Innovation, Governance and Sustainability
Mr. Chairman, representatives of governments, UN Agencies and civil society colleagues, good morning. I thank UNAIDS invitation to speak in this session. I’d like to share some reflections built upon THE PARTICIPATION OF MY ORGANIZATION – GESTOS – IN THE posT-2015 negotiations, AND the third Conference on Financing for Development.
I congratulate UNAIDS for the tireless work of providing data to guide informed decisions and welcome THE RECOGNITION OF THE ROLE PLAYED BY CIVIL SOCIETY.
The critical tasks in front of us are: how to link the future AIDS responses to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda AND where will the money to overcome AIDS come from? INNOVATION, GOVERNANCE AND FINANCING ARE KEY to tackle these challenges.
We face structural and the political issues. They are like elephants in the room, but we need to address them to achieve the SDGs and the Fast Track targets.
First: Strategic investment in community responses will not happen without structural changes in the way government and donors allocate funds. We cannot continue disputing funds with education or any other health or development issues, because rights are for everyone and should be indivisible.
So specific suggestions here are: WE NEED
- A systematic way to ensure that funding reaches community groups;
- Mechanisms that consider the strategic niche for community in the governments financing plans;
- Robust indicators about the enabling environment for NGOs work and about funding allocation to our work;
In Venezuela and Bolivia, for instance NGOs have been criminalized, and international cooperation denied access to support them. “Acosados, perseguidos y en la incertidumbre.”
These are the feelings of many NGOs in my region. And, like in other parts of the globe, people living with AIDS, people who use drugs, LGBTs, migrants, indigenous populations, have been criminalized, or even murdered.
So, on the governance side it is necessary to improve effective participation by the citizenry, and to improve the conditions that determine the adequate distribution of public resources. So, in the Post-2015 era:
- People living with AIDS and key populations must be included in the SDG national Commissions that are been created at country level. FOR BOTH SDGS AND UBRAF, indicators of inclusion, empowerment of all people, transparency, promotion and guarantee of rights-based policies will be fundamental.
Secondly, as it has been repeatedly said “there is not enough money to achieve the SDGs, or the Fast Track. For civil society, the issue is the lack of political will to make decisions to address the other side of the same reality. The economic model is increasingly running out of steam and only delivering for those at the top. The 2015 Global Wealth Report, from Credit Suisse informed that the top 1% owns 50.4% of the global wealth, whereas 2.4 billion adults own only 1%. We haven’t seen this level of inequality for almost a century.
So it is clear that implementing SDGs and the fast track, will require a paradigm shift in terms of political economy mindset and power relations among the nations.
In this regard, is contradictory, to advocate here, at the PCB, that all communities should equally benefit from access high quality treatment and that one should be left behind, when, during the Addis Ababa Conference, some of the richest countries fought insistently against the idea of common but differentiated responsibilities. But for THE CSO from Latin America, the concept of CBDR is the most appropriated to be used in the AIDS response.
So, the third point is that the States must take back the driving set of development. The regulation of the private sectors will be essential for the implementation of the SDGs AND the UNAIDS fast track. TRIPS flexibilities are CENTRAL and currently we have the WTO request for extension of the TRIPS waiver for Least developed Countries. This request must be granted by the TRIPS council– despite the opposition from one country –to make sure LDC countries can expand their capacity to provide quality assured generics to PLHIV.
The Fourth issue: Expenditures on AIDS should seen as an investment and have a long-term sustainable funding approach. So investments should place people in the center and must be based on their core needs. The decisions made on macroeconomic data only is set to fail. Besides the same governments that praise UNAIDS work and insist on ambitious goals are reducing, or withdrawing, their donations to AIDS. Others, while investing on AIDS, have not yet fulfilled the almost forty years old ODA commitments[i].
It is concerning because the UN system and most countries depend too much on voluntary funding. To be transformative we need to design binding agreements to financing the SDGs and the Fast Track. It is adamant to secure a systemic flow of resources not attained by short-term private interests or voluntary assistance.
The fifth and final point: innovative mechanisms. Increasing domestic funds is important but not enough or possible in all countries. In Latin America, we fund 96% of AIDS response, but one third of the countries face a fragile condition to respond to HIV. The 2013 ECLAC report that,[ii] in all countries the internal resources are not sufficient to finance national development, especially in those with high poverty rates. It calls for a “progressive tax system worldwide and for the implementation of innovative financing mechanisms for development, such as global taxes, specially the financial transactions taxes.”
4% of the GDP will be necessary to implement the SDGs. The good news is that we know where the money is: According to the Bank of International Settlements[iii], the world financial system has a notional value of more than seventy times the size of global GDP. The derivatives market alone has eleven times more value than the world economy. The currency market by itself moves daily an average 4.3 trillion dollars.
The 2030 Agenda debates made crystal clear that the policies aligned with financial deregulation, excessive public borrowing, and increased pollution, expand inequality and threaten our very health and the health of the planet.
We specially welcome the inclusion of financial transactions taxes in the UNAIDS Background Paper for this session. It should be considered among our main strategies for it is an instrument that, besides raising systemic revenues, does help to curb illicit capital flows. One single tax of 0.05% over derivatives could raise about 68 billion dollars per year. The adoption of FTTs can provide the adequate means of implementation for governments, the UN system and civil society.
We welcome Michel’s commitment in setting up a Task Force on Financing for UBRAF. It is timely and we will support the earmarked approach for funding civil society.
Besides addressing the better use of the funds available, this task force should also define a road map on how to get the needed additional funds
In leading up for the UNGASS on Drugs and the HLM, UNAIDS should also convey “urgency” in all messages, stressing the serious challenges ahead in the AIDS response, it is not time for celebrating victories. We need to emphasize that action is needed urgently and could have a big payoff in the long run.
Failing to overcome AIDS, when we know what to do and how to do it, will be a setback. Reality check is that we can’t afford the cost of wrong choices. Let’s continue advocating for innovative and sustainable responses to AIDS that CAN BOTH contribute to the SDGs implementation AND the rise of a future global Economic Democracy. I can dream about global equality and an independent United Nations. Can you?
Thank you and let’s continue this conversation.
[i] Oficina Regional de la Federación Internacional de Planificacion Familiar (IPPF/RHO) y FORO LAC, sobre financiación de Salud Sexual y Reproductiva (SSR)
[ii] CEPAL (ECLAC). Desarrollo Sostenible En América Latina Y El Caribe: Seguimiento De La Agenda De Las Naciones Unidas Para El Desarrollo Post-2015 Y Río+20, August -2013
[iii] Bank of International Settlements. http://www.bis.org/statistics/derstats.htm