Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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Civil society urges: “Recommit to UNGASS targets”

31
MAR
2011

Baba Goumbala during civil society discussions in Senegal

On 8-10 June the world will come together to mark 10 years since the landmark UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS).

The UN High Level Meeting will review progress against the commitments made in the 2001 Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and chart the course of the future global AIDS response.

HEARING FROM CIVIL SOCIETY

Civil society representatives will meet next week (8 April) ahead of the High Level Meeting, Alliance representatives present will include James Robertson, Country Director of Alliance India, and policy representatives, Marielle Hart and Mike Podmore.

This civil society hearing will respond to the progress report released by UN secretary General Ban Ki-Moon today, and present a formal report to all member states. Civil society’s formal recommendations are intended to feed into the outcomes document following the June meeting; a document which will determine what the global commitment to the AIDS response is. 

Today’s progress report highlights how 30 years into the AIDS epidemic, investments in the AIDS response are yielding results, but the gains are fragile.

At the report’s launch Rebecca Auma Awiti, a mother living with HIV and field coordinator with NGO Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya, told her story: “Thanks to the universal access movement, my three children were born HIV-free and I am able to see them grow up because of treatment access.”

RENEWED COMMITMENT

Civil society discussions on successes like this, but also challenges towards meeting the targets are already underway, and globally are echoing the need for a recommitment to the original targets.

At the end of February, Alliance Regional Representative in Africa, Baba Goumbala, along with around 50 other civil society representatives from West and Central Africa, met in Dakar, Senegal, one of a number of regional consultations taking place.

The group identified the need for a prevention revolution; a sentiment echoed today by UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé, who joined Ban Ki-Moon for the launch of the progress report, saying:

“It is imperative for us to re-energise the response today for success in the years ahead . . . Gains in HIV prevention and antiretroviral treatment are significant, but we need to do more to stop people from becoming infected - a HIV prevention revolution is needed now more than ever.”

DAKAR DISCUSSIONS

A prevention revolution will only succeed with civil society at the heart. The discussions in Dakar highlighted issues that are the same the world over, including:

  • The need to revitalize a greater social movement that includes young people, and has a greater focus on human rights
  • Tackle stigma and discrimination against marginalised groups and ensure their involvement in the response (e.g. people living with HIV, sex workers, men who have sex with men)
  • The need to integrate HIV initiatives with other health and community programmes

Civil society representatives will be present at the High Level Meeting. Attending from the Alliance are Andriy Klepikov, Executive Director of Alliance Ukraine, Baba Goumbala, Alliance Regional Representative in Africa, and Javier Hourcade Bellocq, Alliance Regional representative in Latin American and the Caribbean.

ROADMAPS

The UNAIDS Roadmap outlines how countries and regions can feed into the High Level Meeting, and an additional roadmap produced by GNP+ and the World AIDS Campaign highlights civil society preparations currently underway at country, regional and global level and provides guidance on how activists can get involved.

    thanks to the universal access movement my three children were born hiv-free