31st UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board Meeting
NGO Delegates for North America and Latin America and the Caribbean
The NGO Delegation acknowledges the efforts and work done by the UNAIDS Secretariat, the consultants and the reference group to develop this Report.
Our main concern is that after two years of implementation of the Agenda, there are still few advances in its implementation at country level. Although actions have been developed, as was expressed in the report, that contribute to strengthening women’s and girls’ issues and rights in HIV responses, many of these are not directly linked to the Agenda. Also there is no clear evidence as to which of the results can be directly attributed to the implementation of the Agenda.
We emphasize the need to use the next two years remaining for full implementation to overcome the challenges and limitations noted in the report and to develop a plan to address them by the UNAIDS Secretariat and the Cosponsors. Lack of coordination was clearly expressed as a significant barrier to implementation of the Agenda. With the incorporation of UN Women as a new Cosponsor, we see a real opportunity to increase actions for gender equality and the integration of a gender perspective in the epidemic. However, to maximize these additional and all other efforts, transparency and coordination will be essential, supported by strengthened planning and partnership with the Global Fund, PEPFAR and others. With coordination there can be an increased ability to address the other main challenges identified at country level, including but not limited to: (1) limited funding; (2) low meaningful engagement of women’s rights organizations and women living with HIV; and (3) strengthened governmental commitment.
There are also many difficulties in measuring the financial spending to implement the Agenda. It is important to incorporate strong and precise mechanisms for measuring Agenda implementation at country level, including consistent tracking of resources for women and girls programs. These should be included especially in the UBRAF, notably C3 and C4, to be able to measure and should start in 2013. We propose the revisited UBRAF be presented in the 32nd PCB meeting.
Limited funding for the Agenda has been a strong concern among women’s organizations and networks since the Agenda’s launch. Therefore, it’s necessary to increase the funds allocated to implement the Agenda and we call on all stake holders to increase their contributions.
We emphasize the need to incorporate gender equity and issues related to women and girls in the Strategic Investment Framework. Gender equality needs to be incorporated as a cross cutting issue and supported by the development of tools to strengthen the use of SIF at country level.
We also call attention to the Agenda’s scorecard. The scorecard provided a key opportunity to capture country realities for women and girls. While we have global indicators that are disaggregated by age and sex, the scorecard reflects that this data is not captured in many countries and this poses huge data and service losses for women and girls. Due to lack of data collection mechanisms, much of what we know to service gaps in prevention, treatment, care and complimentary health and rights services women and girls were not well captured or fully quantified. The report features country examples that showcase the broad benefits of investment in data systems that increase countries’ abilities to “know their epidemic” and effectively respond. We encourage other countries to follow these examples. As women, we must be counted!
Although the principles of the Agenda emphasize the need for meaningful participation of women living with HIV, women from key affected populations and women’s rights organizations in national HIV responses, there are still great difficulties in achieving this at country level. Our delegation highlights the need to provide a clear mandate to UNAIDS staff working at country level along with increased coordination with all Cosponsors to effectively implement the Agenda in partnership with women living with HIV, women’s rights organizations and women from key populations.
We recommend strengthening the incorporation of key populations of women and girls. While, key populations were mentioned in the report, it was mad clear that women and girls from key population were not well integrated and too often considered separately from “women and girls.” Instead need to be considered in all of our diversity. The specific rights and needs of all key populations of women and girls must be considered more in depth and better included.
We emphasize the need for the UNAIDS Secretariat and Cosponsors to promote more specific actions for integrating women and girls into national HIV responses, including, but not limited to: advancement and resourcing of gender ministries to strengthen country-level leadership and planning for women’s and girls’ rights; integration and coordination of sexual and reproductive health and HIV services; increasing of availability and accessibility of female condoms and other prevention tools that can prevent new HIV infections for us as women and our partners; scaling-up of new prevention technologies that can help save women’s lives; inclusion of interventions that reduce violence against women (VAW) as an essential part of the HIV/AIDS response; provision of comprehensive sexuality education for all girls and boys in and out of schools; and increasing availability of ARVs to both keep women living with HIV healthy and prevent new infections to their partners and children beyond limited treatment courses offered by narrowly focused PMTCT interventions. To strengthen the effectiveness and practical utility of these important tools, it is imperative that women’s rights organizations and women living with HIV be included to develop, deliver and monitor these essential services and commodities.
Finally, we encourage the UNAIDS Secretariat and Cosponsors to continue and increase their leadership to achieve the commitments in the Agenda and across all HIV responses to prioritize the reduction of violence against women, promotion of gender equity and secure the health and rights of all women and girls. Again, we thank UNAIDS and the Cosponsors and look forward to continuing to support the evolution and strengthening of efforts for women and girls.
We propose the following changes:
4.1 Welcomes the report of the mid-term review of the UNAIDS Agenda for Accelerated Country Action on Women, Girls, Gender Equality, and takes note of the progress made in the implementation of the UNAIDS Agenda for Women and Girls by all partners, particularly in building political commitment, strengthening the gender sensitivity of HIV responses and meaningfully engaging women, girls and other stakeholders;
4.3 Further requests UNAIDS including the Cosponsors to deliver on its accountabilities and actions, as outlined in the Agenda and the Mid-Term Review and cost these, with a commitment to mobilizing adequate resources for their implementation and for achieving results as set out in the UNAIDS Strategy and that the UBRAF be revisited and the revised section be presented at the 32nd PCB meeting.
4.5 Requests UNAIDS and Member States to support countries to ensure sustained funding for the women, girls, gender equality and HIV, as well as funding for networks of women living with HIV, women’s rights, women from key populations and other civil society partners working towards gender transformative HIV responses, including through the UBRAF and other mechanisms such as the Global Fund, as part of shared responsibility and strategic investment;