In the year 2000 world governments endorsed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), launching a 15 year agenda to address key aspects of development such as hunger, education, gender equality and health. Among three new health goals, MDG 6 pledged to combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases.
MDG 6 injected much-needed energy into the global AIDS response at a time when 5 million people were contracting HIV each year and 3 million were dying of AIDS related illness. It led to a UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV in 2001 and to the founding of the Global Fund, a war chest for the fights against AIDS, TB and Malaria.
We have progress on MDG 6, but we can’t stop now
Today over 8 million people in developing countries are on antiretroviral treatment (ART) – a figure that was unimaginable in 2000. Mother to child transmission has been reduced by over half and HIV programmes have scaled up access to testing and condoms while also strengthening health systems. Yet we still have a long way to go. Only half of those in immediate need currently receive treatment, and for every person who starts ART, two are newly infected. People living with HIV and key populations at higher risk face continued human rights violations which impede their access to services and undermine prevention.
What do we want in the new framework?
As the end point for the MDGs draws nearer, governments and UN institutions are already defining a new framework to replace the current goals, and the Alliance is working to ensure that HIV is included in it. Recognising that getting several disease-specific goals will be a challenge this time, the Alliance supports a single health goal which is focused on achieving the unmet health MDGs and addressing the other main causes of illness and preventable death. Under this goal, we are pushing for targets on HIV which can address the challenges that we still face while bringing us closer to a world without AIDS. We can do this by agreeing targets that aim to significantly reduce new HIV infections globally and to end AIDS-related deaths. Responding to a strong push from our Linking Organisations, we also propose a third target on the elimination of punitive and discriminatory laws which prevent people living with HIV, LGBT people, people who use drugs, sex workers and other marginalised people from accessing health and other services.
Outside the Alliance, some are lobbying for a goal of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) – an approach to health systems which would ensure that all people can access affordable health care, whatever their income. While the Alliance supports UHC as a means to improve health, UHC is not a health outcome and we do not see it as an end goal in itself.
Alliance participation in the debates
In January the Alliance ran a series of online seminars for staff and Linking Organisations. Since then, our Linking Organisations have championed HIV in national consultations in countries ranging from Morocco to Zambia and Peru to the Ukraine. Baba Goumbala, the Alliance’s Regional Representative for West Africa, participated in an Africa-wide regional consultation. Baba was a lone but valued voice as the only delegate making the evidence-based case for HIV and his interventions are reflected in the Africa consultation report.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, where civil society involvement in the post 2015 process has been very low, our Regional Representative Javier Hourcade Bellocq is working to increase participation and raise the profile of Latin America in the discussions. Jet Riparip, the Alliance’s Representative in Asia and the Pacific, has blogged about the issues being raised in her region. As a partner in the Stop AIDS Alliance which is represented in Brussels, Geneva, Amsterdam and Washington, the Alliance also ensured the inclusion of HIV in the European Commission’s position.
Alongside the national and regional consultations, eleven thematic consultations have also taken place and we have been active in the health and inequality tracks. Back in January, we brought together more than 80 HIV, Malaria and TB advocates to plan ways to have a strong shared voice in these processes. Last month we drafted a letter to delegates at the closing meeting of the global health consultation in Botswana, which was endorsed by 155 organisations. The Communique resulting from the Botswana meeting proposed an overarching goal of maximising health at all stages of life, with sub goals on accelerating progress against the unmet health MDGs and combating the major non-communicable diseases, directly echoing the demands in our letter. The Alliance also provided input to the global consultation on inequality, helping to secure strong recommendations on law reform.
This month, we will share our demands with the High Level Panel on the post 2015 framework chaired by Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, Indonesian Premier Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and UK Prime Minister David Cameron as they prepare a final report to submit to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on 31 May. Beyond that, we will continue to support national and global advocacy building up to a UN General Assembly on the post 2015 development agenda, opening 9 September in New York.
For more information, download our discussion paper on how the HIV community can shape the future HIV and development agenda.
Why not join the global conversation. Share your voice. What kind of World do you Want? Add your voice now on www.worldwewant2015.org