|Resource Guide for Theme Groups: Working together on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS, 1998, 61 p.)|
The following descriptions have been provided by the six UNAIDS Cosponsors by way of explanation of their organizational mandate, their reasons for becoming a UNAIDS Cosponsor and the manner in which they intend to contribute to the Joint Programme.
Mandated to help meet the basic needs to protect the rights and expand the life choices of all children, UNICEF is their chief advocate, acting within the framework of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. UNICEF, its national committees and allies mobilize the moral and material support of governments, organizations and individuals worldwide in a partnership committed to giving children a first call on societies' resources in both good times and bad. A decentralized operational agency, UNICEF provides practical assistance in the fields of nutrition, basic education, safe water and sanitation to improve the health of children, youth and women. It helps build national and local capacities to provide, maintain and expand necessary services, and to empower families and communities with the knowledge and means for self-reliance.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic is having a major impact on many UNICEF programming areas, particularly with regard to the health of children, youth and women. The rapid spread of HIV/ADS is threatening the gains made in child health over the past two decades. The epidemic has a significant impact on adolescents, as adolescence is both a period of increased risk and a window of opportunity to develop the skills, attitudes and behaviour necessary to prevent HIV infection in adulthood. AIDS caused the deaths of half a million women in 1994. The epidemic affects children and families, leaving many without protection, care or income.
UNICEF brings to UNAIDS its operational field capacity in over 130 countries. It brings demonstrated effectiveness in communications and advocacy and a network of national committees. UNICEF s priority programme areas include youth health, school AIDS education, health communication, children and families affected by AIDS and mother-to-child HIV transmission. UNICEF s particular strengh in meeting the needs of especially vulnerable families and children will assume greater responsibility in the coming years. It is clear that the problem of children orphaned by AIDS and mother-to-child HIV transmission present enormous challenges and will require considerable attention, as well as substantial resources.
The HIV-related activities of UNDP are guided by its overall mandate to promote human development by assisting programme countries to accelerate the process of capacity development both within government itself and within the nation as a whole.
The HIV epidemic, if not adequately responded to, will alter the course of many societies and undermine the collective efforts of the international development community to promote peace, security and sustainable human development. It is precisely for these reasons that UNDP has joined together with other UN organizations to create UNAIDS, in support of an enhanced and better coordinated response to the epidemic.
The focus of UNDP's HIV-related activities is to identify effective and sustainable policy and programming responses surrounding the social and economic implications of the epidemic. The aim is to strengthen capacity to respond effectively to this epidemic within UNDP and, through our country offices, within governments and groups in civil society.
UNDP's HIV-related activities are carried out in partnership with many organizations, both governmental and nongovernmental, both inside and outside the UN HIV-related network. Emphasis is placed on supporting initiatives which:
· catalyse processes of community and national mobilization;
· create a supportive ethical, legal and human rights framework;
· are gender sensitive;
· are based on approaches to development practice that empower people to take charge of their own well-being, drawing on local resources and building on local knowledge and value systems; and
· foster an enabling political, economic and social environment at national, regional and global levels.
This approach is exemplified in the UNDP partnership programme for programme development through research. This pilot programme strengthens national capacity to identify research needed for programme and policy development, to design and carry out this research in a timely fashion, to analyse and present the data in a way that is understandable and usable and to assist community organizations, programme managers, activists and leaders to assess and redesign their policies and programmes in light of the research findings.
Through its network of over 130 country offices serving over 150 nations, UNDP plays an important complementary role to that of other organizations in the UN system response to the epidemic; within the operational activities of the UN system, UNDP provides funds for the financing of development cooperation through a system of UN, national and other executing agencies; it provides technical support in those cross-sectoral and multidisciplinary areas of technical assistance relating to the achievement of sustainable human development; and it has the overall responsibility for assisting the Secretary General in improving the coordination of operational activities for development, including the strengthening of the Resident Coordinator system.
UNDP's regional programmes provide an important mechanism for fostering intercountry collaboration in areas of shared concern and for supporting regional institutions and networks in strengthening their capacity to effectively respond to the epidemic.
UNFPA's mandate is to build the knowledge and capacity to respond to needs in population and family planning; to promote awareness of population problems in both developed and developing countries and advise on possible strategies to deal with those problems; to assist developing countries at their request, in dealing with their population problems; in the forms and means best suited to the individual country's needs; to play a leading role in the UN system in promoting population programmes; and to coordinate projects supported by the Fund.
A major focus of UNFPA support at the country and inter-country level is on reproductive health, including family planning and sexual health. Following the adoption of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, held in Cairo in 1994, increased importance is being attached to addressing reproductive health concerns in a more comprehensive manner. In this context UNFPA gives special attention to adolescents, IEC and training of service providers. UNFPA considers the prevention of HIV/AIDS to be an integral component of reproductive health programmes.
UNFPA contributes to overall UNAIDS work by providing access to its worldwide network of country-level offices which provide support to national reproductive health programmes; its accumulated expertise in reproductive health promotion and service delivery, with a special focus on the needs of women; its experience in logistics management of contraceptives, including condoms; and its experience of organizing technical assistance to national programmes through UNFPA Country Support Teams.
UNESCO's mandate is to foster international cooperation in intellectual activities designed to promote human rights, help to establish a just and lasting peace, and further the general welfare of mankind. Thus, the ethical imperative is central to UNESCO's mandate and its task of contributing in all fields of intellectual endeavour to human development and the building of a culture of peace based on respect for human rights, tolerance and democratic principles. In its fields of competence - education, science, culture and communication - UNESCO has both technical responsibilities as regards its programmes and projects, and political responsibilities, in the sense of public and social morality, in the general approaches and broad principles governing its efforts.
UNESCO's cosponsorship of UNAIDS is based on the conviction that isolated actions against AIDS that are not developed in an integrated, cross-disciplinary manner may be doomed to failure.
Although not a funding agency, UNESCO can make a contribution to UNAIDS by virtue of the scope of its fields of competence, its interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary approaches combining technical skills and ethical requirements, and its experience acquired over 50 years of intellectual cooperation. It can bring the vast network of institutions with which it collaborates into the fight against AIDS, in the short-term to meet the most urgent prevention and care needs, and in the medium-term to remedy or offset the foreseeable effects of the epidemic.
WHO is the directing and coordinating authority on international health work. Its objective is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health, health being defined as, a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. (WHO Constitution, 1948)
WHO established the Special Programme on AIDS in 1986 in order to respond to the emerging HIV/AIDS epidemic. In 1988 the programme became the Global Programme on AIDS (GPA) which was ultimately dismantled in 1996 with the creation of UNAIDS. Throughout its 10-year existance, GPA advocated the need for a multisectoral response to the epidemic which WHO still advocates to this day.
As a sponsor of UNAIDS, WHO contributes to UNAIDS work by providing expertise in areas relevant to the health sector. These areas include: HIV and STD prevention (particularly for those vulnerable and/or at increased risk; ensuring safe blood supplies; surveillance of HIV, AIDS and STDs; developing health policies and standards; planning of integrated services; care for people with sexually transmitted infections and people living with HIV/AIDS; and evaluation of STD/HIV policies and programmes. WHO s activities in the area of health systems include strengthening the capacity of health systems to provide a continuum of comprehensive care involving referral sites, hospitals, home, and care and support initiatives in the community.
The World Bank
The Bank recognizes that HIV/AIDS must be regarded as a development problem as well as a health problem. It requires expensive and long-term health care; it mainly affects adults in their most productive years; it raises complex legal and ethical issues; it reaches all segments of society; and it is growing rapidly. The epidemic, through its impact upon health and productivity, and on the fabric of family and community life, poses a substantial threat to the economic and social growth of many nations in the developing world.
The Bank is the single largest source of external funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and control in the developing world; 64 per cent of World Bank finance of this kind is provided through the International Development Association (IDA), on highly concessionary terms. By 1996 the Bank will have supported HIV/AIDS/STD prevention and control components in over 60 health projects and will have committed approximately US$ 700 million. Nearly half this amount is allocated to projects in sub-Saharan Africa, with most of the remainder distributed among countries in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. The Bank also supports interventions in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.
In its policy dialogue with borrowing countries, the Bank emphasizes that AIDS is a developmental priority; its strategy thus stresses that sustainable prevention and care cannot be accomplished by health projects alone. The Bank highlights the need for top-level political commitment, systematic reforms in the health sector, protection of human rights, and for a range of multisectoral reforms that will help reduce the factors contributing to HIV spread. Whenever possible, Bank-assisted activities are advised technically by the other cosponsors or the UNAIDS Secretariat and are planned and executed by individual governments, in collaboration with the concerned national and international partners.