Agenda 5: UBRAF Expanded Analysis
By Jeffry Acaba
Thank you, Chair.
The NGO Delegation appreciates the careful yet critical efforts being made by the UNAIDS Secretariat together with the Co-Sponsors to mitigate the budgetary shortfall that we are facing.
The UNAIDS Strategy 2016-2021 calls for fast-tracking the AIDS response by frontloading global AIDS investments to US$26.2 billion by 2020, in order to give that necessary momentum to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. This US$26.2 billion already includes the US$13 billion, more or less, that has been raised during the recently concluded Global Fund Replenishment. The needed money to fully fund the UBRAF seems like a small small amount compared to that, and yet we are being trapped into a debate of competing priorities in terms of funding and overlapping of division of labor. It has been made clear in this PCB Meeting of the Joint Programme’s role as a unique programme under the United Nations and that the programme remains relevant and its contributions remain necessary in meeting the Fast Track targets to end the AIDS epidemic.
But what would be the negative impact of the current funding situation in achieving the UNAIDS Strategy? What would be the impact of closing down the subregional focal point in Fiji which leaves the entire Pacific behind? What would be the negative impact of losing UNODC regional HIV advisors as raised yesterday by Harm Reduction International and HIV/AIDS Alliance? What would be the impact of losing Co-Sponsors presence in non-Fast Track countries like the Mongolia, Nepal, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka? We are deeply concerned, and as Board members, we would be interested to see, in light of the robust operating model, an assessment of the anticipated negative impact of the current funding situation for achieving the UNAIDS Strategy, including projections for the next biennium, particular its effects on the support to community mobilization, participation, and advocacy efforts being done at regional and global levels.
It is too early to celebrate and even presents some complacency in the narrative that we “can end AIDS by 2030.” AIDS IS NOT YET OVER. We have increasing new HIV infections among adolescents and an unforeseen rise of new infections among older persons above 50 in many places. People living with HIV across the age spectrum are still dying by the hour because of lack of access to ART and related services. Having HIV, using drugs, loving someone of the same gender, doing sex work, and being who you are is still tantamount to being put to jail or worse, being killed. AIDS is not yet over, and that means we should not stop putting money to HIV and to the Joint Programme.
Finally, I would like to put your attention to the flowers that you have received from the NGO Delegation. This is our small way of saying “thank you” to the Member States that were able to commit funds to the 2016 UBRAF, sometimes despite significant financial and political difficulties. We thank you for your commitment to the Joint Programme, who in their convening power and capacity, have remarkably enabled community engagement in all levels, including here in the PCB.