After weeks of robust discussions, the 2021 United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on AIDS is drawing to a close with the adoption of a new, ambitious and achievable Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS: Ending Inequalities and Getting on Track to End AIDS by 2030. The declaration is based on evidence, grounded in human rights and will serve as an important road map to advance the global HIV response over the next five years.
“I would like to thank all Member States,” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “Over the past two months they have drafted, negotiated and delivered a bold political declaration that will guide global efforts to end a pandemic that has ravaged countries and communities for 40 years.”
Important advances have been achieved in the 2021 political declaration, including new targets to ensure that 95% of people at risk of HIV use combination HIV prevention services, a greater emphasis on community-led provision of services-including a target to ensure that 80% of services for key populations are provided by communities-and a commitment to end inequalities, going far beyond Sustainable Development Goal 10, reduce inequalities.
The High-Level Meeting on AIDS was convened by the President of the General Assembly, with the co-facilitators-the ambassadors of Australia and Namibia-leading negotiations on the political declaration; 193 Member States were represented and the speakers included 14 presidents, five vice-presidents and four prime ministers, with many high-level dignitaries also participating in the thematic panels and 30 supporting events. The events covered issues from how to increase treatment coverage for children to how to scale up harm reduction and empower young people and adolescents.
The five thematic panels were:
- Addressing Inequalities to End AIDS: 10 Years to 2030.
- Putting People and Communities at the Centre of the Response to AIDS.
- Resources and Funding for an Effective AIDS Response.
- Advancing Gender Equality and Empowering Women and Girls in the AIDS Response.
- Addressing the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the AIDS Response and Building Back Better for Pandemic Preparedness.
The High-Level Meeting on AIDS featured the participation of people living with HIV, senior United Nations officials, representatives of international organizations, the private sector, civil society and academia and other stakeholders, who discussed practical ways of translating the new political declaration into action and results.
Eminent person and long-time AIDS activist Sir Elton John, founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, made a strong call to action by video message, saying, “With your leadership, we can defeat AIDS and COVID-19 and be better prepared for other pandemics that will follow. You can and will make the difference. And you have an army of supporters standing behind you, including the 38 million people living with HIV around the world. Together, we can bring an end to fear and inequality-and, by the end of this decade, end the AIDS pandemic, once and for all! The world is watching and we don’t have a moment to waste.”
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations-UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank-and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org