Asia-Pacific AIDS champions call for the realization of the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS ahead of ICAAP 10
26 August 2011
An AIDS champions meeting, held just before the opening ceremony of the 10th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP10), brought together some of the most vocal leaders and activists across Asia and the Pacific to call on states, donor organizations and partners to implement the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS: Intensifying our efforts to Eliminate HIV/AIDS, adopted by all UN Members States at a High Level Meeting on AIDS in June.
Participants at the event included the President of the Republic of Fiji, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, Australia’s Ambassador for HIV, Murray Proctor, the Special Envoy for AIDS in Asia and in the Pacific, Dr Nafis Sadik, and UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé, among others.
“The High Level Meeting gave us ‘words’. Now we need action,” said President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau. “We need to up the ante and learn from countries that have faced serious HIV epidemics, so we can better focus our responses in our communities,” he added.
The High Level Meeting gave us ‘words’. Now we need action. We need to up the ante and learn from countries that have faced serious HIV epidemics, so we can better focus our responses in our communities
H.E. Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, President of Fiji
With ICAAP considered the second largest HIV forum in the world, the AIDS champions meeting was an important opportunity for participants to align advocacy strategies, as well as for debate and discussion.
“This Champions meeting not only impacts the Asia Pacific region, but the world. To meet the commitments made at the High Level Meeting—towards zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths—we need to reform our way of doing business,” said Mr Sidibé, in his remarks at the gathering. “To do this, we need AIDS champions from government, civil society and partners. But let us not forget the people outside the room whose voices we also need to listen to,” he said.
Many representatives from national parliaments, civil society and the private sector participated in the meeting. HIV ambassadors and champions committed to support regional and country advocacy efforts to ensure key affected populations have access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.
“Despite current financial challenges this is an opportunity for the Asia Pacific community to closely examine global commitments and see how these best fit our regional contexts, to ensure responses and programmes are clearly focused on key populations at highest risk,” said Murray Proctor, Australia’s Ambassador for HIV.
To meet the commitments made at the High Level Meeting—towards zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths—we need to reform our way of doing business
Michel Sidibé UNAIDS Executive Director
The meeting also shone a light on the crucial role of existing and emerging leaders in the AIDS response across the region in “getting to zero” and in engaging young leaders from key populations at higher risk. Young people from marginalized populations such as men who have sex with men, transgender people and sex workers are among the most vulnerable to HIV infection in the in the Asia Pacific region.
Speaking from the perspective of young people in the ICAAP 10 host country, a young leader from the Republic of Korea said: “This is our first time participating in such a regional platform. We are ready. We need advice and support to help us develop innovative vision and ensure young Koreans at risk are able to access HIV information, education and services.”
Within the context of this year’s theme “Diverse Voices, United Action”, the AIDS champions endorsed a joint statement, to be read at the official opening ceremony of ICAAP10.