Delivered by: Mr. Siphelele W. Dludlu, Counsellor on behalf of His Excellency,
Melusi M. Masuku, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Permit me at the outset to express my delegation’s gratitude at the initiative taken to host the annual review on the implementation of the 2016 Declaration of Commitment on Ending AIDS. As this is the midway point in attaining the 2020 Fast-Track targets, it provides us all with an opportunity to assess our progress, relative to our targets and to also learn from and appreciate each other’s efforts to this end.
On behalf of the delegation of the Kingdom of Eswatini, I would like to begin by expressing my Country’s appreciation at the actions that have been undertaken by UNAIDS in mobilizing political commitment at the very highest levels and in engaging the global community, in particular, the donors, who rallied around the 2016 Declaration of Commitment on Ending AIDS by 2030. The work achieved in this regard is laudable indeed.
The results that have been achieved in the AIDS response in Africa, have been extraordinary. These are attributed to a number of factors. These include the dynamic leadership shown by UNAIDS allied to political will and leadership from States that has effectively coordinated and driven the global Fast-Track response to date.
The Kingdom of Eswatini remains highly committed to ending AIDS in our Country by 2022. This is eight years ahead of the schedule as set in the global goal. Through the leadership of His Majesty, King Mswati III, the country is on track to achieve this goal. In 1999, His Majesty declared HIV/AIDS an emergency in the Kingdom and channeled the necessary resources towards combating this scourge. This contributed to halving the new infections, notably, over the last 5 years from 2.8% in 2011 to 1.36% in 2016 – a 44% reduction in new infections, a significant drop in AIDS related deaths from 4767 in 2010 to 3315 in 2015 and 3178 in 2018 and resulted in Eswatini being one of a few to have achieved viral suppression of 91.9% amongst those people who are on antiretroviral treatment.
In conclusion Mr. President, I would like to take the opportunity to renew the Kingdom’s commitment of the Kingdom of Eswatini in strengthening efforts in attaining the Fast Track AIDS response to meet the 2020 prevention target and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.