The Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+) is delighted to announce that our Global Advocacy Manager Cédric Nininahazwe has been selected to join the steering committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) Civil Society Commission. We celebrate this milestone as we continue to sustain the Denver principles and acknowledge our accountability to the broader civil society and communities.
The Commission is a WHO Secretariat-led network comprised of civil society organizations (CSOs) whose role is to strengthen dialogue, foster collaboration and provide recommendations to support WHO in its engagement with civil society at global, regional, and national levels. The Steering Committee will help to guide the work of the Commission in partnering with civil society to improve preparedness and response to public health emergencies and to accelerate attainment of the health-related Sustainable Development Goals.
It became clear during COVID that the extensive experience of networks of people living with HIV around the world enabled them to respond rapidly and successfully to the needs of their communities. This wealth of expertise in meaningful, ethical, and effective community engagement is a rich resource to help the world prepare for future pandemics and other health emergencies. Cédric’s selection for the Steering Committee is an exciting recognition of this collective expertise and an important opportunity that builds on GNP+’s proud tradition as custodian of the 1983 Denver Principles, the foundation for the self-empowerment and self-determination of all people living with HIV.
With this important “seat at the table,” GNP+ sees its role on the Civil Society Commission Steering Committee as going beyond HIV alone – acting as a responsible steward of the position to bring the voices and priorities of the wider community and partners into the global health agenda, in order to promote equity, rights and access to health for all.
As Cédric himself acknowledges, ‘‘It’s an historic opportunity to strengthen WHO engagement with civil society and communities, and I can’t take it for granted. Guided by accountability and transparency, my commitment is to work with everyone to bring about the changes needed.’’