Delivered by Charanjit Sharma, Asia and the Pacific, on behalf of the NGO Delegation
Thank you Chair.
I speak on behalf of the NGO Delegation.
Last week, the global community observed the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. Historically, this date has been used by governments to showcase their so-called “achievements” in drug control efforts, based on coercion. A similar community-led campaign Global Day of Action takes place on, or around, 26th June as ‘Support Don’t Punish’ which aims to show the necessity of law reform and harm reduction to change the narrative on drug use. Networks of people who use drugs, including the International Network of People who Use Drugs strongly affirm the right to self-determination, self-empowerment and peer leadership in all political, social and cultural reform efforts.
Drug use in most countries is vertically managed by three to five government ministries, including HIV departments. This often means three to five policies, funding streams, and sometimes mandates. In Asia, too many countries criminalize people who use drugs at the expense of the right to health. As a Delegation, we urge Member States to put people and the right to health at the centre of all policies, rather than having a myopic and unrealistic focus on drug control. Only then can we stop deaths from HIV, overdose, HCV, and now COVID 19.
When we look at the reporting in the UBRAF reports, we note with concern several issues. With many countries moving towards domestic financing, we note much of this funding comes with restrictions, including social enabling activities, advocacy, human rights, and gender sensitive activities. These circumstances clearly indicate shrinking space of civil society and most importantly, the shrinking of funding for community-led responses. The NGO Delegation urges the Joint Programme and Member States to increase investment in community-led initiatives, in accordance with the recently adopted Political Declaration and Global AIDS Strategy. Key populations, including people who use drugs, must be meaningfully involved in decision-making in the policies and programmes that affect our lives, at all levels.
We are facing complex challenges that we simply cannot solve in isolation. Working in close partnership with UNAIDS, UN cosponsors and donor agencies over the next ten years will benefit us all.
Thank you for your kind attention.
Tags: 48th PCB Meeting
Delivered by Alexander Pastoors, Europe, on behalf of the NGO Delegation
Thank you chair,
The NGO Delegation welcomes the reports from the external and internal auditor and welcomes with appreciation the first report of the ethics office.
Let me start by saying that the NGO Delegation acknowledges the fact that the Secretariat , compared to the state of the organisation three years ago, in the handling of cases of abuse of power, sexual and other forms of harassment, has made significant progress in making sure that UNAIDS is a safe workspace for all of its staff. Concrete steps are being undertaken to change the culture in the organisation and just like in any other organisation, whether that be in the business or not-for-profit sector, cultural change needs time.
Reading through the reports one can not suppress a sensation of deja-vu. The outcome of both the global staff survey and the survey of the USSA painfully lay bare that there are still many areas where extra steps need to be taken by senior management to resolve issues around racism, sexism, harassment, and abuse of authority. It’s disheartening to read that it takes so long to update the service level agreement with IOS. Nevertheless we appreciate that the memorandum of Understanding between WHO and UNAIDS is being finalised. We sincerely hope that the extra capacity will give a boost to the internal justice system and will contribute to the much needed work in rebuilding the trust between staff and senior management.
Chair and colleagues of the PCB, I’m certain that all of us in this meeting are affected in one way or the other by the COVID-pandemic. It’s been a hard year. Some of us have lost family, lovers, friends and colleagues to COVID. Civil Society organisations have struggled with budget cuts and the impact of lockdowns on services for communities. Many key populations have suffered from backlashes from authoritarian regimes in the wake of the pandemic. All of this affects our physical and mental health.
The joint program is of course also affected by COVID. Therefore I think we need to look at these reports in the context of a global pandemic, budget cuts and an alignment process. Any of these issues in itself would lead to stress and anxiety among staff, let alone if they coincide all three in one year. It is therefore difficult to measure the efficacy of the policies put in place over the last two years.
In conclusion, the NGO Delegation urges the Secretariat and especially senior management to continue the course of cultural change of the organisation and to redouble its efforts to make sure that UNAIDS is an exemplary organisation with zero tolerance of any form of harassment and abuse of power.
Delivered by Jonathan Gunthorp, Africa, on behalf of the NGO Delegation
Thank you Chair I speak on behalf of the NGO Delegation
In this brief time I will highlight just three issues:
The first is appreciation. UNAIDS is indeed unique in being a joint programme of the United Nations. Without cosponsors, it would not exist, and without the dedication of those in the cosponsors, including individuals in this meeting today, it would be immeasurably weaker. We wish to recognise those individuals and the cosponsoring agencies, and in particular their support at global level for our constituencies. Thank you.
We appreciate too the CCO Report reflecting backwards on 40 years of HIV responses, and on the 25years of the Joint Programme, and on the successes, failures, and unfinished business of this time. It is particularly appropriate to look backwards at this juncture at which the new Global AIDS Strategy, the High Level Meeting Political Declaration, and the new UBRAF all come together to guide the future of the response. As we move forward to new indicators, new funding emphases, and new delivery, we must not let go of work undone, poorly done, or uncompleted.
The second issue, is that with the new focus worldwide, and in the Joint Programme on the needs of people on the move, and the recognition that these people are not homogenous, it is becoming increasingly an anomaly that IOM is not here as a cosponsor. Their status achieved as a UN related organisation since the 2016 HLM makes this more plausible, and their unique mandate compliments those of existing cosponsors, in particular, the mandate elements of protection of migrants and displaced people in migration-affected communities, as well as in areas of refugee resettlement, and supporting incorporation of migration in country development plans.
The process for this to be considered is clear, and we shall follow up.
And finally, we look to cosponsors for changes in their programming following the HLM and new Global AIDS Strategy, and in sync with the newly emerging UBRAF. In particular, we’ll be following whether you are ‘putting your money where your mouths are’ with regard to acting on the inequality framework; scale up of communities in the response; key population support at all levels; and the protection of civil society space in these times of attack – the latter two not just globally as we have come to expect but in every country in which you operate and in every programme.
I thank you Chair.
Delivered by Dr. Karen Badalyan, Europe, on behalf of the NGO Delegation
Dear Chair, colleagues,
I am honoured to speak on behalf of the NGO Delegation to the PCB. At the outset, I wish to thank the Executive Director for her continued vision and commitment in leading UNAIDS, and the staff for their ongoing dedication and contributions towards ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
And of course, thank you for your synopsis of what the Joint Programme has been able to achieve, highlighting not only the engagements and successes, but also gaps that require urgent investment and action.
As the NGO Delegation, we completely share your vision that the HIV response is not just all about statistics, but actually people and lives. We note the pragmatic changes under your leadership, the narrative for people and communities who are left behind and catch-up strategies to ensure that their emerging needs and priorities are supported through community and key population-led responses. However, we would like to see more people-oriented reporting that talks to quality of life indicators and impact of the interventions, rather than politically motivated reporting, or just statistics and listing of activities.
UNAIDS is currently at an important chapter in its existence, with a new Global AIDS Strategy and Political Declaration asking us to refocus our work on closing gaps and focusing our energy on human-centered AIDS response to facilitate a stronger UNAIDS. We appreciate that the culture transformation initiative is in the due focus of your daily work to ensure that UNAIDS is a safe, equal and empowering workplace for all. This will be a critical time for the Joint Program to model adherence to core values and principles in all its work, both internally and externally.
Winnie, you said that this is your fourth PCB meeting, and the world has changed more than we could ever have imagined. This is my fourth PCB as well and I would say that the UNAIDS too has changed more than we have imagined. About two years ago, I entered into a binary UNAIDS but today we are seeing some openness within UNAIDS to conversations exploring non-binary values. We urge UNAIDS to continuously strive towards becoming a partnership that catalyzes the translation of political commitments into action, prioritising the leadership and meaningful involvement of PLHIV and key populations, and pushing for the removal of punitive and discriminatory laws, policies, and practices that block effective responses to HIV.
The zero draft of the 2022-2026 Unified Budget, Results and Accountability Framework (UNAIDS) for the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) is now available. The document is set to be approved by the PCB members during its upcoming 48th meeting. The UBRAF will set out the Joint Programme's actions to support the Global AIDS Strategy's implementation. The final framework, workplan and budget are scheduled to be presented and approved by the PCB during a special session in September 2021. And the indicators for the new UBRAF will be presented and proved by the PCB on its 49th regular meeting in December.
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