African Union Ministers of Health gathered for their 5th Session from 17-21 April 2011 in Windhoek, Namibia. In preparation for this meeting, representatives of civil society groups responding to HIV and AIDS throughout the African region met on the 14 and 15 April to develop a common position on the progress towards Universal Access in Africa.
The outcome of civil society’s meeting is the “African Civil Society Declaration on the Review of Progress towards Universal Access to HIV and AIDS Prevention, Treatment, Care and Support in Africa” (available in English and French). The paper was presented to the African Union Technical Experts, where recommendations were discussed in relation to the AU, UNAIDS and WHO regional progress reports.
During the 5th Session, held under the theme “The Impact of Climate Change on Health and Development in Africa”, the Ministers of Health discussed the various recommendations and adopted a common position, which will contribute to the discussions in New York during the High Level Meeting.
The draft “Africa Common Position To the High-level Meeting of the UN General Assembly Special Session on AIDS (June 2011)” considered several of the points civil society raised in its common position, however, some key elements were left out, including: identification of the key populations at higher risk of HIV; revision of text related to providing HIV-related services to ‘the greatest share of new infections’; language related to revising or setting new targets for 2015; increased domestic resources and mechanisms to monitor how funds are spent; and impact on the lives of individuals and communities.
The hope is that civil society groups in Africa will be able to use the Africa Common Position, along with the African civil society position paper (and the regional position papers) when lobbying their governments, including in the negotiations of the Outcomes document and various meetings which are currently being organized to prepare for the High Level Meeting in June in New York City.
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