Item 1387 - Statement by Nelson Mandela to the Africa Development Forum 2000, Adddis Ababa, 3 December 2000

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ZA COM MR-S-1387


Statement by Nelson Mandela to the Africa Development Forum 2000, Adddis Ababa, 3 December 2000


  • 2000-12-03 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

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African Development Forum 2000 (ADF 2000) 'AIDS - The Greatest Leadership Challenge'.

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  • English

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This African Development Forum is an important initiative in the battle against AIDS. No effort should be spared to mobilise all the energies and resources of African leadership in this fight.

For let us not equivocate: a tragedy of unprecedented proportions is unfolding in Africa. AIDS today in Africa is claiming more lives than the sum total of all wars, famines and floods, and the ravages of such deadly diseases as malaria. It is devastating families and communities; overwhelming and depleting health care services; and robbing schools of both students and teachers.

Business has suffered losses of personnel, productivity and profits; economic growth is being undermined and scarce development resources have to be diverted to deal with the consequences of the pandemic.

HIV/AIDS is having a devastating impact on families, communities, societies and economies. Decades have been chopped from life expectancy and young child mortality is expected to more than double in the most severely affected countries of Africa. AIDS is clearly a disaster, effectively wiping out the development gains of the past decades and sabotaging the future.

Something must be done as a matter of the greatest urgency. And with nearly two decades of dealing with the epidemic, we now do have some experience of what works.

The experience in a number of countries has taught that HIV infection can be prevented through investing in information and life skills development for young people. Promoting abstinence, safe sex and the use of condoms and ensuring the early treatment of sexually transmitted diseases are some of the steps needed and about which there can be no dispute. Ensuring that people, especially the young, have access to voluntary and confidential HIV counselling and testing services and introducing measures to reduce mother-to-child transmission have been proven to be essential in the fight against AIDS. We have recognised the importance of addressing the stigmatisation and discrimination, and of providing safe and supportive environments for people affected by HIV/AIDS.

The challenge is to move from rhetoric to action, and action at an unprecedented intensity and scale. There is a need for us to focus on what we know works.

• We need to break the silence, banish stigma and discrimination, and ensure total inclusiveness within the struggle against AIDS;

• We need bold initiatives to prevent new infections among young people, and large-scale actions to prevent mother-to-child transmission, and at the same time we need to continue the international effort of searching for appropriate vaccines;

• We need to aggressively treat opportunistic infections; and

• We need to work with families and communities to care for children and young people to protect them from violence and abuse, and to ensure that they grow up in a safe and supportive environment.

For this there is need for us to be focussed, to be strategic, and to mobilise all of our resources and alliances, and to sustain the effort until this war is won.

We need, and there is increasing evidence of, African resolve to fight this war. Others will not save us if we do not primarily commit ourselves. The case than in the common fight against HIV/AIDS.

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Acquisition method: From hard drive ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation Prof J Gerwel. Accessioned on 01/02/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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