Today, you are celebrating your eightieth birthday. On this occasion, all of us who have the honor of serving your namesake Fondation, would like to wish you, most sincerely, all the best for years to come. We would also like to take a moment to recall the needs and commitments that have established the base on which the Fondation Chirac has built its existence.
Launched in 2008, the Fondation came into being first and foremost thanks to you. During two terms at the helm of France, you defended with force and perseverance the highest values of humanism and international solidarity, of democracy and peace.
Every major international event represented for you a chance to further these values that are the basis of our nation’s stature and influence. You worked tirelessly from Johannesburg in 2002, with the proposition of an alliance for sustainable development, to the creation of UNITAID in 2006, for which, alongside President Lula da Silva of Brazil, you initiated innovative financing to help increase access to treatment for the world’s three major pandemics: HIV / AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
Today, other dangers threaten the development of poorer countries, such as trafficking in falsified medicines, a heinous crime against the most vulnerable. This traffic is more lucrative than illegal drugs and there are no international, repressive, penal, instruments to fight it. You were determined to make this one of your Fondation’s primary battles.
You know that dirty water can kill, you realized the magnitude of the problem. Nine hundred million people worldwide still do not have access to an improved water source.
You are appalled by deforestation and desertification – and the food insecurity they generate.
For you, sustainable development is not possible without universal access to basic human rights and without the acknowledgement and respect of cultural diversity. “Globalization must not level local cultures”, as you have so concisely said.
Your Fondation, created to further your vision, develops programs aimed at fundamental human rights: the right to quality medicines and healthcare, the right to water and sanitation, the right to access to land resources, the right for the respect of cultures.
Mindful of the most vulnerable, you are convinced that poverty is the bed of political tensions and conflicts. When confronted with the risk of sensitive areas across the globe becoming enflamed, you have always answered with Law and Reason.
This is why you worked to establish a Prize, named after your Fondation, for peacemakers. It is destined for those individuals who do not necessarily seek the media spotlight, but struggle with tenacity, patience and courage for dialogue and sustainable development when faced with the chaos of violence.
For all this, Mr. President, we are proud to contribute to the existence and the development of your Fondation. We wish you all the best for your birthday.