In spite of tremendous progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the struggle to “End AIDS” is far from being victorious. Much more hard work and resources are needed if the millions still without diagnosis or treatment will be reached. Leading the fight on the global level is UNAIDS, which has also been at the forefront of supporting the participation of civil society in the response to HIV, both down on the ground and up at the decision making board, known as the Programme Coordinating Board (PCB). This civil society participation, through a NGO Delegation, is important, and has many elements that could be models for other UN agencies, including the WHO, UNDP, UN Women and even the World Bank. We think this Delegation is worth learning about, and supporting.
UNAIDS was the first United Nations programme to have formal civil society representation on its governing body. The position of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board is critical for the effective inclusion of community voices in the key global policy forum for AIDS.
Five NGOs, three from developing countries and two from developed countries or countries with economies in transition, represent the perspectives of civil society, including people living with HIV to the UNAIDS board. They can serve for up to three years and have non-voting status. The 5 organisations have one representative each and they are supported by 5 other NGO organisations, which stand as alternate members.
According to its website, “The NGO representatives actively seek input from their respective communities on key issues related to UNAIDS policies and programs, and advocate with Members States (governments) and Cosponsoring organizations (the ten United Nations organizations that make up the UNAIDS Joint Programme) for meaningful improvements in the implementation and evaluation of AIDS policies and programmes”. In other words, the Delegation is on on the right (fast) track.
The next meeting of the PCB is 6-8 December – follow it online and lend a hand to the NGO Delegation.