NGO Delegate Kenly Sikwese, Africa
“Chair, the NGO Delegation welcomes the Report of the Executive Director. We applaud the Executive Director’s insistence that we need to be bolder and not be afraid to demand and expect a global commitment to end AIDS.
The delegation is in agreement and is also concerned that our agenda is unfinished, and that AIDS should not be lost in broad-ranging Sustainable Development Goals, and that we cannot afford to backslide. That is why the delegation supports the High Level Meeting in 2016, setting of an ambitious target and looking forward to getting involved and contributing to their success.
The NGO delegation agrees with the Executive Director that the knowledge of what we ought to do in ending aids must not be seen as a feel-good ambition, but comes with the responsibility of making the significant and achievable investment towards this goal. It will also require us to touch upon difficult issues, such as supporting discussions around sexual rights. Civil society needs all of you, both member states and co-sponsors, to explicitly support spaces throughout the UN system to freely discuss sexual and reproductive health AND RIGHTS, and comprehensive sexuality education for young people and adolescents, as this will be key to advancing a long-term approach to reduce stigma and empower women and girls. This is becoming more and more difficult in a world where we see conservative voices advancing, and countries heavily affected by HIV implementing punitive laws, stigma and discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status.
We also would like to see more specific support for the role played by civil society, and in this regard, putting in place mechanisms to support Community System Strengthening is a key agenda. We also need to collectively combat the shrinking space within which civil society is permitted to operate in certain countries. This includes both formal laws that limit civil society funding and activities and more informal pressure to keep us in our place, all of which handicap our ability to play an effective role in the AIDS response.
Inadequate resources will be an overarching issue and a major challenge to ending AIDS. The delegation notes the need to address social determinants of HIV and health and proposes that the UNAIDS Joint Programme, in keeping with the agenda developed at the UNAIDS/World Bank Summit this last January, lead an innovative drive to mobilize resources for HIV to deal with social determinants. These ideas should include progressive taxation and the involvement of financial markets, including through Financial Transaction Taxes.
The delegation also applauds the Executive Director’s report in reporting about countries and programmes moving towards ‘test and treat’ programmes, noting that earlier antiretroviral initiation rapid expansion of treatment through community led service delivery models is a core element in ending AIDS by 2030 until, indeed the cure for HIV.”