UNAIDS was the first ever United Nations programme to have civil society formally represented on its governing body – the Programme Coordinating Board (PCB). The NGO Delegation has 10 members from five geographic regions.
UNAIDS is supporting a review of the progress of NGO Delegation participation and contribution to the PCB. This will result in recommendations about how to increase the engagement and impact of civil society voices, including those of people living with HIV and key affected communities.
As part of the review, we warmly invite all civil society organisations involved in HIV (at community, national, regional or global levels) to participate in an e-survey. The survey has just 10 questions and takes about 5 minutes. It is anonymous and confidential. We welcome your views – whether you know the work of the PCB or NGO Delegation well or not.
The e-survey is available in:
The survey will be open until 14 October 2012. We are very grateful for your contribution and look forward to hearing from you.
The last independent review of the NGO Delegation and wider civil society participation at the UNAIDS Board was presented at the June 2007 20th board meeting. It offered four recommendations to increase and improve the participation of NGOs/civil society in the governance of UNAIDS:
The PCB should incorporate the recommendations of this Review into the wider assessment of its overall structure. In particular, it should ensure that a strengthened Board gives the NGO Delegation full and equal voting, speaking and chairing rights and provides a more engaging, independent and accountable global governance structure.
UNAIDS staff at all levels should further institutionalise and strengthen support to civil society participation in the PCB. The Secretariat should also review UNAIDS’ overall profile within the global response to AIDS and its involvement of civil society in processes beyond the PCB.
All relevant stakeholders – including the PCB, UNAIDS Secretariat and international donors – should endorse and mobilise resources for an independent Communication and Consultation Facility and Resource Team to enhance the participation of the NGO Delegation and wider civil society in the PCB.
All relevant stakeholders – including the PCB, UNAIDS Secretariat and international donors – should support and resource the NGO Delegation and wider civil society to systematise and improve the selection, capacity and working practices of the Delegation and the quality and strategic impact of its interventions.
In response, the PCB adopted the following decisions:
9.1 Endorses the establishment of an independent communication and consultation facility (CF) to strengthen the NGO participation and support effectiveness of NGO country-level voices in the Programme Coordinating Board policy dialogue, and requests that the CF be supported by the UNAIDS Secretariat;
9.2 Requests the UNAIDS Secretariat to provide appropriate financial support towards the further development of the recommendations in the Review of NGO/Civil Society participation in the Programme Coordinating Board;
9.3 Agrees to review the participation of the NGO Programme Coordinating Board Delegation in the Programme Coordinating Board within no more than five years; and
9.4 Decides to discuss, at the 22nd Programme Coordinating Board meeting, the forward looking mechanisms for achieving increased involvement of civil society in the Programme Coordinating Board.
The Board endorsed the establishment of a Communications Facility and requested that the Facility be supported by the UNAIDS Secretariat. Meanwhile, some other recommendations, such as that the NGO Delegation should be granted voting status, were not endorsed and many of the ‘options for action’ were not directly addressed.
At the 23rd meeting in December 2008, the NGO Delegation presented another agenda document and conference paper that called for steps and investment towards greater transparent and accountable functioning of the PCB, greater collaboration by Member States with civil society and stronger relationships between the regional representatives of the Delegation, UNAIDS and UN Cosponsors.
As a result, the PCB adopted the following decisions:
7.2 Mindful of the sovereignty and capacity of Member States:
a. Encourages Member States to consider the possibility of involving, in a capacity they deem appropriate, one or more representatives of civil society, including people living with HIV and affected communities, within their national delegations to Programme Coordinating Board meetings; and
b. Recommends that the UNAIDS Secretariat, country offices and Regional Support Teams explore and identify ways to support Member States to involve civil society in their delegations;
7.3 Requests the Programme Coordinating Board Bureau to host at least two of its meetings ‘in person’ in the lead-up to each Programme Coordinating Board meeting – and to provide resources to those members, including the representative of the NGO Delegation, that are unable to cover their costs;
7.4 Requests the Programme Coordinating Board Bureau to provide a simple ‘road map’ for how each key document for decision will be conceptualized, developed and finalized and when/how different stakeholders, including civil society, can contribute;
7.5 Encourages all relevant stakeholders to submit their key documents for decision at least 8 weeks prior to Programme Coordinating Board meetings – to facilitate timely translation and enable comprehensive consultation among all sectors, including civil society;
7.6 Requests the UNAIDS Regional Support Teams and Cosponsors to include NGO delegates, or their designated representative, in regional meetings, where appropriate;
7.7 Calls upon the Regional Support Teams to facilitate NGO regional caucuses, including people living with HIV and other key affected populations. These will be co-hosted periodically by the Regional Support Team, regional PCB NGO delegates and the PCB NGO’s Communications Facility, and could be attached to a pre-existing meeting;
7.8 Agrees to schedule an agenda item to review progress towards increasing and improving civil society participation and, in particular, to review the implementation of relevant recommendations from the Second Independent Evaluation, in a Programme Coordinating Board meeting in 2010.
7.9 Requests the UNAIDS Secretariat to prepare a paper for the 25th Programme Coordinating Board meeting that responds to the management and cost implications of the proposed recommendations presented in the PCB NGO’s paper to the 23rd Board meeting on “Increased involvement of civil society in the PCB”, and taking into account the recommendations of the Second Independent Evaluation;
In the final response in this series of reviews and decisions, UNAIDS offered at the 25th meeting in December 2009 a costed review of the Delegation’s suggestions, but there were no official decisions as a result.
Now it is time for the agreed upon 5-year review on the NGO Delegation’s participation in and contribution to the PCB and to recommend actions for increasing the engagement and impact of civil society voices in the PCB. This review will be presented at the 31st PCB in December 2012.