Nairobi - 4 April 2001
Dr. Piot, Fellow Agency Heads, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen:
This past year has been an important juncture in stepping up the fight against HIV/AIDS - a time for breaking the silence; for recognising the disease as the profound threat that it is; for assessing more realistically the resources required to mount an effective response - and for mobilising leadership.
In all this, the work of the Security Council and a number of a number of inter-governmental conferences in various regions have been extremely useful, the G8 meeting in Okinawa, the ADF in Addis Ababa, and the Durban AIDS Conference.
At the most senior levels, leaders in Government, international organisations and within civil society understand more thoroughly than ever what needs to be done - and the consequences of inaction.
The UN system, and UNAIDS in particular, has played a key role in this mobilisation of awareness.
Each of us has spoken out more strongly on the need for bolder action to confront HIV/AIDS - and we have worked together to prepare the Framework for Global Leadership on HIV/AIDS that was approved by the PCB last December in Rio.
This framework is now being built upon for our preparations for the UN Special Session on AIDS, particularly the declaration of leadership commitment, and in mobilising support for the Secretary General's Call to Action. Within the UN System, we have also been working to scale up our programming and support for an expanded response to HIV/AIDS, particularly at the country level.
Responding to the challenges of the Framework for Global Leadership, we have together developed the UN System Strategic Plan (2001-2005), which we seek to approve at this CCO for submission to the PCB in June.
This exercise has been an important one for each of the UN agencies involved and for the System as a whole. Each agency has been challenged to consider how it can contribute more to the fight against HIV/AIDS; to define more explicitly its aims, strategies and accountabilities; to identify and better describe complementarities and opportunities for collaboration with sister agencies; and to assess more realistically the capacities implied and resources required for a scaled-up, coordinated UN response.
It has been an especially important exercise because it has helped accelerate the definition of our contributions and the ways in which we can work together. And all of this is already helping to make a difference in the lives of others.
To operationalise the Strategic Plan we have also prepared the Unified Budget and Workplan (2002-3) which, again, we will discuss at this meeting and prepare for submission to the June PCB.
With the commitment and plans now in place, the challenge now is for us to deliver on our promises. And it is here that I see a number of key challenges that we in UNAIDS need to address if we are to deliver on our promises:
1. First, we need to elevate the profile of the UN System's leadership and public presence on HIV and AIDS. Peter Piot's work in advocacy and mobilisation are greatly appreciated - and have set the stage for efforts to broaden partner and donor recognition of the roles and contributions of each of the Cosponsors. The Secretary-General's Call to Action, the UN System Strategic Plan, and our preparations for the Special Session - all offer foundations and opportunities for doing this.
2. Second, we need to realistically assess and put in place the human and organisational capacities required to scale up our work on HIV/AIDS. Among the Cosponsors, we are still seriously under-equipped to meet the promises we have made. The result has been that the UN's leadership and credibility in providing policy, technical and programmatic guidance has been compromised - and our credibility and ability to influence and orient the agendas of others has suffered as a consequence. The UBW process has helped us make some progress on this, but much more needs to be done.
3. Third, we need to agree on, and implement, a strategy to mobilise resources to support the work and programmes of the UNAIDS Cosponsors. It is a strategy that must be based on clear definition of the roles of each of the Cosponsors and of the Secretariat. It must be broad in its approach - mobilising the resources of governments, individuals and from the corporate sector. And it must define the modalities by which the UN receives and moves funds to support country programmes.
4. Fourth, we need to strengthen our country-level operations, making sure that HIV/AIDS is a top priority for UN collaboration at the country level - and ensuring that this priority is reflected in the workings of the Resident Coordinator System and the HIV/AIDS theme groups.
5. Finally, we need further discussion and agreement on how we can make UNAIDS - Cosponsors and Secretariat - work more effectively. Each Co-sponsor needs to assume greater responsibility for the response to HIV/AIDS; we need to strengthen consultation mechanisms - at all levels - on the policy, technical and programming challenges we face. And we need to better utilise the Secretariat to enable better communication and coordination.
We have the knowledge and tools necessary to slow this terrible disease. But we will succeed only by working closely together - among ourselves, and with governments, businesses, universities, NGOs, religious organisations, communities, families, grassroots groups, the media, and with young people.