Statement by H.E. Ambassador Le Luong Minh Permanent Representative of Viet Nam on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the General Assembly Plenary Meeting on Agenda Item 44 Implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on
10-07-2010, 03:57 pm
by H.E. Ambassador Le Luong Minh
Permanent Representative of Viet Nam
on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
at the General Assembly Plenary Meeting
on Agenda Item 44
Implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS
and the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS
(New York, 9 June 2010)
I have the honor to speak on behalf of the ten Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
ASEAN is encouraged by the global response to HIV/AIDS which has recorded significant progress since the adoption of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS in 2001 and the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS in 2006 as reflected, inter alias, in a 17% decrease in new HIV infections between 2001 and 2008 and a decline in HIV incidence or prevalence in an increased number of countries, including a member of ASEAN. We are pleased to note, furthermore, that access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and HIV/AIDS-related services, including ART and services to prevent mother-to-child transmission, has been largely improved. Not all this would have been possible without the invaluable efforts of the whole United Nations system, its broad membership and the civil society sector. We particularly commend the work that has been done by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) since its establishment and highly value the ongoing cooperation between UNAIDS and ASEAN.
We are, however, gravely concerned that HIV/AIDS remains the most deadly infectious disease in the world and the leading cause of deaths among women of reproductive age (between 15 and 49), that the need for treatment still outpaces the availability of ART, that HIV/AIDS-related knowledge among young people has not yet improved, and that stigma, discrimination and punitive laws continue to undermine efforts to prevent new infections. Pending official country reviews in 2011, this situation would imply that many countries will not be able to fulfill targets on universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by the end of 2010 as set out in the Declaration of Commitment and the Political Declaration and fail to achieve Millennium Development Goal 6 which is to have halted the spread of HIV/AIDS and begun to reverse it by 2015. Within the ASEAN region, we are deeply concerned that HIV/AIDS continues to threaten the lives and future of our peoples, especially the vulnerable populations, with socio-economic consequences that pose a formidable challenge to the ASEAN Community building efforts.
Committed to implementing the Declaration of Commitment and the Political Declaration, ASEAN has continuously strengthened regional cooperation to effectively respond to this epidemic, and made its own regional political commitments through concrete strategies and programmes, as exemplified at the 7th ASEAN Summit Special Session in Brunei Darussalam in 2001, the 9th ASEAN Summit in Indonesia in 2003, the 10th ASEAN Summit in Lao PDR in 2004, the 2nd ASEAN-UN Summit in New York in 2005, the 11th ASEAN Summit in Malaysia also in 2005, the 12th ASEAN Summit Special Session in the Philippines in 2007, and the recent 16th ASEAN Summit in Viet Nam last April. HIV/AIDS control was especially highlighted in the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint adopted at the 14thASEAN Summit in Thailand in 2009.
Recognizing the transboundary nature of HIV/AIDS, the Member States of ASEAN are guided by the ASEAN Vision 2020 on Southeast Asian Nations who are outward looking, living in peace, stability and prosperity, bonded together in partnership in dynamic development and in a community of caring societies. As such, we reaffirm the social responsibility of all Member States to act together in resolving HIV/AIDS issues. To this end, we wish to emphasize that an effective response to HIV/AIDS can only be made through strong national leadership, ownership, political foresight and commitment to sustainable financing, multi-sectoral coordination and partnership with civil society, including the private sector, and particularly people living with HIV/AIDS and communities vulnerable and most at risk to HIV, through region-wide and global policies that respect, protect and promote the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS and groups vulnerable and most at risk to HIV. We wish to highlight, at the same time, the need to address the gender dimension of the epidemic and scale up response to those children vulnerable to, infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. While reaffirming the need to improve comprehensive treatment, care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS, the Member States of ASEAN attach great importance to addressing the core issues of poverty reduction, equity and health, and creating an enabling environment for preventing the spread of HIV and reducing new infections through, inter alias, promoting public education and information campaigns on HIV/AIDS, particularly further reaching out to young women and men and vulnerable groups and putting in place necessary legislations and regulations that ensure those living with HIV/AIDS and affected groups are protected and not subjected to stigma and discrimination, and enjoy equal access to health, social welfare and education services.
Halting and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS require the involvement, cooperation and partnership among all stakeholders. In this endeavor, ASEAN is committed to continuing cooperation with its partners, UNAIDS, other UN bodies, civil society organizations and the private sector toward to achievement of our shared goals.