The NGO Delegation to the UNAIDS PCB applauds the selection of seasoned HIV advocate and social justice practitioner who understands the importance of meaningful engagement of people living with HIV to lead global HIV/AIDS response.
The NGO Delegation of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) joins the global community in congratulating Laurel D. Sprague, PhD, on her recent appointment as the incoming executive director of GNP+. The NGO Delegation to the PCB brings the voice, experience and expertise of civil society, people living with HIV and the organizations, which provide support and services to UNAIDS. NGO delegate membership to the PCB is recruited and selected from the following five global regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin American and North America. Dr. Sprague, who served as the PCB North American NGO Delegate from the United States from 2014 to 2016 will now move to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, to oversee the largest global network of people living with HIV as the global community seeks to end HIV/AIDS by 2030.
“Laurel brought determination, commitment and dedication to her work on the PCB, always seeking to reach consensus, agreement and advancement on some of the most challenging global issues in HIV, and I am certain she will do the same at GNP+,” said Alessandra Nilo, Director General, GESTOS, an HIV/AIDS organization in Recife, Brazil and a member of LACCASO, the Latin American and Caribbean Council of AIDS Service Organizations. “With Laurel leading GNP+, all of us working in the global south will have another colleague working alongside who understands and welcomes our unique issues, concerns and capacities.” added Ms. Nilo, Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) Delegate to the PCB.
The NGO Delegation was established to enable civil society representation to the PCB, the UNAIDS governing body. UNAIDS is the first UN programme to have civil society formally represented on its governing body. The NGO Delegation has three principal roles: participation in decision-making processes of the PCB; acting proactively to ensure civil society’s on-going participation in the global discourse; and enhancing transparency and accountability relevant to the PCB decision-making and policy setting agendas. “At a time when the global response to HIV becomes integrated into the sustainable development goals, Laurel, who puts into practice the GIPA Principles in everything she does – the Greater Involvement of People living with HIV/AIDS, will add an understanding of the importance of people living with HIV into this brand new chapter in the global response,” said Ferenc Bagyinsky, AIDS activist and program of manager, AIDS Action Europe, and NGO Delegate for Europe. He added, “we in the European community of people living with HIV look forward to having Laurel join us in Europe and to assisting her as she works to strategically position GNP+ to expand its stakeholder role beyond respondent to director in the global HIV/AIDS discourse.”
“GNP+ has been a long standing partner in the global collective and the NGO Delegation has worked with representatives from GNP+ to echo the call for shared responsibility—community and government leadership; shared accountability—reporting, monitoring and evaluating progress; and defining and delivering impact,” said Sonal Mehta, chief executive officer, HIV Alliance India. We stand ready to offer our support and technical expertise to assist Laurel in the global arena.”
“GNP+ is the premier organization of people living with HIV and Laurel is just the right individual to lead us,” said Musah El-nasoor Lumumba, youth leader and national coordinator, Uganda Youth Coalition on Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health Rights ad HIV, CYSRA. “I have worked with Laurel and know she understands the needs of young people living with HIV, especially those of us who have often felt left out of conversations about HIV prevention, care and treatment precisely because we are youth. As a member of African Young Positives Network, AY+, I look forward to working with GNP+ again, and Laurel in particular, to bring the experiences of African people to global network of people living with HIV.”
“With the new science helping us to understand the importance of ‘treatment and prevention’ Laurel, as a woman living with HIV, will bring practical experience and application of the best treatment and prevention science to inform our utilization of the best and most impactful interventions, while maintaining a keen focus on human rights and protections for people living with HIV and other vulnerable communities.” said Marsha Martin, director/coordinator, Global Network of Black People working in HIV, who replaced Dr. Sprague as the North American PCB NGO delegate from the U.S. in January 2017.
The role of the NGO Delegation is to bring to the UNAIDS PCB the perspectives and expertise of people living with, at risk of, vulnerable to, marginalized by, and affected by HIV and AIDS, as well as civil society and nongovernmental entities actively involved in the response, in order to ensure that their human rights, and equitable, gender-sensitive access to comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support services are reinforced by the policies, programmes, strategies and actions of UNAIDS and the cosponsors. The PCB is comprised of 22 member states, 11 UN cosponsors and 10 NGO delegates (five of whom are alternates). The objectives of UNAIDS and the PCB are to provide global leadership, promote global consensus, strengthen capacity of UN agencies and national governments, promote broad based political and social mobilization, and advocate for greater involvement and expanded leadership in the AIDS response. For more information, see www.unaidspcbngo.org.