Delivered by Mr. Gyan Chandra Acharya, under-secretary-general and high representative for the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing states]

I am pleased to send greetings to all participants at this important event. I thank Bangladesh, Benin, the Netherlands and Sweden for organising it.

I congratulate Member States for adopting an ambitious and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This is a plan of action for or planet and all people. We have collectively committed ourselves to furthering sustainable development by eradicating poverty, protecting our planet and achieving a life of dignity for all.

With the SDGs, our pledge is not only to finish the work we started with the MDGs but to embrace a truly ambitious agenda to eradicate hunger, poverty, and preventable child deaths. Such is the level of ambition of the new agenda.

But ambition alone is not enough. Words, however noble, need to become deeds. Implementation will be the litmus test of the new agenda.

Nowhere will this be more important than in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), where challenges are greatest. After many years of stagnation and low growth, LDCs are now achieving encouraging economic progress with some signs of structural transformation. The new agenda provides the opportunity to build on this encouraging signs to pursue sustainable development.

I urge you to keep the political momentum alive so that we can translate words into action. We must rally international solidarity and a stronger global partnership for development, mobilizing civil society, the private sector and others.   It will be essential to engage in the High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development – the central review platform for the agenda – to keep the focus on implementation. 

Inspired by their adoption, let us pledge to realise all the SDGs, and usher in a life of dignity for all.

For more about United Nations, refer to

 Human Rights and the HIV Response -  Eastern and Southern Africa

A rapid assessment of human rights violations in the context of HIV, in the Eastern and Southern Africa region, and a review of current approaches to protecting and promoting human rights for an effective HIV response.

Key populations, specifically people who sell sex (PWSS), people who inject drugs (PWID) and lesbian, and gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people experience significant human rights violations which underpin the continued high HIV incidence in these populations.

Even in the generalised epidemics in southern and eastern Africa key populations remain particularly vulnerable: only in sub-Saharan Africa do studies show HIV-prevalence amongst female sex workers higher than 50%; in Tanzania despite a declining HIV-prevalence in the general population (currently 5.6%), amongst PWID HIV-prevalence remains sustained and high at 35%; and men who have sex with men (MSM) in Africa are estimated to be 3.8 times more likely to be living with HIV than the general population. This sustained and high burden of HIV is intimately linked to the denial of these key populations’ human rights.

This rapid assessment of human rights violations in Eastern and southern Africa focuses on three priority key populations

– PWSS, LGBTI (including MSM), and PWID. The report outlines the normative international treaties that establish a basis for a human rights framework for the HIV response.

This requires a focus on the legislative environment and the development of programmatic responses to ensure populations are able to realise their right to health. As will be evident, despite commitments internationally by states to the realisation of rights of all people, these are not translated into national policies and programmes. This report explores the emerging evidence of how to promote and protect human rights of key populations and potential key entry points. 


HEARD is a leading applied research centre with a global reputation and through its research, education programmes, technical services, partnerships and networks, leads the dialogue in addressing the broad health challenges of Africa.

Our aim is to shape public health policy and practice to address health inequalities in Africa by catalysing, conducting and disseminating innovative research on the socio-economic aspects of public health, especially the African HIV and AIDS pandemic.

For more about HEARD, refer to

For more information, click here.

Your birthday is a celebration of life. Why not use the special occasion to give back?

By pledging to make a donation to Doctors Without Borders/MSF to honour your birthday you not only increase awareness of our work, but also save lives. A donation of this kind extends the goodwill of the occasion far beyond the day itself, helping to ensure emergency medical aid for people in crisis situations around the world.


How do I make a pledge?

You can make your pledge by clicking here and entering your details. You can also make a pledge by sending an email to and letting us know when your birthday is and how much you would like to pledge.

How much should I pledge?

It’s up to you. A gift of R50 can provide vaccination and lifelong protection from measles for more than 30 children. R500 can provide first line ARV treatment for a child with HIV.

Is the pledge recurring?

The pledge can be for a single birthday, or you can make it a recurring gift. You may also make a pledge to give on an ad hoc basis, as and when you can.

For more information about Doctors Without Borders/MSF, visit:

Not long ago, AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria looked unstoppable. In many countries, AIDS devastated an entire generation, leaving countless orphans and shattered communities. Malaria killed young children and pregnant women unable to protect themselves from mosquitoes or to access the right medicine. Tuberculosis unfairly afflicted the poor, as it had for millennia.

Partners in global health came together, to fight back. By working together, by pooling resources and expertise, and by involving people affected by the diseases, civil society, the private sector and governments, we have made progress way beyond what seemed possible.

Today, the Global Fund issued a Results Report, showing that health investments made through the Global Fund have saved 17 million lives, expanding opportunity and achieving greater social justice for families and communities worldwide. Even better, the report shows that advances in science and innovative solutions are accelerating progress at an ever faster-rate, getting us on track to reach 22 million lives saved by the end of next year.

But it’s no time to celebrate. We are only half way there. Tremendous challenges in global health still await us. Adolescent girls are contracting HIV at a terrible rate in southern Africa. TB/HIV co-infection is on the rise, as is multidrug-resistant TB. Gains made against malaria could be lost if we don’t expand prevention and treatment programs.

We have to concentrate on several key areas, including focus on adolescent girls and women, advancing human rights, and building resilient and sustainable systems for health.

Many more lives are still at risk. We must seize the momentum, embrace ambition and move faster to end HIV, TB and malaria as epidemics. Let’s remember that it has been a magnificent display of the human spirit that has gotten us so far. The greatest reward for this collective achievement lies not in the massive number – 17 million – but in the impact every life saved has for a loved one, family, friend, community and nation.

A life saved from AIDS is a mother who can raise her daughter and teach her about staying safe from HIV. A life saved from TB is a father who can return to work and earn a living to support his family. A life saved from malaria is a child who thrives beyond her 5th birthday and becomes a doctor, or perhaps the next President of Liberia.

The achievements of the Global Fund partnership are the results of determination to make our world better and more just, with contributions by governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by HIV, TB and malaria. The people whose lives have been saved owe their thanks most of all to the partners on the ground, who do the hard work of preventing and treating and caring for those affected by these diseases.

As world leaders gather next week to formulate Sustainable Development Goals, as building blocks for improving the lives of billions of people, the achievements of global health can serve as a model for what can be achieved when communities come together and aim for common goals, like a world free from the burden on AIDS, TB, and malaria.

- By Mark Dybul, first published in Voices

The slogan of The Sunflower Fund is ‘Share a Little, Save a Life’, and I would like to give you an opportunity on 16 September 2015 to make a difference in the life of someone suffering from leukaemia or other life-threatening blood disorders.

Every year thousands of South Africans are diagnosed with leukaemia, a cancer of the blood or bone marrow. For those unable to stay in remission with chemotherapy alone, a bone marrow stem cell transplant becomes a life-saving treatment option, but only if they can find a perfect donor match.

The Sunflower Fund aims to give those diagnosed with leukaemia and other life-threatening blood disorders the chance of life, irrespective of their race and financial circumstances.

I will be running 250km from 4-10 October 2015 through the Atacama Desert in Chile to generate support and awareness for the work of The Sunflower Fund in South Africa.

The purpose of my association with The Sunflower Fund – before, during and after my run in Chile – is three-fold:

  • Raise awareness about leukaemia and other life-threatening blood disorders;
  • Raise awareness about the objectives and activities of The Sunflower Fund in response to the above; and
  • Encourage more South Africans to become bone marrow stem cell donors.

One of my key activities before departing for Chile is to give anyone living in or around Johannesburg an opportunity to become a potential stem cell donor.

All you need to do is follow two simple steps:

  • Read the Donor information and then phone The Sunflower Fund Toll Free Number, 0800 12 10 82 (weekdays, 8h30- 16h30), by Friday, 11 September 2015, to complete the pre-registration process. Someone will check if you meet the criteria to become a donor (e.g. you have to be younger than 45 years of age), and process your Sunflower / SABMR Registration Form. Please use ‘Atacama Project’ as your reference when you call.
  • Have a normal blood test (two test tubes) on Wednesday, 16 September 2016 (9h00-15h00), at The Sunflower Fund’s office in the Brightwater Commons in Randburg.

Both processes will only take a few minutes to complete.

But you have to complete the pre-registration process by Friday, 11 September 2015, in order for The Sunflower Fund to cover the full cost of your blood test on the 16th. 

What happens thereafter?

Your blood sample will be analysed (called ‘tissue typing’) and put on the national database – South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR). You will only be called back to donate bone marrow stem cells, which is similar to donating blood or platelets, if they are ever a perfect match for a patient.

The odds of being a match are about 1: 100 000 which is why The Sunflower Fund needs your help to mobilise as many donors as possible.

Please spread the word about this initiative among your family, friends and colleagues, and join us on 16 September 2015!

I am excited about supporting The Sunflower Fund over the next few weeks, and invite you to join me on this journey.

Follow updates on my blog, Facebook and Twitter, and via The Sunflower Fund’s various online platforms.


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