The 2011 Political Declaration on AIDS – Implications for Africa
08 December 2011
Government, United Nations and civil society representatives gathered on the last day of ICASA 2011 to discuss how to deliver on the 2011 United Nations Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS for Africa. The Declaration, unanimously adopted at the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS in June 2011, sets forth bold new targets and calls on member states to redouble efforts to achieve universal access by 2015.
Co-chaired by Ademola Olajide, Head of Health, Nutrition and Population department of Social Affairs, African Union and Karine Shalaby, National HIV Officer at UNODC Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa, the session was moderated by Meskerem Grunitzky-Bekele, UNAIDS Regional Support Team Director for West and Central Africa and participated by Dr Tapiwa Magure, CEO, Zimbabwe National AIDS Council, Prof Sheila Tlou, UNAIDS Regional Support Team Director for East and Southern Africa, Innocent Laison, African Council of AIDS Service Organizations and Ato Meskele Lera, Deputy Director General, Federal HIV and AIDS Programme of Ethiopia.
Dr Magure highlighted that most countries in the region, including Zimbabwe, were already adapting their National Strategic Plans on AIDS to adopt the new targets. She also stressed the need to increase domestic resources in order for the targets to be reached.
We talk about more money for health. It is time for us to talk about more health for the money we have
Ademola Olajide, Head of Health, Nutrition and Population department of Social Affairs
Scaling up funding from national and international sources was seen as key to reach the targets, but also the need for partnerships and inclusion where governments, civil society and international partners share the responsibility to ensure effective AIDS responses.
Participants urged all stakeholders to review their strategies and focus on programmes and services that can demonstrate results. “We talk about more money for health. But now it is time for us to talk about more health for the money we have,” said Mr Olajide. “Let’s demonstrate tangible results with the money we have. Then, we will be able to ask for more.”
Innocent Laison, with African Council of AIDS Service Organizations, stressed the urgency to act in order to meet the 2015 deadline and assured that “civil society will play a role of monitoring the implementation and push for the targets to be met on time.”
All participants agreed that the single most important thing to guarantee that the targets are achieved is to ensure commitment from key actors in the region such as the African Union, Regional Economic Communities, governments and civil society. In addition, participants said engendering sense of ownership is crucial for national actors to lead the implementation of the commitments made at the June High Level Meeting on AIDS.