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United Nations Joint Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS)

I. Core Areas

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) comprises ten cosponsoring agencies—the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank, and most recently the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). UNAIDS is the leading advocate for worldwide action against HIV/AIDS. It promotes partnerships among and between a broad range of actors—including other UN agencies, governments, corporations, media, sports and religious organizations, community-based groups, regional and country networks of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), and civil society representatives—to mobilize an enhanced response to AIDS.

UNAIDS has its Secretariat in Geneva and is guided by a Programme Coordinating Board (PCB)1 with representatives of 22 governments from all geographic regions, the ten UNAIDS Cosponsors, and five NGOs, including associations of people living with HIV/AIDS. UNAIDS is headed by an Executive Director, Michel Sidibé. UNAIDS leads, strengthens and supports an expanded response aimed at preventing transmission of HIV, providing care and support, reducing the vulnerability of individuals and communities to HIV/AIDS, and alleviating the impact of the epidemic. UNAIDS supports a more effective global response to AIDS through advocacy for effective action; strategic information; tracking, monitoring and evaluation of the epidemic and of responses to it; civil society engagement and partnerships; and mobilization of resources.

II. Engagement with External Actors

The UN Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS2 provides the guiding framework for UNAIDS’s action, and calls for the full and active participation of civil society, the business community and the private sector. Since June 2001, UNAIDS has focused on fostering and supporting partnerships at global and regional levels; supporting countries in the development of partnerships involving government, civil society, community-based organizations, the private sector, media and international actors; and promoting best practices to support the dissemination of a broad range of best practices.

Civil Society

The Secretariat engages with NGOs that emerge as a result of the epidemic; interest-based organizations; faith-based organizations; development and humanitarian organizations; and advocacy organizations. UNAIDS helps promote collaboration between different CSOs, for example, between the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and the Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GNP+) and the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) and the International Community of Women living with HIV/AIDS (ICW). In particular, UNAIDS works with youth organizations, women’s groups, community groups, sex workers’ organizations, gay men’s groups, and networks concerned with reducing harm from injecting drug use.

The Secretariat recognizes that civil society plays a key role in the response to the AIDS epidemic in countries around the world.. The wide range of strategic and tactical expertise within civil society organizations makes them ideal partners in the process of preparing National Progress Reports and to provide quantitative and qualitative information to augment the data collected by governments.

UNAIDS has been working with civil society at national, regional and global levels, including in program development and implementation, and advocacy.

UNAIDS staff at the country level are available to help facilitate input from civil society throughout the national reporting process; to brief civil society organizations on the indicators and the reporting process; to provide technical assistance on gathering, analyzing and reporting data, including focused support to people living with HIV; and to ensure the dissemination of reports, including, whenever possible, reports in national languages. UNAIDS also invests in capacity development, including leadership training, for NGOs.

On the advocacy level, UNAIDS has developed Advocacy Partnerships, whereby UNAIDS provides technical support and support to access funding to civil society in order to be stronger advocates. It has led to significant progress in the AIDS response. UNAIDS partners with the World AIDS Campaign3 – founded by UNAIDS and now an independent NGO; with international trade unions through Global Unions; and with parliamentarians through the International Parliamentary Union.

At the national and global level, UNAIDS works with key networks of people living with HIV to ensure the greater and meaningful involvement of people living with HIV in the AIDS response. It also prioritizes work with large networks of FBOs, religious leaders and networks of religious leaders living with HIV (called ANERELA+ and INERELA+).

Universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support
Civil society’s engagement with UNAIDS on universal access is seen as essential in monitoring and evaluating progress and in the empowerment of vulnerable populations.

To address obstacles in scaling up universal access, UNAIDS facilitated consultations at country, regional and global level and worked to include strong representation from civil society in the consultations. The outcomes of these consultations resulted in an Assessment Report, which informed the Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS, adopted at the 2006 UN High Level Meeting on AIDS.

Private Sector

In response to the 2001 Declaration of Commitment, UNAIDS has strengthened its work with businesses by promoting their involvement in HIV/AIDS prevention, and is focusing on three main areas for private sector involvement: the workplace; advocacy; and community partnerships. It supports work of the World Economic Forum in the establishment of National Business Coalitions on HIV/AIDS and the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, as well as several similar entities at the country level to promote the involvement of business in HIV prevention and care. Technical assistance is provided to the private sector in implementing the International Labour Organization code of practice for sound workplace programmes. UNAIDS also encourages the private sector to lend their expertise and resources to country-level projects.4

Through its collaboration with a diverse range of private sector actors, UNAIDS aims to catalyze increased private sector engagement, leverage the technical, human, financial and institutional resources of major businesses (e.g. large multinationals and influential media companies), and foster partnerships that help ensure a sustainable response to AIDS.

Businesses are ideally placed to deal with AIDS since they can reach millions of workers through workplace programmes in collaboration with trade unions; support national AIDS campaigns through high-level advocacy; and lobby for greater action and partnerships with government and civil society, including people living with HIV. Relationships are also fostered directly with businesses with the aim of developing examples of business engagement in HIV and AIDS for others to follow.

The Partnership Menu5 is designed to help the private sector find innovative AIDS partnership opportunities in developing countries. Created by UNAIDS, the World Economic Forum and the United Nations Foundation, the Menus provide the private sector with a list of AIDS projects and partners they can collaborate with at the country level, in areas ranging from youth-friendly health services, to homebased care programmes, to education for orphans.

The World Bank, the World Economic Forum and UNAIDS have prepared the Guidelines to Building Business Coalitions against HIV/AIDS to provide practical and operational guidance to companies and/or leaders in the private sector. It also includes lessons learned and examples to those interested in forming or enhancing the effectiveness of business coalitions on AIDS.

An example of such a business coalition is the Namibian Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS7 (NABCOA), launched in June 2003, bringing together the private sector, government representatives, civil society and the UN. The Coalition, which has over 50 members, offers its member companies a number of tools such as a cost-benefit analysis model; a service provider directory; and a toolkit for small and medium-size enterprises. These tools aim to help companies understand the implications of HIV/AIDS in the workplace and implement appropriate policies and programmes.

Other Actors

As this was being written, UNAIDS was in the process of finalizing a Strategic Framework for its Partnership with Faith-Based Organizations. It is expected that the Strategic Framework will be available in late 2009.

Launched by UNAIDS in 2004, the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS8 seeks to highlight the impact of AIDS on women and girls and mobilize actions to enable them to protect themselves from HIV and receive the care and support they need. The Global Coalition is a worldwide alliance of civil society groups, networks of women with HIV and AIDS, governments and UN organizations supported by activists, leaders, community workers and celebrities. Working at global, regional and national levels, the Coalition focuses on preventing new HIV infections, promoting equal access to HIV care and treatment, accelerating microbicides research, protecting women’s property and inheritance rights and reducing violence against women.

The UNAIDS report What Parliamentarians Can Do about HIV/AIDS: Action forChildren and Young People urges parliamentarians to mobilize action, to create a parliamentary focal point for HIV/AIDS, to lobby for HIV/AIDS legislation, and to push for strong health and social services, among others.9

UNAIDS has a close partnership with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in several areas, including supporting the Fund’s full grant cycle – from the development of AIDS grant proposals by ensuring meaningful participation of civil society, to programme implementation, to monitoring and evaluating the performance of its grantees.

III. Organizational Resources

The Partnerships Unit is responsible for liaising with civil society, the private sector and all other actors and holds various meetings with civil society organizations to work on specific policies, strategies or results. The Unit works mainly on public inreach, outreach and policy development. Its main goal is to promote cooperation between various entities and organizations in order to respond more effectively to AIDS at all levels. The Unit maps the different constituents and identifies which entities could enhance their work on HIV/AIDS. The Partnerships Unit was established in 1996. UNAIDS has furthermore partnerships officers and focal points in country and regional offices across the world.

Focal Point

Partnership Unit

Name: Dr Denis Broun
Title: Chief, Partnerships Unit
Address: 20, avenue Appia, CH-1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland
Telephone: +41-22-791-4765
Fax: +41-22-791-4149
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Civil Society

Name: Ms. Cheryl Bauterle
Title: Chief Advocacy and Campaigning
Address: 20 avenue Appia, CH-1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland
Telephone: +41-22-791-4741
Fax: +41-22-791-4746
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Private Sector

Name: Ms. Regina Castillo
Title: Chief, Private Sector Partnerships
Address: UNAIDS, 20 Avenue Appia, CH-1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland
Telephone: +41-22-791-4179
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

IV. Information Resources

* UNAIDS Website
* Programme Coordinating Board
* The United Nations Declaration Commitment on HIV/AIDS
* World AIDS Campaign
* Private Sector Partnerships
* UNAIDS guidance for partnerships with civil society
* Guidelines to Building Business Coalitions against HIV/AIDS
* Namibian Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS
* Global Coalition on Women and AIDS
* What Parliamentarians Can Do about HIV/AIDS
* List of UNAIDS Partnership Officers and Focal Points

Additional Resources
* AIDS Epidemic Update 2010
* AIDS in Africa: Three Scenarios to 2025
* The Three Ones: Principles for the Coordination of National AIDS Responses

The UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) is an inter-agency programme of the United Nations mandated to develop constructive relations between the UN and civil society organizations.

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