TICAD V: First Ladies highlight importance of continued commitment to getting to zero
04 June 2013
First Ladies from across Africa joined the First Lady of Japan Akie Abe at a symposium entitled ‘Let’s talk about AIDS: Africa and Japan’s Shared Challenges’ during the opening day of the Fifth Tokyo Conference on Africa Development (TICAD V) held in Yokohama, Japan, from 1-3 June. The session assessed progress made and areas for intensified action on HIV. Participants underlined how continued commitment on AIDS and united responses across nations are critical to achieving the vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.
Panellists stressed the need for Japan and African nations to share experiences and build on progress together, putting at the centre of the AIDS response the respect for rights of people living with HIV and the involvement of young people.
UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Management and Governance, Jan Beagle highlighted progress made in Africa under the leadership of the Organization of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) and stressed the importance of investing in women and girls.
TICAD V concluded with the adoption of the Yokohama Declaration 2013 and the Yokohama Action Plan 2013-2017 that included the promotion of human security, emphasis on the empowerment of women and youth, support for African initiatives for peace and stability, and the recognition and promotion of the role of the private sector through public-private partnerships.
I thought HIV was an issue far away from home, but then I met people including women and children living with HIV and learned that the issues were relevant also in Japan. I realized that we must tackle the epidemic together.
The African Union Roadmap on shared responsibility and global solidarity for AIDS, TB and malaria, reviewed by the recent African Union Summit meeting, is an example of political commitment at the highest level that has made such advances possible. We are still faced with challenges – not least high levels of stigma and discrimination that persist in all parts of the world – but combined efforts will yield the greatest results.
We have seen enormous progress in the last decade, thanks to African leaders including OAFLA and with the cooperation of Japan. We now have the scientific means to defeat HIV, TB and malaria.