We recognize and welcome UNAIDS and Executive Director’s commitments to work with countries to explore and create an enabling environment for the implementation of Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) flexibilities. However, the Programme Coordinating Board NGO Delegation is very concerned that the supply of generic anti-retrovirals (ARVs), especially the newer, more optimal and forgiving treatment regimens, are under threat because of:
1) The deadline for TRIPS compliance;
2) Countries’ lack of understanding on TRIPS flexibilities and their national legislation barriers to the implementation of TRIPS flexibilities; and
3) TRIPS-plus that is now being imposed through bilateral investment trade agreements or economic partnership agreements.
Our constituencies feel strongly that there must be a compromise, or middle ground, between the rent-seeking behaviour of pharmaceuticals and access to drugs used to treat life-threatening illnesses such as HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria. The life of patents must be shortened, and a fair royalty needs to be determined for the patent holder.
UNAIDS can protect access to medicines and the right to health by promoting anti-competition laws, generating evidence-based assessments of prospective trade agreements.
UNAIDS should consider using its influence to promote the adoption of regulatory environments that facilitate South-South cooperation and technology transfer.
UNAIDS can also help governments to develop capacity to implement public health-sensitive intellectual property policies which include encouraging and supporting these governments to review their laws and policies to make full use of TRIPS flexibilities.
We welcome the explicit language on elimination of gender inequality and gender-based violence. As well, we welcome the momentum and specific language to increase the capacity of women and girls to themselves along with the efforts to operationalize new approaches to accelerate gender equality and achieve the Millennium Development Goals 3, 5 and 6.
The development of an essential package of HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights interventions, to be launched in 2012, is a very positive and important contribution to protect women from HIV. As such, we were pleased with the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS (GCWA)/ATHENA Accountability Tool which builds on the and advances the “In Women’s Words: HIV Priorities for Positive Change” Action Agenda. The tool seeks to ensure that commitments to women’s rights, and in particular sexual and reproductive health and rights, are upheld and advanced through the HIV response and highlights the priority actions that will be required from all stakeholders to ensure that we achieve these goals. Additionally, the tool provides a mechanism for simplifying and monitoring the HLM commitments to women and girls.
While we welcome the announcement that UNAIDS will be establishing new partnerships to implement the Agenda for Women and Girls, including faith-based organizations and parliamentarians and other partners, to identify opportunities for joint actions to address gender inequalities, we note that these partnerships must be highly inclusive of networks and organizations of women and women living with HIV.