From 1986, the World Health Organization (WHO) had the lead
responsibility on AIDS in the United Nations, helping countries to set up
much-needed national AIDS programmes. But by the mid-1990s, it became clear that
the relentless spread of HIV, and the epidemics devastating impact on all
aspects of human lives and on social and economic development, were creating an
emergency that would require a greatly expanded United Nations effort.
Nor could any single United Nations organization provide the
coordinated level of assistance needed to address the many factors driving the
HIV epidemic, or help countries deal with the impact of HIV/AIDS on households,
communities and local economies. Greater coordination would be needed to
maximize the impact of UN efforts.
Addressing these challenges head-on, the United Nations took an
innovative approach in 1996, drawing six organizations together in a joint and
cosponsored programme - the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
The six original Cosponsors of UNAIDS - UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, UNESCO, WHO and the
World Bank - were joined in April 1999 by UNDCP.
The goal of UNAIDS is to catalyse, strengthen and orchestrate
the unique expertise, resources, and networks of influence that each of these
organizations offers. Working together through UNAIDS, the Cosponsors expand
their outreach through strategic alliances with other United Nations agencies,
national governments, corporations, media, religious organizations,
community-based groups, regional and country networks of people living with
HIV/AIDS, and other nongovernmental organizations.