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The Asia-Pacific region is at a critical juncture. Data is showing that HIV is declining but the progress is at a slow pace. If we do business as usual we will most likely miss the 2011 high level meeting targets.
We have come a long way in the AIDS response. We are now at a crossroad. We pause and ponder. Where are we now and where to from here?
Today is also a special occasion and a unique occasion in my opinion. Unique because we have some of the distinguished members of our faith based communities commemorating world aids day with us.
As a result of working together, many countries within the region are now within reach of achieving several of the key targets outlined in the 2011 UN Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS, and they are thus making clear progress towards MDG 6.
Today, I am inspired by the dedication, compassion and resolve to create change through a multi sector response involving government ministries, NGOs, civil society organizations, people living with HIV, the faith based communities, the private sector, academia and the development partners.
We are gathered here this evening, to commemorate, a significant chapter in world history, the one hundredth anniversary of the First World War (WW1). The event is not only significant for countries across Europe which were directly involved in the war, but also significant for us in Fiji as we remember the sons and daughters of this nation who fought and fell during the war.
Ladies and gentlemen, at this conference we need to build on our successes thus far with a renewed commitment to do better – much better.
It is indeed a great honor for me to stand here before you as Commander in Chief to address you on this historic occasion on the eve of your departure once again for the Middle East in the course of world peace.
 In the aftermath of Cyclone Evan, Christmas 2012 will certainly be different from those of the past years.
I am also greatly honoured at the pleasant duty I humbly shoulder as the Chancellor of the University of Fiji to confer degrees – and on this occasion - to this fine gathering of men and women achievers.
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