Agenda item 2 – Update on the AIDS response in the post-2015 development agenda
Delivered by Jeff Acaba, Asia-Pacific NGO Delegate
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. The NGO Delegation welcomes this report that provides us with a picture on where we are at in ensuring that HIV and AIDS remain a priority in the post-2015 development agenda.
In the beginning of this month, the Zero Draft of the outcome document for the UN Summit to adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda was released. In its preamble, the draft document asks Member States to pursue a collective journey where no one gets left behind. Let me ask: how can we ensure that men who have sex with men, sex workers, people who use and inject drugs, transgender people, people living with HIV, and young cohorts of these populations are included in the SDGs when there are no strong stigma and discrimination indicators in the new global agenda? Just this month, two of my friends, aged 24 and 31, lost their lives to AIDS-related illnesses. For someone who is working in this advocacy, it is painful for me to know that both of them were not able to access life-saving drugs because of fear of being ridiculed for being gay and for living with HIV. There are so many things that the SDGs can learn from the global AIDS response, particularly in addressing stigma and discrimination as critical enablers and measuring them. We need to see these gains reflected in the post-2015 development agenda.
It is good that the report shows the relevance of the SDGs to addressing HIV and AIDS and the importance of its inter-linkages. However, with the current direction of the SDG indicators development that leaves the onus of developing national indicator frameworks to countries, regardless of what the global indicators will look like, it is important that the national level indicators reflect the inclusivity of already existing AIDS response indicators. We need to ensure that the NCPI and even from the PLHIV Stigma Index are aligned with the SDG national indicator frameworks.
In the end, the Millennium Development Goals have left us with both achievements and a huge gap to bridge, not to mention colorful posters and even catchy songs that I can still remember from my high school days in 2002. As we set ambitious goals for the SDGs, let us remember these gaps. Let us remember that what we want are Sustainable Development Goals that do not only remain as colorful posters in school bulletin boards. We want Sustainable Development Goals that can sustain the lives of people for the better, especially those who are continuously being left behind. Thank you.