Musician Annie Lennox, Irish Prime Minister Speak at Conference About HIV/AIDS, Children Worldwide
Musician Annie Lennox on Monday in Dublin, Ireland, at a two-day forum on HIV/AIDS and children worldwide said that governments should meet aid pledges to support developing countries over the long-term, the Irish Times reports. Lennox said that governments are "notoriously bad at keeping their promises" but that "we must not walk away from the issues. Governments come and go, but poverty remains." She also said that the Irish government is doing a "fantastic" job addressing such issues and that citizens should do more to help people in need and development workers. "Anybody who has a laptop has a tool to connect," Lennox said, adding, "It's so powerful and it's international. We can really use the facilities that we have. We use them for social networking and really we can use them for advocacy and change" (O'Brien, Irish Times, 10/7). She also said that she would like to see "really long lasting social and political change" (Irish Examiner, 10/7).
The event at which Lennox spoke, called Together for Children, was part of the Fourth Global Partners Forum on Children Affected by HIV and AIDS. The forum aims to secure government commitments to promote health, education and welfare standards for children living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, the PA/Virgin Media reports. More than 1,000 children contract HIV daily, and 15 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS-related causes. Lennox said that her personal commitment to the cause is not "going to go away," adding that she has witnessed poverty and that "[w]e, on one side of the globe, have so much benefit and, on the other hand, when you actually witness [poverty] and look at the circumstances that people live in, it's almost beyond comprehension" (PA/Virgin Media, 10/6).
Also speaking at the conference, Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said the country's commitment to the "poorest and most vulnerable" people worldwide will continue, despite the current global economy, the Times reports. Cowen called Ireland's record on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals "impressive," adding that 900 million Euros -- or about $1.2 billion -- will be spent this year on international aid. UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman at the forum said, "Even though there has been progress in the global fight against HIV and AIDS, last year some 370,000 children were newly diagnosed with HIV. The rate of HIV infection among children is unacceptable and needs to be addressed by the global community as a matter of urgency." The forum is organized by Irish Aid and UNICEF. About 200 people from 42 countries are attending the forum and likely will issue a joint declaration on HIV/AIDS (Irish Times, 10/7).