The Workshop on Curbing the Spread of HIV
and the Impact of AIDS
on Economic Development in the ACMECS
25-26 October 2005
Siam City Hotel, Bangkok
The first ACMECS Workshop on Curbing the Spread of HIV and the Impact of AIDS on Economic Development in the ACMECS was organized during 25-26 October 2005 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Public Health of Thailand with support from UNAIDS. Participants in the workshop include representatives of all ACMECS countries, namely Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as concerned non-government agencies and international organizations, namely UNAIDS, UNESCAP, UNESCO, ILO and ADB (list of participants appears in Annex).
The workshop revolves around three main objectives : (1) to understand the dynamics and interaction of HIV and AIDS and socioeconomic development in ACMECS member countries, (2) to identify ACMECS areas of cooperation that require integration of policy responses to HIV and AIDS, and (3) to lay out groundwork for future implementation and cooperation on HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support in the context of socioeconomic development.
The workshop was commenced by H.E. Dr. Virachai Viranmeteekul, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Thailand, followed by representatives of the five member countries reporting on their current HIV and AIDS situations. The workshop participants also listened to experts’ presentations on relevant topics, namely the impact of AIDS on social and economic development, HIV prevention in the transport sector, integrating AIDS into national economic development planning, and the roles of civil society and non-health sector in responding to HIV and AIDS.
The workshop participants were then assigned into two groups for further exchange of views and discussion on two issues of priority. Participants in Group I discussed not only about how the involvement of non-health sectors and civil society could benefit HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support, but also how ACMECS countries could incorporate policy responses to HIV and AIDS into the ACMECS’ areas of cooperation. In particular, Group I explored the idea that given the relevance of increasing socioeconomic integration, ACMECS member countries could focus on HIV prevention and AIDS impact mitigation in the transport sector along the border areas. This initiative is to be reported to higher authorities for consideration.
In the meantime, participants in Group II extensively exchanged their views on impediments to the integration of HIV and AIDS into national socioeconomic development planning, ranging from lack of financial and human resources to competing priorities and cultural obstacles. Group II participants had in common that a sound national socioeconomic development plan should address the impacts of HIV and AIDS on human security and well-beings. To eradicate HIV and AIDS is a significant part and parcel of poverty reduction as well as socioeconomic development at large.
Given the aforementioned results, the workshop hereby presents its recommendations to the senior officials and high authorities of the ACMECS as follows :
1) to strengthen ACMECS coordination and cooperation at all levels and with all concerned development partners and international organizations, particularly focusing on capacity building, research and development, and programme implementation in HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support;
2) to develop a stock of knowledge on the socioeconomic consequences of HIV and AIDS and to share information through existing mechanisms (including ACMECS website);
3) to building upon existing bilateral, sub-regional and regional cooperation on HIV and AIDS, and to develop strategic framework in the two priority areas, namely (1) integrating HIV and AIDS into national socioeconomic planning, (2) addressing HIV and AIDS in issue-areas affected by increasing socioeconomic linkages, including mobility, transport, the world of work, cross-border economies;
4) to develop plans of action in order to scale up initiatives and to follow up on the priority areas, with support from UN organizations and concerned agencies, including ILO on HIV and AIDS in the world of work, UNESCAP on HIV and AIDS in the transport sector, UNAIDS in the integration of HIV and AIDS into the national socioeconomic development planning, as appropriate, in order to be submitted to the next ACMECS Summit.