Mr. Siswanto Agus Wilopo
Deputy for Family Planning and Reproductive Health
National Family Planning Coordinating Board
On agenda item 5: General Debate on National Experiences in Population Matters: Population, Development and HIV/AIDS,
with Particular Emphasis on Poverty
38th Session of
the Commission on Population and Development
New York, 5 April 2005
Let me begin by extending my delegation’s congratulations to you on your election to the chairmanship of the thirty-eighth session of the Commission on Population and Development and to the other members of the Bureau that have been elected. The theme discussed in this session is relevant and crucial in the present circumstance as we have reaffirmed our commitment to the ICPD Programme of Action, and the achievement of universal access to reproductive health by the year 2015.
The issues of population and reproductive health are central to the Millennium Declaration since there is widespread agreement that the Cairo Programme of Action makes significant contribution to the achievement of MDGs. Ensuring access to reproductive health information and services, including voluntary family planning, are absolutely essential not only to gender equality and reducing maternal and child mortality; but it is also for combating HIV/AIDS and reducing poverty.
At the same time, poverty and HIV/AIDS are interrelated. Poverty is a key factor leading to behaviours that expose population to the risk of HIV infection, and poverty exacerbates the impacts of HIV/AIDS. The epidemic has not only killed people, it has imposed heavy burdens on families, communities and economies.
This makes the burden of HIV/AIDS on various development sectors unbearably high.
Allow me to share with you Indonesia’s recent developments and experiences in dealing with the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which is a relatively recent phenomenon in our country.
The first AIDS case was reported in 1987. Since then, it has continued to rise; and by December 2004, there were 2,682 AIDS and 3,368 HIV positive cases reported. The estimated number of infected persons with HIV this year is 120.000 persons, a drastic and sharp increase from the previous year. These are indications that Indonesia is at risk from a concentrated epidemic of a much larger scale in the near future. By the year 2010, there will be more than one million who are HIV-positive, and approximately 110,000 people suffering from AIDS.
The biggest challenge for Indonesia is preventing a large-scale epidemic among adolescents. With over 40 million adolescents now entering sexual maturity, the main constraint is reaching out to young people through information, education and youth-friendly services to protect them against HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancy. Almost half of HIV infections are among this group; and some of them are intravenous drug users (IDUs).
In view of this challenge, the Government of Indonesia has responded early by enacting the National AIDS Strategy in 1994 with the purpose of preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS, minimizing the impact of the virus and mobilizing a unified national effort. The National AIDS Commission also established in the same year the “Three Ones” principle which established one national HIV/AIDS action framework, one national HIV/AIDS coordinating authority, and one monitoring and evaluation system. The National Commission is represented by a broad, multi-sectoral coalition of government, civil society, private sectors, communities based organization (CBOs), and NGOs.
The current National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plans for the year 2003-2007 focuses on a multi-sectoral partnership approach as well as an expanded and comprehensive response for prevention and control of HIV/AIDS. Our strategy based on the premise that prevention, treatment, and support for care, especially from family must work hand-in-hand. We can resolutely affirm that without prevention, treatment is not possible to mitigate the problem. And without treatment and support for care, the required levels of prevention to halt the epidemic HIV/AIDS in Indonesia will not be realized.
Furthermore, as part of our efforts to integrate HIV/AIDS prevention into the family planning programme, we are promoting a key strategy called “condom for dual protection”. We also on a case-by-case basis provide free ARV drugs especially for the poor. The government, NGOs and CBOs have jointly piloted sensitive programmes for the high-risk population groups, particularly for condom promotion (100% condom use) and harm reduction activities for IDUs.
We developed innovative strategies to provide adolescent girls and boys with reproductive health information, including HIV/AIDS through both formal and informal education, including peer-group counseling. This approach to education is designed to promote gender equality, responsible sexual behaviour, and prevent unwanted pregnancy and HIV infection.
Measures have also been taken to allocate national and international resources to meet the growing demand for access to information, counseling, and services, including the full range of safe and effective contraceptive methods and ARV drugs. Thanks to the international donor communities, including Global AIDS Fund (GAF) that supported our current reproductive health and HIV/AIDS programmes.
We are convinced that ensuring access to sexual and reproductive health information and services is necessary for preventing the further spread of HIV/AIDS. In addition, efforts to eliminate gender discrimination and promote “informed choices” are requirements in obtaining success.
I would like to briefly touch upon our national efforts on poverty reduction since poverty and HIV infection is interrelated.
My Government acknowledges that poverty is not just characterized by inadequate income, but also by poor health, lack of basic education and skills. It is within this context that the National Strategy on Poverty Alleviation that will be launched by the Government of Indonesia on 27 April this year, aims at two efforts. First, increasing income through productivity improvement and provision of better access and opportunities for poor communities; and second, reducing the costs of basic needs, education and health services, as well as public transportation.
The implementation of the poverty reduction strategy is open and highly participatory. To ensure that all groups benefit from the poverty reduction strategy, it has been adapted to respond to local needs, and has been integrated into the Medium-Term National Development Strategy.
Indonesia has been able to gradually reduce the number of its poor, which currently about 36 million population. Over the period of 2000-2004, a mix of 14 ministries and government agencies were able to implement 16 poverty reduction programmes designed to bring about family and women empowerment, agribusiness development, and active revolving fund schemes, or micro-credits for the poor, among other things.
Indonesia recognizes that lack of adequate funding is the main impediment in achieving the full implementation of the ICPD PoA and the MDGs. In his regard, my delegation would like to call on the donor countries, the funds and programmes and specialized agencies of the United Nations to continuously render financial support and technical assistance to developing countries. At the same time, we call for enhancing collaboration among member countries of Partners on Population and Development in halting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by seeking more support from donor communities.
In conclusion Mr. Chairman, HIV/AIDS can affect rich and poor, young and old, and all of Indonesia’s 17.000 islands. The epidemic has disproportionately affected Indonesians that already face social and economic disadvantages. Even if all new infections could be prevented at the end of 2015, the expected toll of the disease would hardly change its impact on poverty locally and globally because large numbers of people, especially adolescents have been infected. It is imperative therefore that national and international solidarity be brought to bear this ongoing human tragedy.
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, New York
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