS and to create a framework for a partnership between government, non-governmental organizations, affected communities, and donors,” stated Clinton. “Committed leadership is vital to shaping an effective national and international response to AIDS."

The United Nations Declaration of Commitment on AIDS, signed in 2001, identified the goals for collective action in the global battle against AIDS and highlighted leadership as essential to achieving those goals. Former President Clinton was accompanied in the discussion by current and former heads of state from donor nations and regions that are keenly affected by the pandemic, including:

Kim Campbell, former prime minister, Canada
Pascoal Mocumbi, prime minister of Mozambique
Denzil L. Douglas, prime minister, St. Kitts (representing the Caribbean)
Inder Kumar Gujral, former prime minister, India
Paul Kagame, president, Rwanda
Ali Hassan Mwinyi, former president, Tanzania
Jorge Sampaio, president, Portugal

“While we need champions at all levels of society, we cannot have real movement against this pandemic without someone at the top making it a national priority,” said Sandra Thurman, president of the International AIDS Trust. “We hope that today’s event will create the foundation for an ongoing and expanding network of global leaders.”

Keeping AIDS at the Top of the Agenda included facilitated dialogue between the world leaders and testimonials from people living with AIDS. Leadership activities will continue to be fully integrated into future International AIDS conferences, beginning at the next conference in two years in Thailand, where progress on demonstrated leadership, and movement toward the 2005 UN Declaration of commitment on HIV/AIDS goals, can be assessed.

The International AIDS Trust was established to create strategic opportunities for galvanizing leadership, mobilizing resources, and promoting effective interventions in the global battle against AIDS. The International AIDS Trust is a single-focused NGO with both long-range vision and rapid response capability. For more information, visit the web site www.internationalaidstrust.org.

As the main advocate for global action on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS leads, strengthens and supports an expanded response aimed at preventing the transmission of HIV, providing care and support, reducing the vulnerability of individuals and communities to HIV/AIDS, and alleviating the impact of the epidemic. For more information, visit the web site www.unaids.org.