Remarks by Dr Anders Nordström, Acting Director-General of WHO
Inauguration of the UNAIDS/ WHO Building
20 November 2006 -
Mr Secretary-General Kofi Annan,
Gunilla Carlsson, chair of PCB, Margaret, Peter, Richard, Representatives of the Swiss Government, Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen
Good morning. I would like to echo Peter in thanking you all very much for coming here today to celebrate with us the opening of this beautiful new building. For WHO and me this morning is about teams; let me start with the first team that built this house.
- 300 people were involved in the construction of the building
- it took 821 days.
Let me extend my sincere appreciation and thanks to all of you.
This would not have been possible without a generous loan from the Swiss Government, and the vision of the architects, whose winning design "permeability" we are now enjoying. The net result is a true synergy - a building that is far more than its components.
My 2nd team is the UNAIDS-WHO team. This building symbolises and gives practical effect to the joint work between UNAIDS and WHO. A building like this is not just a better way of grouping offices. It is a strong commitment to collaboration.
I am very happy to be standing here today together with Peter Piot. I am proud that the UNAIDS – Cosponsors team is recognized as one of the most successful throughout the United Nation systems. This is UN reforms in practice! I was also very proud in Toronto in August to see that WHO is fully taking on its role and responsibility within the team.
The 3rd team is the WHO HIV/AIDS – TB – Malaria team who moves into this building with Dr Asamoa-Baah as their team leader. The global response to AIDS/Tuberculosis/Malaria has been extra-ordinary during the last years. If we look back at the G8 meeting in Okinawa some 8 years ago and where we are today, it is quite remarkable.
I would specially like to recognize the work done by the Global Fund and Richard Feachem here today. My 4th team is the very important GF -UNAIDS - WHO team.
I have now only two teams left to mention and those relates to TB and Malaria. The Stop TB team is regarded as one of the most effective partnerships today. You have an up-hill task but with your commitment you will succeed. And finally, the Roll Back Malaria team. We hosted the board meeting here in Geneva only last week and with the very strong financial and technical commitment to scale up malaria control, I am convinced that we will now see rapid results. Of course teams can not work without effective leadership.
Let me on behalf of all WHO staff and member states sincerely thank you, Mr Secretary General, for your strong support and personal engagement not only for AIDS, TB and Malaria but for the importance of health more broadly; polio, immunization, violence, child health….
Mr Secretary-General you represent also the wider team of the UN family of which we are all part. You have done so much to foster collaboration and joint work between the different parts of the UN.
We cannot today talk about leadership without remembering the important work of JW Lee through the 3 by 5 initiative. He made the perspective of universal access to antiretrovirals real. Today we remember him, and recognize how our public health work is being carried on by others. Dr Margaret Chan next takes forward the work of the Director-General of WHO and brings her very strong personal commitment to our team.
Let me finally thank all of you who have joined us here today. You are our extended team. Without your political, financial and moral support we would never be able to take the work forward.
Today's inauguration is an opportunity to set our sights even higher, to be inspired. Much still remains to be done. People are still dying and suffering. Our teams needs to be encouraged to make even stronger progress and gain even greater results in preventing, treating and supporting people affected by AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
I thank you all.