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Act now to see strong HIV commitments in June

4. May 2011

    This week, negotiations have started in New York on a document that will encapsulate the outcome of the 2011 UN Review on AIDS. This review aims to assess progress made in the global HIV response over the last ten years. In particular, governments are analyzing the implementation of commitments made in the UN Declarations in 2001¹ and 2006². One such commitment promised to deliver universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010. But this has not yet become a reality.

    The new outcome document is expected to be formally adopted by governments at a High-Level Meeting in New York on 8-10 June. As a result, State Missions in New York involved in the negotiations on the document are now consulting with their advisors in their home capitals for policy input. It is therefore important that civil society lobbies these advisors to ensure that the outcome document is as strong as possible.

    To support this process, the EAA, in consultation with its members and partners, has developed talking points for religious leaders and faith-based representatives as they meet with their government representatives in their home countries. The talking points support wider civil society advocacy messages included in a Civil Society Declaration that has also been developed to support country-level negotiations.

    The main message of the EAA talking points is that ‘Progress has been made but it is not enough and will be lost if political will and financial commitments are reduced now’. In particular, they outline specific commitments that governments should take to address the root causes of vulnerability to HIV, achieve universal access and ensure accountability and sufficient resources.

    Notably, key issues raised in the EAA talking points but lacking emphasis in the draft outcome document that is currently the basis of the negotiations include: the importance of the role of religious leaders and faith-based organizations in the response to HIV; the need for community systems strengthening as well as health systems strengthening; the centrality of care and support – including spiritual support – to achieving Universal Access; and the need for further UN-wide reviews to track the implementation of the new commitments contained in the outcome document.

    What you can do

    1. Organize a meeting with your government in May. Download the Civil Society Declaration and the EAA’s talking points for faith-based representatives from http://www.e-alliance.ch/en/s/hivaids/accountability/ungass/. To receive a copy of the zero draft of the outcome document, please email Ruth Foley at rfoley@e-alliance.ch

    2. Hold a Parallel Prayer Breakfast in June. On 10 June, EAA members and partners are holding an Interfaith Prayer Breakfast in New York. The event will promote leadership and accountability for the implementation of the new outcome document. In particular, it will bring together leaders from different sectors, including religious leaders, political leaders, business leaders, people living with HIV and representatives of key population groups, with a view to forging new partnerships for strengthened collaboration in the response to HIV. The event will be webcast. Why not consider holding a parallel event in your community? Contact Ruth Foley at rfoley@e-alliance.ch for more information.

    [1] http://www.unaids.org/en/media/unaids/contentassets/dataimport/publications/irc-pub03/aidsdeclaration_en.pdf

    [2] http://www.unaids.org/en/media/unaids/contentassets/dataimport/pub/report/2006/20060615_hlm_politicaldeclaration_ares60262_en.pdf

The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is a broad international network of churches and Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on food and HIV and AIDS. The Alliance is based in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, see http://www.e-alliance.ch/

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