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27 October 2015 – 37th UNAIDS PCB Meeting, Geneva, Switzerland

Tough times call for strong leadership from UNAIDS

That is the view of a coalition of civil society organisations, including ICAD, which released a statement in response to the new UNAIDS 2016-2021 strategy which was approved at the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) in Geneva this week.

This statement is made on behalf of Stop Aids Alliance, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, Aids Fonds/STOP AIDS NOW, the Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development (ICAD), and the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+). The statement appears in full below. 


UNAIDS PCB – Statement
Agenda Item 3
UNAIDS Strategy 2016 – 2021

We applaud UNAIDS for the strong, open and broad consultation process to update the UNAIDS strategy, and acknowledge the hard work of the Secretariat, co-sponsors, CSO and member states.

This updated version of the Strategy incorporates many of the outstanding issues that communities, people living with HIV, and civil society have continuously raised. As we mentioned in the last agenda item, now that the global development framework is in place, the focus should be on the means of implementation, including financing for the target to end AIDS.

In this statement, we would like to highlight four key points where we call upon UNAIDS to show its strong leadership:

1) intensify its leadership to fast tracking resources, both domestic and international, so to meet the global targets,

2) ensuring a robust accountability framework with the UBRAF that is laser focused on the activities for which UNAIDS is responsible, particularly in providing a global and country level yardsticks for tracking efforts to strengthen human rights and civil society – two key pillars of this renewed strategy.

3) to strengthen advocacy and technical support the strengthening of community systems and action as a critical driver of resilient health systems,

4) continue to work to keep the response a global and inclusive response and to ensure that no one is left behind.

Zero new infections and the 90-90-90 targets require a fresh look at patient-centred testing, care and treatment. It will not be possible to get there without a road map to strengthen community structures to be able to mobilise and engage those being left behind. Let us share two examples:

1. A fast-tracked response is a powerful vision but will be difficult without a prevention framework that guides national programmes and helps them to optimise investments in effective combination prevention interventions. More reliable data on the status of the epidemics among key populations is critical. The scarcity of epidemiological, but also behavioural and operational research data, on key populations in low- and middle-income countries is a major barrier to successful HIV combination prevention. The ‘know your epidemic’ should become a prerequisite step to any investment in combination prevention (rights-based) approaches, especially if we take into ‘real’ consideration fast tracking the response over the next 5 years.

2. UNAIDS has supported community responses and advocated for the scale up of community-based services from the beginning of the epidemic. The Global Fund has spearheaded the concept of community systems and created specific channels to scale up community responses. However, evidence shows that community responses are at risks. UNAIDS and SAA have recently published “Communities Deliver”, a report that evidences the impact of community action in service delivery, advocacy, research and financing and calls for a scale up in community responses, including predictable and sustained funding for communities. The new strategy makes the case for scaling up community responses; but this will need to come hand in hand with a clear framework and funding mechanisms that really help to embed the community response into health budgets and plans. A framework that links community and health systems, and that makes the case for resilient and Sustainable Systems for Health. A framework that guides donors and technical agencies to come up with an agenda to sustain and scale up community actions.

People living with HIV and Civil society more broadly have played a key advocacy role to ensure our perspectives in the updated strategy. We will continue to play a critical role in advocating for effective and inclusive means of implementation and look forward to working closely alongside member states, the UN, particularly the UNAIDS secretariat and its co-sponsors to move this agenda forward. Again, thank you for all the hard work, commitment and leadership in the process of updating the strategy.