(updated; originally posted 31 Jan 2012)
UNAIDS has published the much anticipated guidance for partnerships with civil society, including people living with HIV and key populations (pdf). The creation of this document was based on a decision point from the conclusions of the Second Independent Evaluation (SIE) of UNAIDS at the 25th PCB meeting in December 2009, which requested that:
…the UNAIDS Secretariat to work with Cosponsors to develop an overarching partnership strategy with clear and measurable objectives with distinct strategies for working with both civil society and people living with HIV, and for working with global health initiatives such as the Global Fund, PEPFAR and other bilateral and development partners. Subsidiary recommendations are to:
- develop a shared vision of the potential and expected benefits from civil society and People Living with HIV involvement, a clear set of objectives and a more systematic approach to documenting outcomes;
- develop a common approach across the secretariat and cosponsors to engagement with and capacity-building support for civil society and organizations of People Living with HIV;
- increase support at global and country levels for empowerment and participation of key populations; and
- strengthen efforts to engage with the private sector, including addressing the respective roles of the secretariat and ILO
With UNAIDS’ increasing engagement with civil society through advocacy of representation, capacity-building, and facilitation of resource mobilization, the Joint Programme still needed to increase its investment and inclusiveness in its outreach and to evaluate the impacts of its work. The intent was also to look at how Cosponsors and the Secretariat engage with civil society coherently. You can read the SIE report summary prepared by the NGO Delegation here and the Delegation’s response.
From the time the request for a strategy was approved, the NGO Delegation had pressed UNAIDS to follow-up with the work and consultations. A decision point proposed by the Delegation at the June 2011 28th PCB meeting, guaranteed that the guidance document would be completed by December 2011.
The Delegation, throughout the writing process, tried to ensure that the document properly addressed engagement at all levels and across Cosponsors and included capacity-building and a commitment to people living with HIV and key populations. The Delegation also successfully advocated that UNAIDS’ Unified Budget, Results and Accountability Framework (UBRAF) make funding to civil society more explicit through indicators; the UBRAF includes a simplified accountability and monitoring framework to show how the Secretariat and Cosponsors carry out the agreed UNAIDS strategy at the global, regional and country levels and so it is the place to monitor all areas of work. However, better indicators and practical assessment measures still need to be identified and developed in the UBRAF to ensure strong monitoring.
The UNAIDS PCB NGO Delegation welcomes the development of the guidance for partnerships with civil society, but notes that the guidance still focuses its strategy on lessons learned rather than creating a forward-looking strategy. It is essential then that there is an ongoing review and evaluation of its implementation. The Delegation will continue to work with the UNAIDS Board to ensure that the partnership guidance meets the intent of the original decision point to have a coherent, measurable way of working with civil society.
Note: The partnership guidance working group is identifying any forthcoming meetings or conferences at which the distribution of the guidance or the hosting of a workshop detailing the guidance would be possible. Please contact the Delegation with any suggestions.