Many global and regional commitments have been made with the view of Ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. It is widely agreed that government cannot meet the targets of these many commitments alone. Fast-Tracking the AIDS response in Africa will require the combined efforts of government, civil society, regional economic commissions, the private sector and development partners, among others.
Evidence shows that when parliamentarians are effectively engaged in the AIDS response, they can provide critical leadership for countries to embrace advance and shifts in policy that makes Ending AIDS a reality for their constituencies and their countries.
To further this agenda, the Pan-African Parliament and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), in collaboration with the Commission of the African Union (AU), met in Johannesburg, South Africa during a high-level parliamentary meeting on 5 and 6 October 2017.
The meeting was held on the margins of the Ordinary Session of the Pan African Parliament to engage African parliamentarians and political leaders, opinion leaders and civil society activists to share experiences, discuss roles and reach consensus on how to use current commitments and instruments to address the health needs of populations being left behind by the AIDS response in Africa. This includes adolescent girls and young women and key populations, that is, sex workers, gay men and other men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs.
The high level meeting drew the attention of African parliamentarians to the UNAIDS Fast- Track targets, the 2016 Political Declaration on Ending AIDS, as well as the targets of the Catalytic Framework to end HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria by 2030.
Participants at the meeting, which included the Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation, discussed the role of legislators, overseers of government action, community leaders and parliamentarians in protecting young people, particularly adolescent girls and young women, to ensure access to HIV and sexual and reproductive health services. This aligns with the AU theme for 2017: Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through investment in youth.”
“We are concerned that complacency and a shift of priorities from HIV and health is playing itself out both among our leaders and international partners and donors.”
Kgalema Mothlante, Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation
“We managed to put millions of people on HIV treatment. We managed to reduce new HIV infections. But it is not enough. A lot of people are being left behind, those who are not included in the successes we are talking about. In particular, I am referring to adolescent girls and young women and key populations, as well as migrants and prisoners.”
Catherine Sozi, Director, Regional Support Team for Eastern and Southern Africa