|Facts about UNAIDS: an overview (UNAIDS, 1997, 11 p.)|
National governments have the primary responsibility for the response to HIV/AIDS in countries. UNAIDS role is to strengthen the ability of countries to respond effectively to the AIDS epidemic and to coordinate the UN systems activities in support of the national response.
As a small part of the global AIDS community, UNAIDS has no pretensions of going it alone. On the contrary, its whole structure and way of working are predicated on partnerships and alliances. Whether in research, or in advocacy, or in the identification of best practices, the philosophy of UNAIDS is not to duplicate what others can do or do better, but to facilitate, build on and link up their activities.
Nowhere is this clearer than in the field, where UNAIDS can best be described as the sum of AIDS-related work carried out by its six cosponsors with the support of UNAIDS staff and the backing of the wider UN system.
In developing countries and in the economies in transition in central and eastern Europe, UNAIDS operates through the existing UN Resident Coordinator system. The Resident Coordinator establishes the UN Theme Group on HIV/AIDS, composed of the local heads of all UNAIDS cosponsors present in the country plus the host government, if it so wishes. This interagency group then meets regularly to coordinate and strengthen UN system support to national action against AIDS.
UNAIDS plans to have Country or Inter-Country Programme Advisers (CPAs) cover at least 90 developing countries and economies in transition. The CPA is a key staff member with the triple job of helping the Theme Group in its work, serving as the link person with the country s AIDS actors and activities as well as their source of technical support, and ensuring implementation of UNAIDS policies. In countries without a UNAIDS Country Programme Adviser, the Theme Group is expected to designate a professional staff member working for one of the cosponsors as the UNAIDS Focal Point, who then carries out similar duties with the support of Geneva and intercountry staff (see below) and CPAs in neighbouring countries.
As part of its philosophy of working in partnership, UNAIDS makes every effort to avoid duplicating mechanisms or structures that exist already. In countries, UNAIDS benefits from UNDP s administrative help, while its staff may be housed in the offices of any one of the cosponsoring agencies.
For more information on how UNAIDS operates at the country level, see UNAIDS in Individual Countries in this series.