Feature story

ASEAN leaders commit to “getting to Zero”

23 November 2011

Credit: MC ASEAN/Nyoman Budhiana

The Heads of State and government from the ten countries that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have committed to making Zero New HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination and Zero HIV Related Deaths a reality, in a declaration adopted at the 19th ASEAN Summit in Bali, Indonesia (17-19 November 2011).

Reinforcing the commitments made at the High Level Meeting on AIDS in June 2011, the leaders—from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam— pledged to, by 2015, halve sexual transmission of HIV and HIV transmission among people who use drugs and ensure accelerated efforts to achieve the goal of universal access to antiretroviral treatment. They also agreed to push towards eliminating new HIV infections among children in the next five years.

The 2011 Declaration details specific commitments by the ten ASEAN countries to ensure that adequate financial resources are provided for scaling up evidence-based HIV prevention programmes for key populations at higher risk such as people who use drugs, sex workers, men having sex with men and transgender people.

We underline the importance of effective and comprehensive response to prevent and reduce the number of new infections and provide appropriate treatment, care and support to key affected populations and other vulnerable groups

President of Indonesia and Chair of the 19th ASEAN Summit, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

"We underline the importance of effective and comprehensive response to prevent and reduce the number of new infections and provide appropriate treatment, care and support to key affected populations and other vulnerable groups," said President of Indonesia and Chair of the 19th ASEAN Summit, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in his Chair’s Statement at the close of the Summit.

The ten ASEAN nations underlined the importance of ensuring financial sustainability, national ownership and leadership for improved regional and national responses to HIV. Through the declaration they committed to ensuring mobilization of a greater proportion of domestic resources for the AIDS response in the spirit of shared responsibility.

“These bold commitments by ASEAN leaders recognize the need for shared responsibility and that we are at a game changing moment for the AIDS response,” UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé . “To capitalize on the opportunities before us, the world must invest sufficiently today, so we will not have to pay forever.”

Through the Declaration, ASEAN Sectoral Ministerial Bodies as well as other relevant bodies are tasked with implementing the outlined commitments with all ASEAN Member States encouraged to support in accomplishing the goals.