On 23 February, the General Assembly adopted resolution 75/260 on the organisation of the 2021 High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS (HLM). The resolution calls for the HLM to be held on 8-10 June 2021 and invites Member States to participate. To promote meaningful contribution of civil society in the entire process, UNAIDS decided to contract a civil society or community-led organisation with recognised experience in the global AIDS response. Last week, GNP+ and Aidsfonds were selected as the NGO co-coveners to collaborate with UNAIDS on bringing CSO’s and communities together in the entire HLM process.
The goal of the HLM is to develop a clear and action-oriented political declaration to be agreed upon by member states towards achieving the commitment of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
The 75/260 resolution on the organisation of the HLM requests the President of the General Assembly (PGA) to organise and lead an interactive multi-stakeholder hearing (MSH) with the participation of communities and other stakeholders, taking place no later than April 2021. The PGA will also envisage other civil society participation opportunities during the preparation process and the HLM itself. The interactive MSH will be held on 23 April 2021. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MSH will be held in virtual mode, while the HLM Is likely to take a hybrid form.
Communities and CSO’s participation in the HLM
Multistakeholder Task Force (MSTF): UNAIDS has convened a Multistakeholder Task Force (MSTF) comprising of 16 members who are representatives from civil society and the private sector to facilitate civil society involvement in the upcoming HLM. The MSTF will advise UNAIDS, as the lead substantive UN entity, and through it, the Office of the President of the General Assembly, regarding the format, theme and programme of the multi-stakeholder hearing (MSH), as well as help identify speakers for the MSH and HLM plenary and panel discussions.
Advisory Group to the Task Force: UNAIDS has established an Advisory Group to support the Multistakeholder Task Force for the HLM 2021. Members who served in the 2016 Task Force and experts with previous experience in HLM and other UN processes were invited to participate in the Advisory Group contributing in their personal capacities. Invitations have been sent to individuals working, among others, in the areas of pediatrics and HIV, UHC, human rights, gender equality, academia, youth leadership, and more.
- 23 April 2021 – Interactive multi-stakeholder hearing in preparation for the HLM session in June.
- 8-11 June 2021 – High-level meeting comprising of plenary sessions and up to five thematic panel discussions. The opening plenary meeting will feature statements by the President of the General Assembly, the UN Secretary-General, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, a person openly living with HIV, and an eminent person actively engaged in the AIDS response.
The mobilisation of civil society and communities in the process leading up to the next UN High-Level Meeting on AIDS (HLM) is critical to the success of the meeting and its outcome.
In addition to active participation at the HLM and the preceding Multistakeholder hearing (MSH), civil society activists have a critical role to play to influence their governments and their positions during the negotiations around the new Political Declaration to be adopted at the HLM. This Political Declaration will replace the one adopted at the 2016 HLM and could provide a powerful advocacy tool for civil society to hold their governments to account.
What you can do
In order to ensure that the Political Declaration contains strong commitments to bring an end to AIDS and leave no one behind, there are a number of key advocacy actions civil society and communities can take in the run-up to the HLM:
- Link up with like-minded civil society and community-led organisations and networks in your country to determine joint priorities for communities, raise awareness about the process and organise joint advocacy activities to influence the HLM process.
- Participate in the regional consultations organised by UNAIDS and other regional agencies.
- Contact key government officials engaged with the HLM at the capital level and at the New York Mission level to influence your country’s input into the negotiations around the Political Declaration.
- Advocate for your government to include representatives of affected communities in the country delegation to the HLM and advocate for the highest level of government representation at the HLMs (President or Ministerial).
- Contact your national UNAIDS office if you need support or information.
Keep an eye out for these upcoming events
The Global Network of People living with HIV and Aidsfonds as co-conveners of the Multistakeholder Task Force (MSTF), will organise a series of events in the coming weeks to facilitate inclusive and interactive participation of civil society in the HLM process:
- Regional update webinars to brief civil society and communities on the progress made so far in terms of the work of the MSTF and the planning for the MSH and the HLM.
- Community participation survey to gather civil society input for the development of a common civil society ‘vision document’ for the HLM.
- Community advocacy guide to be finalised and shared on this website to support country- regional- and global civil society engagement and participation
- Community consultation webinars to create awareness and promote wider participation