Commemorating World AIDS Day

 

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To commemorate World AIDS Day, various NGOs discussed the significance of civil society’s role in responding to gloabl HIV/ AIDS. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) cannot be eradicated without vaccines, and AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) develops in some people after exposure to HIV. People living with HIV can avoid developing AIDS if they are tested and receive treatment early. Dr. Padmini Murthy, global health director/ professor at New York Medical College, considered AIDS as an issue of gender equality. Women are more prone to AIDS due to biological makeup. Getting tested is a high-priority following unprotected sex, or in cases of sexual assault. According to Dr. Murthy, women are less likely to be proactive in obtaining and initiating condom use during intercourse due to societal gender roles in heterosexual encounters. She sighted education and empowerment as key factors in discontinuing this pattern. Simon Bland, director of the UN AIDS office of New York, tested the audience’s knowledge on statistics surrounding HIV/AIDS. Currently, 37 million people live globally with AIDS. The majority of new HIV infections are in young women having heterosexual sex. Only 60% of individuals living with HIV are aware of their positive status.

Eric Sawyer, co- founder of ACT UP and the Housing Works and Health Gap organization, discussed initial responses to AIDS in 1981. There were extreme stigmas. Fear and neglect of diagnosed individuals made living with HIV/AIDS that much more frightening and isolating. Many who tested positive were fired, evicted, and shunned. Only two funeral homes in New York City were willing to embalm HIV positive bodies. However, 35 years later, Deborah Levine, executive director of Love Heals, happily announced that last year no child was born HIV positive in NYC. Molly McHugh, Communications Director of Grassroots Soccer (GRS), stated that GRS offers support to HIV positive youth by referring them to treatment and providing them with safe and supportive spaces.

Meeting: Briefing on “HIV and AIDS: How can civil society revitalize the response?” (on the occasion of the World AIDS Day) (organized by the NGO Relations, NGO Relations and Advocacy, and Special Events Section, Outreach Division, Department of Public Information (DPI))

Date/ Time/Location: Thursday, 1 December 2016; 13:15 to 14:30; United Nations Headquarters, Trusteeship Council Chamber

Speakers: Dr. Padmini Murthy, Global Health Director/Professor at New York Medical College and NGO representative; Simon Bland, Director of UN AIDS office of NY; Eric Sawyer, Co- Founder of ACT UP and Housing Works and Health Gap; Deborah Levine, Executive Director of Love Heals; Molly McHugh, Communications Director of Grassroots Soccer

Written By: Donna Sunny, WIT Representative

100th plenary meeting on Implementation of the Declaration of Commitment and the political declarations on HIV/AIDS held by the General Assembly

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The meeting was operated for countries to declare their commitment against AIDS as well as implement political declarations. The President began with the opening remarks on addressing the above importance. Soon after, Mr. Sey revealed the key to preventing AIDS was to monitor the HIV transmission together with maintaining economic growth, where prosperity could alleviate poverty, with fewer women getting HIV. In addition, Prof. Randrianarimanana stated AIDS could be eradicated by focusing on high impact intervention, effective decentralization, and strengthening the health-care system. He admitted the epidemic was still existed, even if the current prevalence was low.

On the other hand, Dr. Numbi recalled the dedication on the previous declaration cheered the international commitment, technical and financial partners with a multisector approach to combat AIDS. Meanwhile, Dr. Al-Jasser added with a compliment on the comprehensive national program, safeguarding the access on treatment, had enhanced the community responsibility, cooperation and civil societies’ engagement. Moreover, Mr. Hamach reminded the stigma and discrimination would implicitly harm the Universal Health Coverage program where social restructuring was demanding. He ended his speech by reiterating political leadership and devotion to international community were vital to the Fast-Track to ending AIDS. Then, Ms. Skogen appealed to all members, to provide funding to high-burden and developing countries on quality education, sexual education, reproductive services along with well-trained health-care workers.

Last but not least, the above speakers declared their unceasing allegiance to combating AIDS financially or putting efforts on regulation compliance, demanding stronger prevention of AIDS.

Meeting: 100th plenary meeting on Implementation of the Declaration of Commitment and the political declarations on HIV/AIDS held by the General Assembly

Date/Time/Location: Thursday, June 08, 2016; 15:00-18:00; General Assembly Hall

Speakers: His Excellency, Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, the President of the General Assembly; His Excellency, Mr. Omar Sey, the Minister of Health & Social Welfare of Gambia; His Excellency, Prof. Dieudonné Randrianarimanana, the Minister of Health, Family Planning and Social Protection of Madagascar; His Excellency, Dr. Félix Kabange Numbi, The DRC Minister of Public Health; His Excellency, Dr. Sulaiman bin Mohammed Al-Jasser, the Minister of Economy and Planning of Saudi Arabia; His Excellency, Mr. Masakazu Hamach, the Parliamentary Vice-Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Japan; Her Excellency, Ms. Tone Skogen, the State Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway

Written By: WIT Representative, Kelvin HO

Edited By: WIT Administrator, Modou Cham

Photo: https://twitter.com/unaids

Delivering an AIDS-free Generation

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Today’s afternoon meeting held by the UNAIDS council presented a panel of well renowned HIV/AIDS activists, expressing their plea for the continued support of the UNAIDS program in order to one day have an AIDS-free society. The President of the UN General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, began by praising UNAIDS’ commitment in acting swiftly and their intensified efforts to end HIV transmission. Five years since the UN has joined forces in the global fight to end child transmission of AIDS, significant progress has been made. Noted, was the fact that since inception, 33% of pregnant women now have access to treatment that allows them to stop AIDS from transferring to their newborns. Speakers addressed that an AIDS-free generation requires much more action that is aligned with Agenda 2030. Transmission rates must decrease significantly between mothers and their children by scaling up treatment for the mothers. Work on the ground, directly with the affected population and promotion of access to treatment and funding to countries that are overwhelmed by the epidemic need to be considered.

The Executive director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, then took the stand and thanked all the countries that are joining the UNAIDS mission to eliminate children born with AIDS. He mentioned that stigma is still one of the biggest challenges behind the fight against HIV/AIDS and that member states must all partner up to stop it. A video was shown of the First Lady of the Republic of Kenya thanking the 21 Sub-Saharan African countries for their unwavering support and partnership. It was mentioned that the only 100% effective way to stop the transmission of AIDS from mother to child is to target adolescent girls and ensure their prevention from getting infected. The meeting ended with the General Assembly President thanking all who participated and showed.

Meeting: Delivering an AIDS-free Generation

Date/Time/Location: Wednesday, June 8, 2016; 13:15-14:45; Conference Room 3

Speakers: Ms. Whoopie Goldberg, Host of the View; Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of UN General Assembly and Ambassador of Denmark; Mr. Michel Sidibé, Executive director of UNAIDS; Mr. Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health in South Africa, Monica Geingos, First Lady of the Republic of Namibia; Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF; Annie Lenox, acclaimed singer and songwriter and founder of SING; Deborah Birx, Coordinator of the United States Government Activities to combat HIV/AIDS; Piyasakol Sakolsataydorn, Minister of Public Health of the Kingdom of Thailand

Written by: WIT representative, Amirali Agha-Khan

Edited by: WIT Administrator, Modou Cham

Taking Steps to End AIDS by 2030

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Today, there was a meeting on the modalities and organizational arrangements of HIV/AIDS, held by the General Assembly. The Co-Facilitator began with a statement on the necessity to find common ground in Paris by the 4th of December. Next, the meeting was decided to be titled as Organization of 2016 High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS. The following conclusions were made throughout the meeting: PP3, which is a proposal to determine the modalities by December 2015; PP5, which is welcoming the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, emphasizing its other goals and targets of the Agenda; PP4bis, proposed by Africa Group, was recognized to support that AIDS remains an urgent global health and development challenge and the persistent challenges in the fight against this disease.

It was requested that the President of the General Assembly finalize the organizational arrangements for this meeting and draw a list of relevant civil society, private sectors, and academic institutions and NGOs who may participate in this meeting by March 2016. According to the World Health Organization, HIV currently affects almost 78 million people, with 39 million deaths since the beginning of the epidemic, and 37 million people living with HIV by the end of 2013. As the disease progresses, the committee invited intergovernmental organizations and entities and non-governmental members of the Programme Coordinating Board of the Joint Programme to participate and consider initiatives in support of the discussions and outcomes. Various alterations were made in the wording of the texts of the proposals, some statements being made by the United States, the European Union, and Canada, to clarify the goals being presented by the Organization. With the resolutions made today, the Organization hopes to end HIV/AIDS by 2030.

Meeting: High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS

Date/Location: Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015; 10:00-13:00; Economic and Social Council Chamber

Speakers: Co-Facilitator of the Economic and Social Council Chamber for the Organization of the 2016 High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS

Written By: WIT Representative Jin Yoo

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

General Assembly Debates the Future of Human Security

human-securityThe President of the General Assembly convened an open debate to “reflect on our perspectives on human security, safety and freedom”. The Deputy Secretary-General opened the debate by urging states to put human security at the center of the future development framework. He was followed by Professor Gasper, who defined the human security approach as a set of language for describing security challenges and highlighted the “human-centric, comprehensive, context-specific and prevention-based” nature of the approach. Mr. Alia elaborated on this point by stating the holistic human security policies of his country, Benin, which provide for basic human needs such as education, AIDS prevention and child and maternal healthcare. He added that these basic provisions are enablers of state-building, and cited the example of literate citizens registering their identity to practice their full rights of citizenship. Ms. Dicapo highlighted the importance of members’ contribution in continuing the UN system’s promotion of the human security approach. The debate continued with Professor Pulhin who explained how the approach should be applied to alleviate the effects on migration and conflicts brought about by climate change. Ms. Keita, quoting the example of empowered Malian women in the nation’s reconciliation, called for more participation from civil society in applying the approach.

State parties speaking in the debate, including the EU, Slovenia, Japan, Costa Rica and South Africa, supported the UN’s work in promoting human security. Japan urged the Secretary-General to further mainstream the approach in the work of UN agencies and the SDGs. Brazil said that to prevent the approach from being only a set of rhetoric, the international community must also consider how it can be applied to contemporary challenges such as food security and large-scale surveillance. While Russia supported the approach, she believed that it is only the national governments that should decide how to implement it.

Meeting Title: UN General Assembly Thematic Debate: “Responding to the opportunities and challenges of the 21st Century: Human Security and the post-2015 development agenda”
Speakers: H.E. Mr. John W. Ashe, President of the United Nations General Assembly; H.E. Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General; Professor Des Gasper, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam; Ms. Sonia Dicapo, Chair of the Advisory Group of the UN Trust Fund for Human Security; Professor Juan Pulhin, University of the Philippines; Ms. Oulie Keita, Director of Programs Freedom House, Board member of WANEP Mali.
Location: Trusteeship Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters
Date: 18th June, 2014
Written By WIT representative: Harrison Chung
Edited by WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan