31st October, 2015
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Programme Coordinating Board on Friday adopted a new strategy to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030.
This is contained in a statement issued by the agency at the end of the board’s 37th meeting in Geneva.
It stated that the UNAIDS 2016–2021 Strategy is one of the first in the UN system to be aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The SDGs is a framework for global development policy over the next 15 years, including ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
It added that the strategy maps out the UNAIDS Fast-Track approach to accelerate the AIDS response over the next five years to reach critical HIV prevention and treatment targets and achieve zero discrimination.
Members of the Board from across all regions called the strategy bold, ambitious, yet achievable and praised the highly inclusive and consultative process to develop it.
In his opening address, Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, described the strategy as an urgent call to front-load investment and to increase financing for HIV prevention.
Sidibé also said that the strategy would ensure that the health of the 22 million people living with HIV who are not yet accessing treatment are protected.
He said that the strategy would be an instrument for social justice and dignity.
The director said:”Our transformative strategy pushes us to cover more ground than ever before.
“It obliges us to address the critical linkages between health, injustice, inequality, poverty and conflict.”
The Board also approved UNAIDS’ operational framework and the Unified Budget, Results and Accountability Framework (UBRAF) for 2016–2021, which will translate the strategy into action at the national, regional and global levels.
It added that the strategy and UBRAF are powerful tools to accelerate the global AIDS response and guide the work of the Joint Programme.
The Board also underlined the importance of innovation and partnership in tackling complex interconnected development and health challenges and stressed that the space the strategy and UNAIDS provides for discussion is unique.
It stated that the board discussed the importance of shared responsibility and global solidarity for an effective, equitable and sustainable HIV response.
NAN reports that it was agreed that the most critical next step for achievement of the SDGs will be to have clarity on the means of implementation.
Representatives of Member States, international organisations, civil society and nongovernmental organisations attended the meeting, which was chaired by David Parirenyatwa, Minister of Health and Child Care of Zimbabwe. Switzerland served as Vice-Chair and Ukraine as Rapporteur.
At the meeting, Switzerland was elected as the 2016 Chair, Ghana as Vice-Chair and Ecuador as Rapporteur