History is made, and no-one must be left behind

By Marielle Hart

Marielle Hart, the Alliance’s Policy Manager based in the US, reports from the Sustainable Development Summit in New York.

A very historic day today. World leaders adopted the post-2015 development agenda!

Speaking to the press after the adoption of the Agenda, the Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said: “These Goals are a blueprint for a better future. Now we must use the goals to transform the world. We will do that through partnership and through commitment. We must leave no-one behind."

Leaving no one behind, a message we have advocated so hard for in the past years, is getting a very high level of political momentum. This is not only reflected in the strong language included in the post-2015 Agenda but also in the fact that we learned today that David Cameron will announce at a Heads of State event on Sunday with the President of Liberia a Special Initiative on leaving no one behind (see text attached and the reference to sexual identity amongst others). Also, the side event the Alliance and STOP AIDS NOW! organized in the context of the Link Up programme with a number of civil society partners, UNAIDS and the Global Fund and with an entirely youth-led panel (including Cedric Ninanahazwe from Burundi and Alliance Key Correspondent Benedicte Kouassi as moderator) attracted more than 100 people, including 12 governments (a surprisingly high number for a CSO-led side event during a UN General Assembly week) and the Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth.

Delegates at the youth-led side event, organised by a consortium including the Alliance.The Governments representatives included Brazil, Canada, Eritrea, Germany, Kenya, Colombia, Bangladesh, Morocco, Netherlands, Prime Minister of Curacao, Sri Lanka, the UK and the U.S. Excellent closing remarks by Marijke Wijnroks from the Global Fund and a lot of praise from the Special Advisor and others who commented on the uniqueness of having an entirely youth-led panel. It was also the only event which went beyond the usual political correctness and “global talk” in other panels and side events. Our young people spoke with passion about difficult and sensitive issues, such as sexual rights, LGBTI people, and the human face of the epidemic but also about the strong, meaningful and influential role young people can play in making a difference and holding governments to account. All government representatives - despite their crazy schedules - stayed until the very end.

There was been a lot of attention in the past days on the implementation of the SDGs going forward, in particular the accountability agenda and the indicator-setting process which is still ongoing until March 2016. On health in particular, there were many discussions on how to move forward with the implementation and progress monitoring of universal health coverage (UHC) and how this will be linked to, amongst others, the new Gates Primary Healthcare Performance Initiative (PHCPI) to foster accountability and monitoring in health systems strengthening, which will be launched in New York tomorrow, as well as health financing.

The Alliance will continue to be represented here in the coming days, attending a number of other events and important discussions. Follow us on twitter @theaidsalliance.