Feature story

2008 High-Level meeting on AIDS panel discussions

09 June 2008

The 2008 High-Level meeting on AIDS begins 10 June at the General Assembly in New York. In addition to the plenary meetings, a series of panel discussions will be held over the next two days.

These discussions will cover a range of topics from gender equality to concentrated epidemics and the multigenerational challenge of AIDS. The discussions will be open to representatives of Member States, observers and civil society representatives and presentations will be followed by an interactive dialogue.

The panels will also be broadcast live via internet webcast.

Panel 1: Building on results and accelerating progress towards universal access

During the 2006 High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS, countries committed to set ambitious national targets for scaling up towards universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010.

The 2008 Secretary-General’s Report on the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS confirms that countries have used the universal access process as a catalyst to accelerate their national AIDS responses. Examining findings from the national progress reports, the panel will look at results as well as the gaps and will identify actions that should be taken at country, regional and global levels.

Improving national leadership and coordination

Countries that have made good progress towards achieving universal access have shown strong political leadership and coordination of the AIDS response. The panel will explore possible catalysts that could enhance political will in countries with less engaged leadership and weaker coordination mechanisms.

Addressing obstacles

The 2008 reports submitted by 147 countries to UNAIDS, in compliance with the 2001 Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, indicate that progress has been achieved when national AIDS strategies identified and unblocked obstacles including health systems strengthening, affordable commodities, sustainable financing, stigma and discrimination and lack of integration of HIV into other health services.

Questions to be discussed:

  1. What are the catalysts that will improve and enhance political will so that countries, with less engaged leadership and weaker coordination mechanisms, can accelerate their response?
  2. What strategies can be put in place to unblock these obstacles to scaling up towards universal access and achieving Millennium Development Goals and ensure that international partners sustain their commitment to support countries to achieve these Goals?
  3. What are the mechanisms and incentives to ensure countries increase demand for, and use evidence for implementation of the national HIV programmes?
  4. How can we eliminate stigma and discrimination so that we can normalise HIV in society?
  5. How can governments provide political and programmatic space for civil society participation in scaling up towards universal access?

The Chair of this discussion will be H. E. Mr. Nimal Siripala De Silva, Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition (Sri Lanka)and the panelists are H.E. Ms. Nilcéa Sreire, Minister of Women’s Affairs (Brazil); Dr Lydia Mungherera of The AIDS Service Organisation (TASO)(Uganda) and Dr Margaret Chan, Director General, World Health Organization (WHO)

The Chair’s summary of this discussion will be published after the event, please check back to access it.