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Statement by

HE. Dr. Agung Laksono

The Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare

of the Republic of Indonesia

at the United Nations General Assembly

High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS

New York 9 June 2011

 

 

Mr. President,

Honorable Ministers, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and gentlemen,

I bring the greetings of the President of Indonesia and his congratulations on the progress achieved since the historic General Assembly Special Session on AIDS in 2001, to this gathering of world leaders, policy makers, civil society organizations, health care providers, policy makers and people living with HIV (PLHIV).

The global community had already been struggling for 20 years to find a way to bring the HIV epidemic under control. While there had been periodic breakthroughs, it was not yet at all clear if and when the rising tide of infection could be slowed and eliminated.

We can give thanks today for the clear evidence of the last five years that we can prevent infection, save lives, and improve the quality of life for millions of people threatened, affected, and infected by the HIV virus. Global experience and our own experience tells us that we must do four things to keep up this momentum: firstly, we need to learn from experience; secondly, to focus our efforts and our resources on strategically important interventions; thirdly, to address the critical social and human rights issues, which reduce people's access to the information and services they need to protect themselves from infection and lastly, to work in broad partnerships bringing together the knowledge, influence, and expertise of the many players in this vast human drama.

Mr President, Distinguished delegates,

Within the global community we know what works. We have knowledge and technologies, which can empower us to accelerate action to reduce new infection, improve the quality of life for those already infected and mitigate the impact of the epidemic for family, friends, and communities directly affected. The question, do we have the will? Do we have the courage? Are we willing to prioritize and replicate what we know works?

Since UNGASS 2001 and the 2006 General Assembly's Political Declaration on HIVIAIDS, Indonesia has worked hard to achieve the goals agreed to and move toward achievement of Universal Access. We are not there yet but we have made much progress in the past ten years. We have laid a solid foundation for the work underway and have seen important networks of collaboration and partnerships developed which have helped increase coverage, raise effectiveness and move toward self reliance and sustainability of the Indonesian response.

We take pride in the birth and hard work of five national networks of key affected populations in Indonesia, namely: positive women; people living with HIV; survivors of drug use by injection; sex workers; and the network of men who have sex with men and transgender. These networks are key partners in our national effort with full agendas of their own activities, joining in the planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of our shared national effort.

Furthermore, our service networks that includes counseling, testing, care support and treatment, condom distribution, needle syringe programs, methadone maintenance, are growing through the public health service, the prison system, as well as NGO activities. We have made particularly good progress in advancing availability of comprehensive harm reduction services through policy reform, appropriate staff training, and diversification of delivery systems in growing numbers of locations in the public health centers across the country.

Likewise, access to ARV has risen dramatically as it has become available through the public health system. At the time of the UNGASS in 2001, activities related to HIV and AIDS were limited in Indonesia and almost completely funded by international development partners. In 2010, our national expenditures already reached US$ 90 million, with 49% from domestic sources at national, provincial, and district levels; and 51% from international sources, primarily the Global Fund.

Mr. President, Distinguished delegates,

Our work is far from over and we are well aware of the challenges ahead. Too many people remain unreached and unserved. Too many people are still victims of ignorance and counter-productive stigma and discrimination. In the period to come, we have identified three new categories of people to whom we will be directing additional attention, namely (i) girls and women, who we found represented the growing proportion of the HIV positive; (ii) high risk men, whereby the millions of them in the mobile workforce have been in isolated work sites of mining, fishing, commercial agriculture; and (iii) young people age 15-24 who are at particularly high risk either because of life style or direct involvement in sex work or drug use by injection.

We believe that without increasing prevention and services for them, we will not be able to bring the epidemic under control. In our vast archipelagic island, improving the reach to these people, while solving outstanding challenges in well established problems, will not be easy.

Nonetheless, I am here today to emphasize the commitment of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, our government, and our people to stay the course and, learn from our own and global experience with a view to accelerate progress toward Indonesia's national response and to intensify efforts to eliminate HIV and AIDS. In this context, Indonesia lends its support to the Declaration to be adopted tomorrow by this High Level Meeting.

In closing, let me recognize with heart felt thanks Indonesia's gratitude for the leadership and support of the global community as we face the complex and persistent challenges of HIV and AIDS. We have learned much from the struggles and triumphs of friends around the world. We are making progress and stand ready to share our experience. Let us move forward from today as one united family in the global community. We have companions around the world all working to improve the lives of friends and family who are already HIV positive and to protect our children from new infection.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, New York
325 East 38th Street, New York, NY, 10016, USA
Tel: 1.212.972.8333,   Fax: 1.212.972.9780   -   www.indonesiamission-ny.org

 

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