|© UNICEF /HQ05-0725/ Nesbitt|
|Having fun at a UNICEF-supported centre for children affected by HIV/AIDS in Mbabane, Swaziland.|
LONDON, United Kingdom, 7 February 2006 – The preventable suffering of millions of children infected and affected by HIV and AIDS will be the subject of a high-level meeting in London this week.
The Global Partners Forum on Children Affected by HIV and AIDS, hosted by UNICEF and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and supported by UNAIDS, brings together senior representatives from 90 international and non-governmental organizations and governments. The goal is to build up practical responses to the impact of the AIDS pandemic on children and young people.
“Children are missing from the world’s response to the global AIDS pandemic,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman. “Less than 10 per cent of the children who have been orphaned or made vulnerable by AIDS receive public support or services.”
“This is a crucial time in our global efforts to tackle HIV and AIDS – and a time to turn commitments into action,” said UK International Development Minister Gareth Thomas. “We must ensure that the needs of children are central to this and ensure that communities can fulfil their potential.”
For the first time since it was launched in 2003, this year’s Global Partners Forum will be preceded by a Technical Consultation attended by 150 representatives of civil society, governments, bilateral and multilateral donors, UN agencies and academics from around the world.
From 7 to 8 February this diverse body of experts will discuss and propose recommendations to be put to the ministerial-level Global Partners Forum on 9 and 10 February. Subjects up for discussion include children’s access to education (including the elimination of school fees), birth registration, community mobilization, social welfare, treatment for children infected with HIV/AIDS, and monitoring and evaluation.
“The Technical Consultation is important because it brings together the practitioners – over 150 NGO representatives, civil society and faith-based groups – to a meeting where we really look at what evidence we have around our global response to children affected by AIDS,” said Peter McDermott, UNICEF’s Chief of HIV/AIDS programmes.
According to UNICEF, the global response to children affected by HIV/AIDS does not come close to matching the enormity of their plight, as their numbers keep on growing. By 2010 an estimated 18 million children in sub-Saharan Africa alone will be orphaned by the disease. Children living with sick and dying parents remain extremely vulnerable, and an estimated 4 million infected children do not have access to appropriate treatments.This year’s Global Partners Forum will focus on ways to:
The Forum will emphasize that communities and families should be the primary beneficiaries of an increased global response. A mix of economic assistance should be provided, including direct cash grants for affected families, small loans and funds to pay community outreach workers.
“The Global Partners Forum is evolving. It is becoming an exceptionally useful mechanism in getting global coherence around the international response to children and AIDS,” Mr. McDermott said. “It challenges the global community around two or three of the major issues that need to be addressed.
“At the end of the day, the success of the Global Partners Forum and the Technical Consultation beforehand is not measured in the newspaper [coverage] or the announcements. It really can only be measured in whether more children are getting more services on the ground,” Mr. McDermott added.
Read UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman's keynote speech [pdf]
Read UK International Development Minister Gareth Thomas' keynote speech [pdf]
Read UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot's full speech [pdf]
Read Youth Ambassador Boniswa Yantol's full speech [pdf]
Read Baroness Royall’s closing speech [pdf]
All documents and presentations for both the Technical Consultation and the Global Partners Forum on Children Affected by HIV and AIDS can be accessed through the AIDS Portal: