The role of civil society in realising the objectives of the 2021 Political Declaration
UN member states gathered on 8–11 June 2021 for the 2021 UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting (HLM) on HIV and AIDS. The most important outcome of the HLM, the Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS: Ending Inequalities and Getting on Track to End AIDS by 2030, was adopted during the HLM by most UN Members States. Now available is an Advocacy Brief, produced by the Multi-Stakeholder Task Force to assist Civil Society Organisations to keep governments and stakeholders accountable for the outcomes of the HLM.
Introducing the Multi-Stakeholder Task Force and the Love Alliance
This follows an engaging period in which, through the leadership of the Multi-Stakeholder Task Force (MSTF), Community and Civil Society Organisations effectively engaged in the preparation of the HLM and contributed to the development of the Political Declaration.
GNP+ and Aidsfonds were selected by UNAIDS as the NGO co-conveners of MSTF and coordinated the participation of Community and Civil Society Organisations in this process. The partnership that supported this engagement is the Love Alliance. The Love Alliance, a new five-year programme (2021-2025) funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is based on an unwavering commitment to protecting, promoting and fulfilling sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) globally, unifying people who use drugs, sex workers and LGBTIQ+ movements, and amplifying the diversity of voices in these communities.
One of the key advocacy priorities for the Love Alliance is to influence key global strategy and planning processes, like the UNAIDS strategy development process and by extension the HLM process, the Global Fund strategy development process, and Generation Equality among others in order for the community voices to be well presented in the outcomes.
Key highlights and documents of the HLM
Some of the key highlights of the HLM experience include supporting MSTF engagement with UNAIDS and the office of the president of the UN General Assembly to prepare and execute a successful Multi-Stakeholder Hearing on 23rd of April, as well as the High-Level Meeting itself. Additionally, the team developed a community HLM engagement guide, coordinated a 3-part webinar series in 6 languages to support community engagement in the process, and supported the development of the Civil Society Declaration for the 2021 High-Level Meeting on HIV and AIDS, with more than 800 signatories. And now there is also the Advocacy Brief.
The work has just begun!
The HLM process may have come to an end and the Political Declaration adopted, but for many of us, the work has just begun! Civil Society has a multitude of roles to play, from implementation to advocacy and accountability, as well as taking corrective action if governments fall short of their commitments. We must begin to develop and align advocacy strategies in our countries and communities, in order to make a difference and end AIDS by 2030.
Keeping governments and stakeholders accountable
In closing out the 2021 HLM engagement program, the Love Alliance is excited that the MSTF worked together to develop the Advocacy Brief. The document has been developed to guide communities and Civil Society on how to engage in accountability processes aimed at keeping governments and stakeholders accountable to the commitments outlined in the PD. Onwards!