The United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) is an inter-agency programme of the United Nations mandated to promote and develop constructive relations between the United Nations and civil society organizations.
“UNAIDS vision of getting to zero is feasible in the next 25 years – zero new HIV infections and zero AIDS-related deaths could become concrete goals (or at least targets or indicators) in the post-2015 agenda.”
As part of the “Global Thematic Consultation on Health,” starting in January 2013, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) will hold a three week online consultation on HIV and global health. The consultation will provide civil society the opportunity to voice their ideas on how to include the HIV and AIDS debate into the post-2015 development framework, and to achieve UNAIDS’ vision of “Zero new infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.”
Positioning HIV and AIDS within the post-2015 process is of high importance, according to UNAIDS. The organization indicates that the virus is the fifth highest burden of disease globally and is the leading cause of death among the world’s girls and women aged 15-39 (17%) and the second most common cause of death for boys and men in the same age bracket (12%). Moreover, in 2011 – year of the adoption of the Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS – 7 million people eligible for HIV treatment were not yet being reached; 34 million people were living with HIV globally; 1.7 million people died of AIDS-related causes; and 2.5 million people were newly infected with HIV.
UNAIDS explains that over the past 30 years, the HIV response has achieved an unprecedented impact on global health and development, mainly through a combination of technical and political action and mobilization guided by rights-based principles, solidarity and evidence. In its most recent World AIDS Day report, UNAIDS shows that since 2001, the number of new HIV infection has dropped by over 50% across 25 countries – of which more than half are in sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, there were more than 700 000 fewer new HIV infections globally in 2011 than in 2001 and 8 million people are on antiretroviral therapy – a twenty-fold increase since 2003.
In the view of UNAIDS, lessons learned from the HIV response can help inform the entire sustainable development agenda (social, economic, environmental, human rights, peace and security) on how to speed up progress towards “Realizing the Future We Want for All,” as described in the report of the UN Secretary-General. UNAIDS has therefore drawn five key messages from the HIV response relevant for the new development agenda:
1) There can be no sustainable development without health, human rights and gender equality for all. The exercise of good governance and the protection of social justice are prerequisites.
2) The HIV response has been about people and not just a disease – in the same way, the future approach to development must be more people-centred.
3) The HIV response is pioneering a new paradigm of sustainable development and global health governance. It demonstrated that an intensive focus on a single cause of global significance can be a lever for transformative development and result in a transformative partnership agenda of shared responsibility and global solidarity.
4) With its innovative, cross-sectoral approach, the global HIV response has won unprecedented gains – while much more is needed to end the HIV epidemic.
5) The end of AIDS can be a distinctive triumph of the post-2015 development era. UNAIDS argues that its vision of getting to zero is feasible in the next 25 years and could be turned into concrete goals (or at least targets or indicators) in the post-2015 development agenda. Yet, to make this a reality, the focus should be on intensified political will, diversified investments, smart spending, flagship science, overcoming stigma and discrimination and scaling up what works to ensure that no one is left behind.
In developing a new development framework for after 2015, the United Nations strives for an inclusive process. As such, the Organization is leading various consultation processes, including: 1) country and regional consultations, 2) consultations with and for the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and 3) global thematic consultations. These consultations are being carried out in parallel, and most aim to close by March 2013 in order to contribute to the Panel’s first report to the Secretary-General, due in May 2013. In principle, each of the global thematic consultations is co-organized by two UN entities and two Member States – sometimes with additional input from other bodies within the UN.
As mentioned in the introduction of this article, UNAIDS is taking part in the “Global Thematic Consultation on Health. It will organize an online consultation on HIV and global health in January-February 2013 on the World We Want website.
The organization further envisages to:
1) secure the full participation of affected communities to amplify their voices in the debates on – and the design of – the post-2015 development agenda;
2) inform and support UN Member States to articulate the lessons learned, principles and systems established and gains made in realizing the commitments of the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS in their countries; and to
3) engage in UN-led post-2015 processes to inform the post-2015 development agenda and debate to ensure HIV issues are covered and affected communities are consulted.
For more information on the consultations, visit the “Global Thematic Consultation webpage on Health,” which is accessible here.
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