African Men for Sexual Health and Rights Joins the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board

Published: June 27, 2012

[JOHANNESBURG] – The African Men for Sexual Health and Rights [AMSHeR] is proud to announce its selection as an Alternate African non-governmental organisation [NGO] Delegate for the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board [PCB] at the 30th Meeting of the UNAIDS PCB held from the 5th – 7th of June 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The PCB acts as the governing body of the UNAIDS, and is comprised of 22 Member states, 10 Co-sponsor UN agencies and 5 Delegates from NGOs. The NGO component of the PCB is made up of three Delegates from NGOs in developing countries, with the remaining two Delegates being from developed/transition economies. Though there are only five formal NGO seats on the PCB, there are ten Delegates appointed to the Delegation: five NGO Main Delegates and five NGO Alternate Delegates. An incoming Delegate is usually designated as the Alternate Delegate for their region when his/her term begins and the existing Delegate becomes the Main Delegate for the region.

Each year, the NGO Delegation submits a report to the PCB to bring to its attention the perspectives of affected communities at community/grassroots level. There have been calls from as early as the 15th Meeting of the PCB in June 2004 for greater involvement of people living with HIV [PLHIV] and other marginalised groups in civil society/NGO participation in the UNAIDS PCB. This year’s NGO report to the PCB is aimed at addressing the present HIV funding crisis and how it has impacted on civil society’s role in HIV response, including key populations such as men who have sex with men [MSM] and PLHIV. The report occurs at a time when there are pivotal shifts in the approach to programme delivery, and increasing importance and value in the role of civil society in ushering in an effective HIV response at community level and achieving key deliverables for the global HIV response. The selection of AMSHeR as an NGO delegate for the PCB is also synchronous with a concerted shift towards the centrality of key populations in HIV response and community based interventions.

Joel Nana, AMSHeR’s Executive Director had this to say about their selection “The role is immense and AMSHeR alone cannot fulfil it. We count on the support of African MSM, sex worker, IDU and mainstream HIV organisations, as well as those of women and PLHIV to enable us to adequately represent Africa specific issues on the board.”

This spectrum-wide call for support from all African organisations working primarily and actively in the field of HIV was complimented by Brian White, AMSHeR’s Health Programme Manager, who noted “The selection of AMSHeR into the UNAIDS PCB is an excellent opportunity to bring forward the needs and priorities of Africa’s MSM and LGBT communities from across the region, especially as we continue to experience increasing rates of HIV infection due to lack of access to health care services, on-going social marginalization and criminalization by governments.”

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