By Charles King, North America NGO Delegate
The Interagency Task Team on Social Protection Care and Support held the first ever research and policy summit on structural interventions to address social drivers of extreme poverty and inequality and AIDS on January 15 and 16, at the World Bank headquarters in Washington DC. The meeting was co-hosted by UNICEF and the World Bank, with additional sponsorship by Housing Works, as the first step in implementing the decision point tasking the IATT with strengthening “existing efforts to advance research in social protection, with full involvement of impacted countries, and promote the use of evidence-based, action-oriented recommendations that address the social and economic drivers of HIV and connect the movements to end the AIDS epidemic, extreme poverty and inequality.”
In an agenda that surveyed research around HIV prevention, adherence, and needs of key populations, there were country-level presentations highlighting the role of cash transfers in Brazil and South Africa, and on the role of economic supports for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) in various African settings. In addition, in a space usually dominated by social protection relating to prevention, evidence was offered on the impact of both housing and employment on treatment adherence. The role of structural interventions among key populations was given a strong theoretical underpinning with a presentation by Maitreyi Das, the Lead Social Development Specialist and Team Leader for Social Inclusion at the World Bank and the lead author of a recent World Bank report, Inclusion Matters, The Foundation for Shared Prosperity (view here). Further information, including the many presentations shared at this summit, can be found at the revitalized Knowledge Gateway.
Much of the focus of the summit was looking for consensus on interventions for which evidence supports scale-up as well as key gaps in research that need to be filled. In the final session of the summit, the attendees developed a 12-point action agenda to be implemented by the IATT and other collaborators. While next steps are still to be determined by the organizing committee and the IATT, participants were unanimously enthusiastic with this first step to putting last December’s decision points into effect.