Securing our future: Final report from Commission on HIV/AIDS and Governance in Africa
09 June 2008
The Commission on HIV/AIDS and
Governance in Africa (CHGA) will present
its final report "Securing Our Future" to UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
The Commission on HIV/AIDS and Governance in Africa (CHGA) will present its final report "Securing Our Future" to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 9 June 2008 at UN Headquarters. This will be followed by a high-level panel discussion on “Regional lessons in the progress towards universal access.”
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan established the Commission in 2003 under the leadership of the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, K.Y. Amoako and 20 Commissioners, including UNAIDS Executive Director Dr Peter Piot.
The Commission’s brief was to advise African governments on the extent of the AIDS epidemic’s impact on African social, political and economic institutions and on the appropriate policy responses and programmes that need to be taken in order to address the unique challenges posed by the multiple ways in which the epidemic impacts upon development and governance on the continent.
The 280 page report includes an analysis of findings and a series of key recommendations. It is the culmination of a wide consultation by the CHGA Commission¬ers in Africa and beyond. The findings and recommenda¬tions reflect the views of the more than 1,000 Africans—including policymakers, advocacy groups, nongovernmental organizations, community-based organizations, people living with HIV, research organizations and UN agen¬cies—who took part in the consultation process.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the launch of the report of the Commission on HIV and AIDS and Governance in Africa and high-level panel discussion on "Keeping the promise: Lessons in the progress towards universal access."
Credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
During its lifespan the Commission held five sub-regional consultations to engage with a wide range of stakeholders and constituencies. Each interactive session provided an opportunity to share experiences and discuss the way forward in their sub-regional context.
AIDS has already had limiting consequences on social and economic development in Africa. The Commission concludes that the epidemic will have dire implications for governance for years to come unless decisive actions deepen the commitment and leadership to the AIDS response. This includes leadership within each African society at national and local level, by governments and political leaders, donors, civil society, tradi¬tional and community leaders and people living with HIV.
- Securing our future: Report of the Commission on HIV/AIDS and Governance in Africa
From the findings, recommendations and action plan contained in the report, these eight key messages have been distilled
- Multiple AIDS epidemics in Africa
Because of varied levels of adult prevalence and internal conditions for each country no single specific solution can address the issues that fuel the course of the epidemics in a given setting. It is important to use the best available data to understand the particular epidemic in varied settings and that national responses are designed based on the country-specific knowledge of the epidemic.
- The epidemics in Africa reflect a strong gender disparity
There is a strong relationship between the subordination of women and girls in society and extreme vulnerability to HIV infection. Communities, supported by appropriate government legislation, should address issues related to the low status of women and girls, violence against women and girls and the violation of their human rights.
- Growing number of children infected and affected by HIV presents a challenge to development
The number of children infected and affected by AIDS will increase in the coming years. They will require special medical and community support, which if not met, will be catastrophic for the children and for Africa’s development.
- Prevention must remain priority
A sense of urgency must be brought to HIV prevention which to be effective requires a combination of tools that address the various routes of infection and enables those at risk to access them along with sustained prevention messages about HIV transmission.
- Inadequate human resources constrains treatment and care
The main challenge to scaling up HIV treatment and care and strengthening African health care systems is the lack of human and financial resources. Understaffed and underfinanced health care systems whether as a result of brain drain or sick staff, mean skilled health care professionals don’t want to remain in public health care structures.
- Coordinated, predictable, long term and transparent AIDS financing
African governments should improve their public expenditure management to meet minimum performance standards including, fiduciary standards. Donor assistance should be aligned with national policies so that funding supports country-owned AIDS strategies that are fully integrated within the national development strategies.
- Leadership at all levels needs to be reinvigorated and sustained as part of a coordinated response
National resources should be committed to the AIDS response which should be linked to the broader development planning effort. In addition regional and international commitments should be implemented and translated into national plans of action.
- The goal of good governance
The long term goals of reversing the spread of HIV and providing care and support to millions of people infected and affected by the epidemic cannot be achieved without stronger public sector performance and a responsive governance regime.