Good morning everyone!
I am very happy to be here at this important meeting.
For more than 10 years, I have been working on hiv/aids-related issues. Through these years we have seen quite some development: Young people have raised their voices. Today young people demand to have a say when strategies are formed. They demand information. They demand to have their sexual and reproductive health rights secured.
This has been one of my most important tasks in my work with UNAIDS: to secure young people’s influence. I am very happy that we managed to move the whole UN system in the end, and contributed to build a new foundation for young people’s involvement in issues that affect them directly.
In January, I took part in a meeting at NORAD - The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation - with young leaders from all around the world, focusing on the very same topic as your conference today. The purpose of the meeting was to launch a global campaign which aims to include SHRH in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. And the name of the campaign pinpoints the issue: Sex happens.
Because the fact is: Across the world, young people are having sex. Their health, rights, and future are put at risk when they are denied their rights to proper sexuality education and health services. This causes a great number of adolescent girls’ deaths every day.
This year, when world leaders make a new set of promises for sustainable development, they must provide young people with the tools to make the best decisions for their bodies, and commit to targets, finance, and implementation of comprehensive sexuality education.
To make this happen, we need young people like yourselves to raise their voices, to speak directly and boldly, to come out with concrete recommendations. This is why the GLOBVAC 2015 student conference is so important.
I wish you luck, stamina and lots of energy in your work. I hope you will experience real outcome of the conference!