by Bryan Teixeira
The NGO Delegation welcomes UNAIDS’ engagement with civil society. We know that UNAIDS has engaged with civil society in a variety of ways. However, the NGO Delegation proposes a reality check regarding two specific current threats to the meaningful involvement of civil society and key populations, including children and youth, in addressing the HIV epidemic.
Firstly, we note an erosion of enabling environments in certain parts of the world that is undermining the ability of key populations to easily access HIV services and for the wider civil society to actively support them in this effort. We understand that a key aspect of this of this erosion is a matter of a lack of protective and progressive legal frameworks aligned with a renewed stigma and prejudice at least partly resulting from a rise in various forms of religious fundamentalism.
We affirm and continue to value the vital role of faith-based healthcare professionals as partners in HIV prevention, treatment and care. However, we call on UNAIDS to elaborate a strategy to specifically address the spread of religious fundamentalism relative to its impact on universal access to HIV services.
Secondly, we note on one hand the recognition of the importance of keeping civil society and key communities in the front of the AIDS response, while on the other hand we observe that the funds for civil society continue to decrease. We have explored this discrepancy in detail in a previous report to the PCB and would now like to remind the PCB of the relevant approved decision points from the 30th PCB:
5.3 Requests UNAIDS, in collaboration with Member States, to advocate that existing funding for civil society be continued and that mechanisms for civil society support and accountability be enhanced within the new Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria architecture including through the national Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Country Coordination Mechanisms;
5.4 Requests UNAIDS, in coordination with Member States, to improve civil society capacity to advocate for efficient, culturally-sensitive and effective responses to HIV and AIDS in alignment with the 2011 Political Declaration and to build knowledge focused on HIV funding mobilization, and mobilising to address barriers to the AIDS response, especially in the field of prevention, treatment, care and support in particular those addressed in paragraph 71 of the 2011 Political Declaration;
5.5 Requests UNAIDS to propose ways forward and options to address the documented decreases in funding especially affecting developing countries and to support Member States’ and civil society’s capability to meet the goals laid out in the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS and the HIV-related Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
We call on UNAIDS to take active steps to implement these approved decision points and to report to the PCB on its progress in 2014.