The religious right’s misleading use of the human rights and evidence-based frameworks were on full display at the UN High-Level Meeting on AIDS.
Add United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the list of people who understand that arresting and punishing sex workers is counter-productive in the battle against HIV/AIDS. And take the government of Cambodia off that list.
Thanks to youth participation in the the 2008 UN High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS, the Civil Society Declaration emphasized youth vulnerability and young people’s concerns.
Blogging from an UNGASS side event about PEPFAR.
Around the world, more often than not, HIV is transmitted sexually. Here’s a radical idea: teach individuals about their sexuality so that they can more effectively protect themselves from sexual transmission of HIV.
Live-blogging on an UNGASS session on making the response to AIDS work for women and girls.
Live-blogging from the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS.
I am on my way back to Washington, rolling away from the rollicking clatter of New York City and the seat of international administration at which over the past week, dozens of brilliant young activists have made their presence felt as profoundly as possible. As didactic and occasionally enthralling as the meeting was, I can’t seem to shake the lingering sense of disappointment at the ultimately mediocre strength of the session’s results. The final political declaration to come out of the 2006 UNGASS review was a mixed bag; encouragingly, it included the strongest youth language ever seen in such a document, as well as a demand for national targets (if not specific quantitative nor global ones) and some mention of putting life before intellectual property rights through access to generic drugs.
Paragraph 26 reads: “(Therefore, we) commit to address the rising rates of HIV infection among young people to ensure an HIV-free future generation through the implementation of comprehensive, evidence-based prevention strategies, responsible sexual behaviours, including the use of condoms, evidence-and skills-based, youth specific HIV education, mass media interventions, and the provision of youth friendly health services.”
Here is the final Declaration of Review from the UN on HIV/AIDS following a week long Special Session of the General Assembly reviewing the historic 2001 Declaration of Commitment. It is important to note that Secretary Kofi Anan was instrumental in convening the global community in 2001 in to discuss AIDS, the first time the UN met specifically to consider a health issue. That was 20 years into the pandemic, and without his leadership it might never have happened. This review happens at a time when many question the UN and the funding commitments required to keep the body functioning.
So after months of preparation and work, we’re finally at the close of the UN High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS. Was it worth it? What did we get? What did we learn? And where do we go from here?
Let’s start with the process. “Dazed and confused” best captures our attempts to fathom the torturous negotiations around the political declaration. The lack of transparency resulted from the fact that the UN instituted a completely new process for this meeting jettisoning the standard procedures that we all understood and that provided a pretty clear read on individual nation’s positions on various issues. The new approach featured a convoluted co-chair process that cloaked individual nation’s intentions and created new drafts without governments really negotiating the tough issues together.
NGOs were extremely frustrated with the co-chairs and did not feel they were receptive to civil society views. The whole affair felt like a rush to consensus by avoiding the real issues- a perception that only fueled further discontent. Governments friendly to our issues such as EU and Canada felt the co-chairs were openly hostile to them for continuing to request changes in the document. The President of the General Assembly intervened and became intricately involved in the document drafting after pressure from civil society.