U.N. General Assembly Annual Meeting Focuses on U.S.-Iraq Conflict Instead of Africa, HIV/AIDS
The United Nations General Assembly annual meeting, which ended Friday, focused primarily on the conflict between the United States and Iraq, "overshadow[ing]" the group's "much-lauded plans" to discuss the HIV/AIDS epidemic, African development and education, the Associated Press reports. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan opened "Africa Day" with a call for increased action to fight HIV/AIDS, more education for girls and support for the New Partnership for Africa's Development. However, following the meeting on the subject, Annan announced the receipt of the letter from Iraq accepting U.N. weapons inspectors, and the focus of the meeting shifted to Iraq. Although some African officials took the shift "in stride," others criticized the "marginalization of issues that are matters of survival to millions of poor people." Jo Marie Griesgraber of Oxfam America said, "Africa and girls and HIV/AIDS are always (treated as) less important than everything else." She added that people in the United States, included those in Congress, need to "deman[d]" attention to African issues, such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Kathleen Cravero, UNAIDS deputy director, said that Annan has done "everything possible" to draw international attention to the HIV/AIDS crisis. She added that UNAIDS hopes to have an entire day devoted to HIV/AIDS at next year's General Assembly meeting (Borst, Associated Press, 9/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.