Pretoria – Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe says South Africa is ready to host the 21st International AIDS Conference.
Commonly known as AIDS2016, the conference will be held from 18 – 22 July at the Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, under the theme ‘Access Equity Rights – Now’.
Minister Radebe, who is the leader of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on AIDS2016, on Monday briefed the media after the committee held a meeting today in the host city of eThekwini. The committee, which comprises 16 Ministers, the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal and the Mayor of eThekwini, was appraised on the state of readiness by national, provincial and local government to host AIDS2016.
“The committee received an update on infrastructure, security, health and immigration plans for the International AIDS Conference. The committee will [today] conduct an inspection of the Chief Albert Luthuli ICC and surrounding facilities to assess logistical arrangements.
“This includes the interplay between events in the main conference venue as well as the nearby Global Village, an open access space with free conference programming that will allow members of the public to partake in the conference.
“Based on the reports we received during this morning’s meeting, we are satisfied that indeed South Africa is ready to welcome the world and to host a successful AIDS 2016, where history will be made in advancing the global fight against HIV, AIDS and TB,” said Minister Radebe.
South Africa will for the second time, in partnership with the International Aids Society, host the Biannual International Aids Conference. Sixteen years ago, South Africa hosted the 13th conference in Durban.
The International AIDS Society is the world’s leading independent association of professionals involved in the fight against HIV, with 16 000 members in 170 countries.
The International AIDS Conference is the largest conference on any global health or development issues in the world. The world’s top scientists, civil society members and policymakers will convene at AIDS2016 to discuss the fight against HIV and AIDS.
AIDS 2016 will officially open on Nelson Mandela Day — Monday, July 18.
The event will bring together 18 000 conference delegates and attendees and 1 000 journalists representing 180 countries.
The conference programme will cover more than 500 sessions, workshops and programme activities.
The international co-chair for the conference is Chris Beyrer, President of the Geneva-based International AIDS Society. The South African co-chair is Dr Olive Shisana, former Chief Executive Officer of the Human Sciences Research Council and now President and CEO of Evidence Based Solutions, a privately held policy, research, and ICT firm.