UNAIDS Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima responds to concerns from Asia Pacific on new Global AIDS Strategy

By December 16, 2020 Advocacy, Newsroom, Regional

UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima. Image credit: UNAIDS


Bangkok, 16 December 2020

I want to reassure you that your contributions matter, they are heard and we will continue working with communities to ensure the final strategy meets the needs of communities left behind,” UNAIDS Executive Director Ms. Winnie Byanyima said in a response email addressed to APCOM dated December 14, 2020.

This letter of response is an answer to joint letters submitted to UNAIDS Executive Director by APCOM, together with six country partners from India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan. Each country specific letter strongly expressed urgent needs regarding outlined recommendations of what needed to CONTINUE, START and STOP for the Global AIDS Strategy beyond 2021.

The joint letters submitted for World AIDS Days aimed to ensure that community voices are heard and their strategic inputs are included in the UNAIDS strategy development process, which is currently ongoing to shape a new Global AIDS Strategy that will serve as a road map for the world to end AIDS by 2030 as a public health threat through sustainable development goals.

The AIDS response has advanced the right to health, gender equality, human rights, employment and social protection. It has addressed entrenched social norms, social exclusion and legal barriers that undermine health and development outcomes, and its investment approach is increasingly being adopted to accelerate gains across global health and development.

We are very thankful to Ms. Byanyima for her support and commitment to continue focus on key populations. We hope that in 2021, the new strategic plan will commit more resources to the communities from Asia and South Asia,”

said Yashwinder Singh, Director Policies of The Humsafar Trust India.

Sincere thank you for your reply. On behalf of gay men, other men who have sex with men and transgender women (GMT) community in Indonesia, we highly appreciate your commitment to supporting and serving our communities in Asia and the Pacific region,”

said Tengku Surya Mihari, Executive Director of GWL-INA National Network Indonesia.

We look forward to fully participating and meaningfully engage in all aspects of the next Global AIDS Strategy development processes.

In the response email, Ms. Byanyima highlights the COVID-19 pandemic situation and its effect on the key population in accessing essential health and HIV services. “Current responses to COVID-19 have amplified the marginalization of communities most at risk to HIV, leaving them behind from social protection relief programmes and suffering greater economic and livelihoods hardships,” Ms. Byanyima said.

“The next strategy includes new result areas and recommendations-specifically devoted to addressing the raised concerns-and ensure that community-led responses are fully recognized, empowered, resourced and integrated for a transformative and sustainable HIV response; people living with, at risk of or affected by HIV have access to social protection benefits and support; HIV response is fully prepared and resilient to protect people living with, at risk and affected by HIV from adverse impacts of current and future pandemics and shocks.”

She also expressed her will to continue to advocate for community-led rights-based approaches to health and the removal of discriminatory laws. She further welcome continued participation and engagement in the development of the Global AIDS Strategy, which she highlighted as being a strategy that focuses on eliminating inequities and inequalities.

“It was amazing to see response come right at the time that the 47th meeting of UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board is taking place. The commitment at the highest level of UNAIDS to key populations in Asia and the Pacific for the partners that coordinated the advocacy letters were amazed that their voice matters, thank you very much Winnie for bringing hope for us despite the pandemic.”

Added Midnight Poonkasetwattana, APCOM Executive Director.