by Charles King – USA & North America Delegate
Substantial change is potentially underway, measuring the overall performance of the UNAIDS Programme as well as the Programme’s performance in relation to Civil Society. UNAIDS is gearing up for its Mid-Term Review at the June 2014 PCB Meeting. As part of that process, the Secretariat hosted a technical consultation on programmatic and financial accountability on October 22nd. At this meeting, the work of two consultants, David Hales and Luisa Orza, was presented, making recommendations regarding the many indicators that are presently used to review UNAIDS performance. The key recommendation regarding the overall performance review was to relegate all but eight of the 122 indicators currently collected as background information, and to focus on the remaining eight key indicators as a set to evaluate the work of the joint program. This is intended to narrow the focus on actual outputs of the joint program, with two of the indicators clearly tying in financial accountability. The goal is a much more simplified way to review that only looks at the work of the programme itself.
The biggest change proposed is in relation to Civil Society. At the urging of the NGO Delegation, Orza was hired to review the Civil Society indicators, which have never been satisfactory to the NGO Delegation and to propose alternative ways of measuring UNAIDS’ work in that regard. As with the overall measures, the existing indicators would be left intact, but used only as background. Meanwhile, the consultant’s report, which was strongly endorsed by the NGO Delegation, recommended developing a new questionnaire based on Annex 5 of the UNAIDS guidance for partnerships with civil society, including people living with HIV, women and girls, and HIV and key populations. This will allow for better collection of directly attributable activity and outcomes by the Programme, working to strengthen Civil Society.
In addition, the consultants recommended that this questionnaire be supplemented by continued refinement of the UNAIDS Co-Sponsors’ Civil Society Working Paper, which was published as a supplement to the Unified Budget Results Accountability Frameowork (UBRAF) Performance Monitoring Report in April 2013 to reflect the collaborations with and resourcing of Civil Society. Finally, the report recommended the use of objective case studies that provide successes, illuminate gaps and highlight lessons learned. The NGO Delegation strongly supported these proposals, adding that the case studies should be prepared by an objective third party.
Many countries participating in the technical consultation strongly supported these recommendations. While the final report from the consultation has not yet been released, the NGO Delegation is hopeful that these proposed changes will better measure the Programme’s engagement with Civil Society, which, in many countries, is the only stakeholder representing and serving key populations.