40th PCB Meeting
Agenda 1.3: Report of the Executive Director
Alessandra Nilo, LAC Delegate
Thank you, Michel, for your report. It is important to keep in mind the context we are facing, while, continuing to push for a Joint Program that is innovative and designed to lead the world in achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
The NGO Delegation has a unique responsibility with this board, which is to bring the perspectives – and expertise – of people living with, vulnerable to, marginalized and affected by HIV. And, to us, the only way to do so is to have an honest dialogue about the challenges we see.
We value UNAIDS and its unique multisectoral approach that has led the way for member states to set inspiring targets and policies. For many years, at all levels, UNAIDS has shown that it is key to meaningfully engage civil society, to promote human-rights and gender equality-based response and to address the needs of key populations. We have been able to count on timely strategic information to shape policies and programmes, and to provide better technical support to countries and communities, including to access Global Fund grants. Therefore, the global AIDS architecture, for its own sake, can’t give up on UNAIDS. We can’t give up on UNAIDS.
Although this has been reflected in the Global Review Panel process, we remain extremely concerned with the current capacity of the Joint Programme to deliver more and better – whatever the model designed –, with less funds and resources.
In the context of multiple crises, with growing conservative forces and regression of human rights, we need UNAIDS to be stronger than ever in standing with and supporting communities. Because we learned that governments won’t expand access to public health services, including to life-saving medicines, without civil society pressure. We know why we are trapped by so many crises, we know what to do to respond them and we know the players that take geopolitical moves against multilateralism and accountable democracy.
Each Board meeting, we sit in the same room, having conversations about ending AIDS: But, we need a reality check. And the reality is that communities are being left behind, country programs are closing or operating at minimum capacity and, at the global level, although the multisectoral approach called for by the SDGs is an opportunity for the Joint Programme to show its leadership, what we see, in fact, is that UNAIDS has not yet visibly taken this role.
Therefore, we are concerned. We need more effective coordination among co-sponsors and the Secretariat, with stronger accountability at all levels. For instance, this Board has been effective in adopting new ideas and tools and while that is important, it is time to strengthen UNAIDS capacity to follow up and monitor those initiatives, recognizing what works and fixing what is not working –the “ending AIDS approach” is an example of what I am saying here.
And, yes, progress has been achieved– after all, many of us continue to work tirelessly to respond to this epidemic – but AIDS is far from over. People are still dying in all continents; people still lack access to medicines and combined prevention; stigma and discrimination, violence, and human-rights violations, including gender inequalities, continue to fuel this epidemic. There is still a long way ahead and that’s why we won’t give up on UNAIDS. But #THEUNAIDSWENEED is a strong joint partnership, capable of self-criticism, learning and change, and incapable of being complacent with itself.
As the NGO Delegation, we will continue to work closely with communities, with the Secretariat, Co-Sponsors and members states, to engage in frank, constructive dialogues which will lead us to real, lasting change to improve the lives and uphold the rights of all those affected by HIV. Together, as a Board, let us ensure that the call to leave no one behind is coupled with concrete actions, coordination and accountability in all that we do. Thank you.