Government of Australia, UNAIDS sign partnership agreement
23 September 2009
As a sign of consistent and growing partnership on the AIDS response, UNAIDS signed a multi-annual agreement with the Government of Australia on Monday 21 September 2009.
The agreement includes shared goals and objectives for the cooperation between UNAIDS and Australia in the Asia-Pacific region and includes funding of AUD 25.5 million (approximately USD 22 million) over three years. A commitment for increasing funds to UNAIDS by 16.8 per cent from 2010 is also provided for in the agreement.
The agreement was signed by Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith and UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, on the eve of the opening of the UN General Assembly in New York.
Predictable funding and continuous engagement are of particular importance to the AIDS response in these difficult financial times to ensure that previous gains on AIDS are not reversed.
Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director
“The agreement represents the growing cooperation we have with the Australian Government. We are grateful for Australia’s long-term commitment to HIV and its leadership on AIDS in the Asia-Pacific region,” Mr Sidibé stated during the meeting which took place in New York. “Predictable funding and continuous engagement are of particular importance to the AIDS response in these difficult financial times to ensure that previous gains on AIDS are not reversed.”
According to Stephen Smith the partnership with UNAIDS is of great value to the Australian Government who is particularly concerned about countries heavily affected by HIV in the Asia Pacific region. Australia’s Foreign Minister also looked forward to his country’s continued and growing collaboration with UNAIDS in supporting national AIDS responses, for example in Papua New Guinea.
The Australian Government’s overseas aid programme AusAID launched a new international HIV strategy earlier this year. “Intensifying the response: Halting the spread of HIV” was released in April setting priorities that will guide Australia’s international development assistance to tackle the epidemic in the Asia-Pacific region. These priorities include increased and better targeted HIV prevention activities, particularly in high-risk groups; the integration of HIV prevention, treatment and care services into primary healthcare facilities; improved capacity to fund and deliver services; and a review and improvement in laws and policies to ensure people know their HIV status, receive treatment, and can access condoms and clean needles.