Aids conference: Access for all includes access by civil society to global bodies
PRESS STATEMENT For Immediate Release 13 July 2004 ACCESS FOR ALL INCLUDES CIVIL SOCIETY ACCESS TO GLOBAL GOVERNING AND FUNDING BODIES: UN SECRETARY GENERAL KOFI ANNAN MEETS WITH CIVIL SOCIETY LEADERS AND COMMITS TO PERSONALLY MOBILZE GLOBAL FUNDS July 12: In an unprecedented gesture, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan invited 11 HIV/AIDS activists from diverse civil society organizations for a frank dialogue about the UN and international response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS, facilitated the meeting. The 11 civil society organizations reached quick consensus on four key issues that need to be addressed immediately, by the Secretary General and UN bodies, in order to enhance and sustain comprehensive response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic: 1. Accountability of International Agencies, National Governments, Funding Bodies, and the Corporate Sector 2. Active Engagement with the Civil Society Sector in All Aspects of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Treatment and Care Policies and Programs on National and International Levels 3. Effectiveness of UN Systems to Address HIV/AIDS Pandemic 4. Funding/Resources for Global HIV/AIDS Prevention, Treatment and Care Major outcomes of UN Secretary General and Civil Society Representatives Meeting · The Secretary General agreed that an independent “report card” on realized national financial payments for the response to HIV and AIDS, in light of UNGASS commitments, would be extremely valuable · The Secretary General pledged his continued strong support for the implementation of the TRIPS agreement and Doha Declaration, and the flexibility it gives governments for production and distribution of generic drugs · The Secretary General expressed a willingness to consider developing an independent annual report on UN-civil society collaboration in the fight against HIV and AIDS · The Secretary General requested that civil society provide a “check” on the UN system to ensure that its monitoring and evaluation of HIV and AIDS related programming and commitments is as strong and effective as it should be · The Secretary General pledged to continue his contacts with G-8 members regarding mobilizing financial resources for the response to HIV and AIDS, both individually and collectively; and he agreed to send letters to government leaders appealing for additional support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria · The Secretary General agreed to the request to of the civil society representatives that he chair the Ministerial Meeting that is part of the Voluntary Replenishment Mechanism of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as a sign of his personal commitment and the priority of resources for the Fund · The civil society representatives supported the appeal of the SG for annual funding of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria from resources not taken away from other development programs in the amounts of: $ 1 billion from the US, $ 1 billion from EU countries, $ 1 billion from other donors (governments, private sector, foundations) · The Secretary General shared civil society concerns about the effective participation of civil society in Country Coordinating Mechanisms and proposed that the Global Fund’s Board consider creation of a “window” or “fast track mechanism” to finance effective NGO proposals that may be otherwise blocked or delayed · The Secretary General expressed his support for harm reduction strategies and called for all governments and individuals to express compassion and “do what’s right” Overall, the delegates present at this exclusive meeting were pleased with the UN Secretary-General’s response and assured commitment to the four key issues discussed. “The response is not what it should be. Where is our international solidarity?” UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan The Secretary General agreed with delegates that the Civil Society Sector serves as a critical tool to hold international agencies (including UNAIDS and WHO), large donor bodies and the business sector accountable for their words and their actions, as well as to ensure that national governments invest in quality, affordable and accessible healthcare and treatment; monitor and protect human rights; and fulfill international commitments. Civil Society Delegates requested the creation and implementation of an independent “report cards” to assess national financing of HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care performance against the UNGASS Declaration of Commitments. The Secretary General specifically invited the Civil Society Sector to serve as a check on the UN system’s monitoring and evaluation of HIV and AIDS programs. The Secretary General re-emphasized his support for the implementation of the TRIPS Agreement and the Doha Declaration, and shared the Civil Society Sector concerns for the threat imposed by bi-lateral and regional trade agreements. “UN systems cannot do this (work) alone.” UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan Clearly, the Secretary General appreciates past and current Civil Society Sector contributions, such as community mobilization and advocacy efforts, in the “Fight Against AIDS”. He agreed that genuine partnership between the UN and the Civil Society Sector needs to be nurtured, developed and sustained, specifically with direct input from PLWH, to ensure the implementation and sustainability of comprehensive global HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care campaigns. The Secretary General was encouraged to meet regularly with civil society representatives, and he noted that his engagements with the Civil Society Sector serve two important purposes: (1) the opportunity to “listen” to the Civil Society Sector and (2) to send a message to national governments about the importance of their role. It was agreed that the Civil Society Sector must have access to government information in regards to HIV/AIDS programs in order to achieve its goals. Executive Director of UNAIDS, Dr. Peter Piot, requested input from the Civil Society Sector to develop independent indicators of the qualitative collaboration with civil society. The Civil Society Sector’s suggestion that an independent annual report, exclusively highlighting UN/Civil Society Sector collaborations, will be considered by the Secretary General. Lastly, the Secretary General called upon the Civil Society Sector, itself, to monitor and evaluate its peer organizations. The Delegates urged the UN Secretary General and UN officials to take a more proactive, “hands-on” approach to leadership in order to strengthen the financial resources and non-financial capacity of UNAIDS and WHO. Delegates appealed for the Secretary General’s direction to make country-level UN offices more effective. When Delegates expressed difficulty accessing UN offices (one delegate comparing it to “gaining access to a US Embassy”) the Secretary General expressed genuine surprise and concern about inaccessibility of UN offices and pledged to follow-up on this point. The Secretary General shared his concerns about long-term financial commitment to the “Fight Against AIDS,” not just short-term replenishment. The Secretary General recognizes the current threat of a funding crisis for the 5th round of the Global Fund and therefore, he continues to contact the G8 countries both individually and collectively. The Delegates support the Secretary General’s call for $1 billion dollars each, per year, in new monies from the United States, the European Union, as well as other nations, donor bodies, and the corporate sector. In direct response to Civil Society Sector request, the Secretary General has agreed to chair the ministerial meeting of the Voluntary Replenishment Mechanism of the Global Fund in the first half of 2005. In addition, the Civil Society Sector expressed concerns about Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCMs) and Civil Society access to Global Fund resources. The Secretary General suggested the Global Fund Board should consider the creation of an “exceptional window” to fast track Global Fund monies to NGOs. Final issues addressed at the meeting included the Secretary General’s support for harm reduction strategies and recognition of its critical role in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care. “The Fight Against AIDS is not about hardware. It is about compassion…doing what it right.” UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan Should you have questions/queries about this historic meeting with the UN Secretary General, please any of the following delegates: NAME ORG CONTACT INFORMATION Nimit Tienudom AIDS Access Foundation + 66 2 372 2113-4 Peter van Rooijen AIDS Fonds Netherlands Linda Hartke Ecumenical Advocacy + 66 1 420 1294 Alliance Stu Flavell Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS Violeta Ross IAC Youth Forum Richard Burzynski ICASO Alice Welbourn ICW Wanjiku Kamau Kenya Consortium to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria Alex Coutinho TASO Zackie Achmat TAC Musimbi Kanyoro World YMCA