46th PCB - Agenda 6: Report of the Working Group on the Joint Inspection Unit Management and Administration Review of the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) - Written Statement by Alexander Pastoors, Europe, on behalf of the PCB NGO Deleg

46th UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board

The Joint Programme is unique in its design, structure, and tasks given by ECOSOC. While the PCB working group investigates avenues for improving oversight and accountability by the PCB, we should always bear in mind that the founding mothers and fathers of UNAIDS envisioned an organisation that was fit for purpose and was able to move and adapt quickly to the daunting task to save as many lives as possible.

Although in many countries we have seen profound improvements in the way the epidemic hasis slowed down 25 years after its start, the Joint Programme is far from reaching its goal, as the world in which it operates has become more and more complex. Now more than ever, we need a UNAIDS that is agile and is able to move fast in order to support countries, to develop programmes that reach marginalised people and communities, and to speak up for human rights on behalf of those communities that governments so often overlook or choose to ignore.

If we want UNAIDS to stay strong, respected, and supported by member states, civil society and the cosponsors of the Joint Programme, all members of the PCB have to work together to improve oversight and accountability while at the same time respecting UNAIDS’ unique structure, flexibility, and agility. The last thing we should do is overburden the secretariat with micromanagement. But what we should do as PCB is to work on stronger links with the governing bodies of the co-sponsoring organisations.

The NGO Delegation thinks that the stronger linkage should not only happen on the level of governing bodies but also and mainly on the regional and country level. Already embedded in countries are coordinating units of the UN governing bodies and as such, they support a granular oversight and monitoring framework. This will also support an even broader accomplishment of the formal recommendation for stronger linkage. The Guiding Principles for co-sponsoring organisations does not specifically speak to oversight or monitoring towards HIV related activities and as such consideration must be given to these areas.

The NGO Delegation believes that there are various ways to improve oversight by the PCB within the mandate given by ECOSOC. The most elegant and concise way to do so would be to amend the current modus operandi. The PCB has done so various times over the course of its existence and we see no reason why the PCB shouldn’t be able to do so another time. But we are keen to look into this with more detail and investigate alternatives over the coming months within the WG. Should the PCB come to the conclusion to amend the modus operandi within the mandate given by ECOSOC, we believe the PCB should strive to be finished with this process in alignment with the start of the new UNAIDS strategy.

Lastly, we are concerned that because of COVID-19 the remainder of the time available to the WG to investigate and present options to the PCB at its 47th meeting in December is too short and can hamper the ability of the WG for a thorough analysis and constructive dialogue between members of the PCB. The PCB would be wise to reconsider the time limit bestowed upon the working group to guarantee due diligence.


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