Resolution adopted by consensus by the 106th Inter-Parliamentary Conference
(Ouagadougou, 14 September 2001)

The 106th Inter-Parliamentary Conference,

Recalling its previous resolutions on the subject of HIV/AIDS, drawing attention to World Health Assembly resolution 54/10 of 21 May 2001 entitled "Scaling up the response to HIV/AIDS", and referring to the "Handbook for Legislators on HIV/AIDS, Law and Human Rights", published in autumn 1999 thanks to the close cooperation between the IPU and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS),

Deeply concerned about the devastating health, economic and social impact of HIV/AIDS, given that 95% of all persons with HIV live in developing countries and that almost 5.3 million new cases of infection were recorded in 2000, an increasing number of which concern women, and especially young women,

Convinced that public eeducation is an essential factor in the prevention of infection as a long-term solution to pandemics,

Alarmed by the connection between HIV infection and economic and political instability, especially in the light of the following:

(a) The World Health Organization (WHO) anticipates that in southern Africa, rather than increasing, average life expectancy will decrease to 43 years over the next decade, a drop of 17 years,

(b) AIDS has generated a grave crisis which has a profound impact on societies and their development, causing the breakdown of the family nucleus, leaving millions of children orphaned (there are estimated to be around 9 million "AIDS orphans" worldwide) and depriving growing sections of the population of their livelihood,

(c) Health systems in the developing countries are already stretched to the limit and are unable to cope with AIDS and the infectious diseases with which it is associated,

(d) The close link between AIDS and poverty makes it imperative that poverty reduction be an integral part of reducing vulnerability to HIV and reducing the impact of AIDS,

(e) Infectious diseases also deplete the labour force, delay economic development and increase poverty in developing countries, and have an extremely serious effect on economic and social development,

Observing that AIDS is behind the spread of other infectious diseases, such as malaria and tuberculosis, and that mortality rates for these diseases are rising,

Considering that malaria is also spreading independently of AIDS, due to the fact that pathogens are becoming increasingly drug-resistant, the disease carriers have developed a resistance to many insecticides, and global warming favours the appearance of the disease in countries hitherto spared,

Recognising the contribution of Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers, of volunteers provided by other agencies, community organisations and associations of persons living with AIDS to turning back the tide of AIDS, and recalling the IPU's commitment to support and strengthen the volunteer movement, as outlined in the resolution of the 105th IPU Conference in Havana,

Considering that although the use of anti-retroviral combination therapies can successfully delay the progression of HIV infection for many years and that these medicines have already reduced the AIDS mortality rate in Europe and the USA by 75 per cent, millions of infected persons, especially in Africa, cannot afford these treatments,

Taking into consideration the fact that under Article 31 of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement), countries may pass national legislation allowing the use, under certain precisely defined circumstances, of a patented product without the authorisation of the rights holder,

Deeply concerned that the pharmaceutical industry generally invests very little in researching and developing new medicines against tropical diseases (between 1975 and 1997, for example, 1,223 new medicines were put on the market, yet only 13 of them were designed to treat tropical diseases),

Reaffirming the principles set out in the Global Strategy Framework for HIV/AIDS endorsed by the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board and the World AIDS Strategy adopted by the WHO and endorsed by the UN General Assembly, the main goals of which are preventing HIV infection, reducing the effects of infection on individuals and society, and mobilising and pooling national and international efforts to combat AIDS,

Recognising the urgent need for a coordinated and sustained response to the epidemic,

Convinced of the need to work on a global scale to ensure that despite overstretched public budgets, no effort is spared to reduce, as far as possible, the number of new infections,

  1. Calls on all parliamentarians to step up their efforts to establish effective national and international AIDS policies and programmes which are specifically tailored to the needs of the various target groups, and to take account of gender issues and cultural and religious sensitivities. These policies should include prevention measures such as public information, education and support for behaviour change, including the use of condoms, measures to counter discrimination and the provision of care and support to affected persons, including orphans;

  2. Urges the international community to complement and supplement efforts of developing countries that commit a larger portion of national funds to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic, through increased international development assistance and projects focusing on human and material resources, particularly physicians and health professionals, and on medical equipment;

  3. Calls on the countries represented at the Union to strengthen partnerships and cooperation with regard to the exchange of experience and best practices and the transfer of relevant environmentally friendly technologies for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, and to take the necessary steps to implement the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS "Global Crisis - Global Action" adopted at the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS in June 2001;

  4. Urges the pharmaceutical industry to reduce the prices of medicines, above all in the developing countries, to waive its monopoly on production and marketing as part of a re-negotiation of the TRIPS Agreement on intellectual property, and to participate directly in the financing of measures to combat AIDS and contribute to the funding of research, especially into the development of vaccines;

  5. Calls on States, pharmaceutical companies and the scientific community to give greater priority to researching the diseases which are prevalent in developing countries, in particular HIV/AIDS, which, despite its dramatic consequences, receives only 0.5 per cent of health budgets, and urges governments to launch joint vaccine research programmes on HIV/AIDS, malaria and other infectious diseases, and earmark additional funding for existing programmes;

  6. Reminds the governments of the African countries of their obligation to draw on the positive experiences gained in the development of confidential voluntary counselling and testing as preventive measures by persuading relevant persons in associations and religious and cultural organisations of the need for cooperation, and to allocate at least 15 per cent of national budgets to health and education, in accordance with the decisions of the OAU Abuja Summit of April 2001;

  7. Calls on all governments to give human rights precedence over trade rights, to incorporate them into trade rules, and to take account of human rights standards in the WTO TRIPS Agreement, and urges them to ensure the protection of human rights by drawing on the "UN Guidelines on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights", and on the ILO "Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work";

  8. Urges all States to ensure access to health services and affordable drugs, and to education and social services for HIV-infected children, and invites them to give special attention to children whose parents have died of AIDS and to take initiatives to prevent them from being stigmatised;

  9. Calls for special attention to be given to the prevention of HIV, particularly with regard to mother-to-child transmission and victims of rape, including informed consent and voluntary and confidential testing, counselling and treatment, by ensuring access to care and improving the quality and availability of affordable drugs and diagnostics, especially anti-retroviral therapies, and by building on existing efforts, with special attention to breastfeeding;

  10. Urges governments to grant due recognition and support to the "International Partnership against AIDS in Africa" as a framework for action against AIDS in Africa, as well as to the Global Fund against AIDS, launched by the United Nations Secretary-General during the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS in June 2001;

  11. Invites governments and all other concerned parties to make better use of modern information and communication technologies with a view to establishing a global network of information resources on HIV/AIDS and on experience accumulated in combating this pandemic.

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