Call for civil society involvement in the UN General Assembly 2011 Comprehensive AIDS Review

Published: November 15, 2010

Dear Civil Society Advocates


The 2006 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS mandated the UN General Assembly to undertake a comprehensive review in 2011 of the progress achieved in realizing the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS. 


The following is an outline of the process for civil society involvement in the UN General Assembly 2011 Comprehensive AIDS Review, to be held in New York in June 2011 (to be confirmed). 


General Information:

The 2011 Review will take place under the auspices of the UN General Assembly (GA). The GA President, H.E. Mr. Joseph Deiss, has appointed H.E. Mr. Gary Francis Quinlan, Permanent Representative of Australia and H.E. Mr. Charles Thembani Ntwaagae, Permanent Representative of Botswana to serve as Co-Facilitators and to lead consultations for the 2011 Review preparations.


The format and modalities of the 2011 review has still to be finalised and spelled out in an organizational resolution that will be negotiated by Member States and adopted between now and December 2010.


The significance of 2011:

 The 2011 Comprehensive AIDS Review comes at a turning point in the AIDS response, as a critical opportunity to identify progress, account for underperformance, renew the political commitment to sustain the response, and to chart the way forward.


Of particular significance is that at the end of 2010 the goals and targets agreed by Member States in 2001 and 2006 to guide and monitor the AIDS response will expire. In addition, 2011 marks:

–          30 years of AIDS;

–          10 years since the landmark UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS) and the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS;

–          5 years since the 2006 High Level Meeting commitment to universal access by 2010. 


Civil Society involvement:

The GA President has committed that civil society shall play an important role in the 2011 review, and will establish a Civil Society Task Force (CSTF) as a mechanism to facilitate input of civil society and the private sector in the 2011 Review, including the preparatory process. (see full terms of reference attached, based on the 2008 version)


The Task Force will include 12 individuals from a broad range of civil society representatives, from geographically diverse countries, and comprising:

  • Three representatives of networks of people living with HIV
  • Three representatives from marginalized communities (men who have sex with men; sex workers; people who use drugs)
  • At least one UNAIDS PCB NGO delegate
  • A representative of the labour sector
  • A representative of the private/business sector
  • A representative from a women’s organization
  • A representative from a youth organization
  • A representative from a faith-based organization


The Task Force will work by regular conference calls, communication via an e-mail list serve, and attend at least two face-to-face Task Force Meetings in New York in April 2011 and June 2011. Task Force Members will carry responsibility for communicating as widely as possible to organizations and networks within their constituency, regions, and countries,


The Task Force will lead on:

  • Shaping and implementing the design for the Civil Society Dialogue in April 2011, including format, topics, messages and speakers
  • Devising criteria and the call for nominations for civil society speakers
  • Identifying, preparing and briefing civil society speakers for all formal sessions
  • Briefing civil society participants in the High Level Meeting.


The Task Force will advise on:

  • Linking to country level activities and advocacy in the lead up to June 2011
  • Issues related to accreditation and attendance by civil society representatives
  • The themes of the formal session discussions
  • Civil society participation in the formal session discussions
  • Proposed civil society plenary speakers
  • Recommendations to the chairs of the formal session discussions
  • Input into the development of key messages for the Review meeting to be used by UNAIDS at media and communications opportunities
  • Advising on logistical issues and needs for civil society attending


 As in past experiences, the CSTF shall be established in consultations with the civil society, through an independent civil society support group.  Initially this group will act independently from the UN to facilitate a transparent selection process for recommendations to the GA President on the membership of the Civil Society Task Force (CSTF). The support group will be composed of 12 civil society advocates representing the different constituencies given above, and with a balance of gender and regions of the world. A minimum of a third of members of the support group will be people living with HIV and actively involved in national/global advocacy.  Both the support group and CSTF members will be invited to participate on a voluntary basis.


Due to their previous role in 2008 when a similar service was provided, the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO) was invited by UNAIDS to facilitate the support group.  ICASO accepted this role, and once constituted this support group will communicate the transparent process to be used for the recommendations for the membership of the CSTF.


Civil Society Mobilization/Advocacy

In the coming weeks the format and modalities of the 2011 review will be negotiated by Member States in New York through an organizational resolution that will be negotiated and adopted by December 2010.  It has been suggested the 2011 review be a High-level Meeting, which will adopt a Declaration as its outcome (to be confirmed in the organizational resolution). If decided, negotiations will begin in 2011 on a declaration to be agreed by June 2011.   


It is important that civil society is engaged with their own governments in the capitals to ensure the outcomes of both the organizational resolution and the declaration are in line with the needs of communities living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.  As such we need to mobilize to ensure coordinated and effective advocacy by civil society that has the impact required.


For those civil society advocates interested in participating in joint advocacy and mobilization, join the listserve by emailing Pauline Harriott-Gregory (please provide your name, organization, country, and email address). 



Kind regards


Kieran Daly


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