46th PCB - Agenda item 8: Update on strategic human resources management issues - Written Statement by Dr. Karen BADALYAN, Europe, on behalf of the PCB NGO Delegation

46th UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board


The PCB NGO Delegation appreciates the Secretariat’s exceptional input to move forward with its ambitious agenda across the four pillars of the 2016– 2021 HRM Strategy: 1) investing in people, 2) strengthening performance culture, 3) inspiring collective leadership and 4) ensuring an enabling workplace. We also recognize and applaud the ongoing efforts of the HRM department to uphold dignity, accountability, and wellbeing in the UNAIDS workplace, and on ensuring that UNAIDS provides an environment in which staff members feel safe and happy to work, and are supported and empowered to perform to the best of their abilities.

It’s important also to acknowledge that women’s empowerment has been mainstreamed in the performance management process of the Secretariat, with the overall proportion of female staff members in UNAIDS standing at 55% for the past 5 years, and 68% of the internship positions offered to women.

Despite these achievements, we must raise your attention to the gender equality issues within HRM. Gender parity at all levels is an important goal in the UNAIDS 2018–2023 Gender Action Plan. We are extremely disappointed with being informed that the Staff members’ biological sex has been automatically taken as an indicator to identify people’s gender self-identification, as well as the binary approach to gender with a diversification of Staff members only to men and women. These are so out of date, and retrogressive in any organisation, never mind one dealing so centrally with gender, as to be astonishing. We must, as a global health programme, recognise gender identities and gender expressions in all their diversity, and must collect data appropriately. Considering the fact that transgender, non-binary, intersex, gender queer, gender non-conforming people are severely marginalized communities and highly susceptible to HIV infection, it is important to bring our voices into formal decision-making bodies both within and outside UNAIDS.

We call upon the Secretariat to report back to the PCB on gender diversity in its full spectrum in all future human resource management reports. What we ensure and demand internally, we must work for externally. Surveys for the UNAIDS strategy review have again perpetuated out of date binary gender understandings. If that is how we ask our questions for our review, then that is how we will end up with a dysfunctional strategy that reinforces stigma, discrimination, criminalisation, and marginalisation from services and rights in the global HIV response. We must do better. We must recognise the wonderful diversity in our communities and our constituencies and we must structure our response to work with this diversity, and to protect, and serve all of our constituencies.

Thank you!

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