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.
From 10-11 June in New York, a high-level meeting on AIDS will beheld to assess progress in international efforts thus far in implementing the 2001 Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and the 2006 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS. General Assembly resolution A/Res/62/178, adopted on 19 December 2007, called for the comprehensive review of progress, which comes at the mid-point towards the goal of Universal Access to comprehensive prevention programmes, treatment, care and support by 2010 and the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. The 2008 high-level meeting will also serve to share best practices and lessons learned, as well as identify the obstacles and challenges remaining and sustainable ways to overcome them.
The 2008 high-level meeting (HLM), organized by the Office of the President of the General Assembly (OPGA) with support from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) will bring together Member States, UN agencies, inter-governmental organizations, health officials, people living with HIV, NGOs, including organizations of women and young people, girls and boys and men, faith-based organizations and the private sector. It will include plenary meetings, five thematic panel discussions and a civil society hearing. The outcome of the HLM will be a Summary of the General Assembly President, reflecting the views expressed during the discussions. A number of side events will be held prior to and during the high-level meeting.
A Civil Society Task Force has been set up, in cooperation with the Civil Society Support Mechanism, to support UNAIDS and the OPGA in key decisions relating to the attendance and participation of civil society organizations and the private sector in the HLM. Task Force member include representatives from civil society, the private sector and relevant UN focal points.
The OPGA has requested the UNAIDS Secretariat to convene a Civil Society Task Force (CSTF) to support effective and meaningful participation of civil society organizations and the private sector in the HLM. A Task Force of 12 individuals has been appointed and includes a broad range of civil society representatives, who are from geographically diverse countries, and is comprised of: three representatives of networks of people living with HIV; three representatives from marginalized communities (men who have sex with men; sex workers; people who use drugs); one UNAIDS PCB NGO delegate; a representative of the labour sector; a representative of the private/business sector; a representative from a women’s organization; a representative from a youth organization; and a representative from a faith-based organization.
The members of the Task Force are: Claudia Ahumada, Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights/World AIDS Campaign; Elina Azaryan, East European and Central Asian Union of PLHIV/ICW; Robert Carr, Global Forum on MSM and HIV/ Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition; Syed Asif Altaf Chowdhury, International Transport Worker’s Federation; Vince Crisostomo, Seven Sisters (Coalition of Asia Pacific Regional Networks on HIV/AIDS); Stijn Goossens, International Network of People Who Use Drugs; Linda Hartke, Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance; Laxmi Tripathi, Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers; Zonnibel Woods, International Women’s Health Coalition; Rolake Odetoyinbo, Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS; Liilian Mworkeo, International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS; Patricia Mugambi, Ndegwa, Global Business Coalition; Co-Chair: Kieran Daly, ICASO and on behalf of the Civil Society Support Mechanism; and Co-Chair: Kate Thomson, UNAIDS.
The Task Force has worked with UNAIDS and the OPGA to advise on key aspects of the HLM and has lead on: shaping and implementing the design for the Civil Society Hearing on the first day of the HLM including format, topics, messages and speakers; devising criteria and the call for nominations for civil society speakers; identifying, preparing and briefing civil society speakers for all formal sessions; and briefing civil society participants in the HLM. It has also advised on issues related to accreditation and attendance; themes of the panel discussions and civil society participation; proposed civil society plenary speakers; recommendations to the chairs of the panel discussions, amongst others.
Ahead of the HLM, the Task Force gathered three times to discuss a range of topics. During their April meeting, the Task Force recommended “Action for Universal Access 2010: Myths and Realities” as an umbrella theme for the Civil Society Hearing, which would include issues not covered during the thematic panel discussions, such as: people who use drugs; sex work; access to treatment for people living with HIV; sexual minorities; children and HIV; travel restrictions, migration and mobility; young people living with HIV, amongst others.
Background Documents: Report of the Secretary-General (A/62/780)Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS: midway to the Millennium Development Goals.