International Crisis Group Releases Report on AIDS as a Security Issue
"AIDS is taking a toll as profound as any military confrontation around the globe, and it is a security threat to countries it assaults as well as their neighbors, partners and allies," a new report from the International Crisis Group states. The report, released yesterday and titled "HIV/AIDS as a Security Issue," says that AIDS can "no longer be understood or responded to as primarily a public health crisis," but must be considered a "threat to security." ICG, founded to "prevent and end conflict in and between nations," identified the following ways in which HIV/AIDS threatens security:
- Personal security: HIV/AIDS threatens to "wip[e] out" gains made in health, longevity and infant mortality. The disease also threatens to disrupt agricultural production and "exacerbat[e]" ethnic and social divisions.
- Economic security: The pandemic endangers social and economic progress by threatening to decrease gross domestic products in the worst afflicted nations by 1% annually.
- Communal security: HIV/AIDS "directly affects police capability and community stability" by "break[ing] down" civil institutions. The disease also "strikes hardest" among the educated -- civil servants, teachers, health care professionals and police.
- National security: HIV/AIDS threatens to leave nations "more vulnerable to both internal and external conflict" because of the high infection rate among the armed forces, which is up to five times the rate among the general population.
- International security: HIV/AIDS poses a double threat to international security through its "potential to contribute to international security challenges" and its "ability to undermine international capacity to resolve conflicts."
The report also makes recommendations to the international donor community, the United Nations, affected countries and the private sector. Some of the recommendations follow:
- International community: The report recommends that the international community support the proposed Global AIDS and Health Fund and "acknowledge" that the fund must be annually renewed for "at least a decade," calling on the United States to double its current global AIDS spending to $1 billion annually and asking the other G8 nations to double their current budgets as well.
- United Nations: The report recommends that the United Nations form a commission of former world leaders to implement the declaration for action that will be presented at next week's special session on HIV/AIDS and calls on the agency to give funding "priority" to nations with "integrated national AIDS strategies." The report calls on the Security Council to implement "comprehensive HIV prevention education for all peacekeeping troops" and asks the council to hold a review of all HIV/AIDS-related policies in January 2002, two years after it declared AIDS a security issue.
- Nations: The report asks affected nations to "direct all ministries ... to assess the impact of AIDS and develop plans of action" and calls on governments to have "specific and prioritized national AIDS strategies" prepared by Dec. 1. The report also asks nations to "dedicat[e]" 15% of their budgets to AIDS and public health.
- Private sector: The private sector is asked to "dramatically increase" the amount it dedicates to HIV/AIDS causes and the pharmaceutical industry is asked to "take all steps possible to increase access to essential drugs and antiretroviral therapies" (ICG report, 6/19).