46th PCB - Agenda 9: Organizational Oversight Reports: Report of the External Auditor - Written Statement by Andrew Spieldenner, North America, on behalf of the PCB NGO Delegation

46th UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board


We applaud UNAIDS for its successful external audit as one way of demonstrating accountability to the Program Coordinating Board and other constituents. We see many possible audit findings. We would like to focus on some concerns, particularly on UBRAF and internal human resources issues.

UBRAF: Items 51 & 52.

We are concerned with fast track reporting cities. There are several items that are not met, and - in some instances - some rollbacks on key successes. We are concerned that there are no corrective actions in the framework for the fast track cities. The assumption that these fast track cities continue in their current plans without any structural changes in their HIV response will result in the “end of the AIDS epidemic” is troubling. Where is there room to reflect on whether these goals are still realistic - especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic? When does UNAIDS take the lead on addressing the structural barriers across countries in the HIV response? In our current moment, there has been an increase in criminalising key populations, as well as a reduction in resources aimed at supporting people living with HIV, gay men and men who have sex with men, transgender people, people who use drugs, sex workers, migrants and adolescent girls and young women to have meaningful involvement in the HIV responses.

In addition, the reporting from UBRAF is inconsistent and relies on self-reporting from various sources. As the NGO Delegation, we see and experience challenges on the ground - including shifting policies in treatment distribution, overlapping and sometimes conflicting government and multinational organisations claiming to respond to the needs of people living with HIV and other marginalised groups, and the legal challenges to many key populations globally. In this environment, we encourage - again - that UNAIDS continues to bolster evaluation programs and initiatives that will involve civil society and key populations and other marginalised groups in their efforts to get a clearer view of the impact of the Joint Programme - as well as places where the Joint Programme may need to focus.

Human Resources Issues: Item 64.

According to this external audit, there has been no movement on developing coaching and other internal training opportunities for UNAIDS staff based on any needs assessment. Coaching and other training provide staff with key skills, motivate the workforce, and demonstrate the commitment the organization has in its own human resources. After the past few years of harassment, bullying and low staff morale, we want to emphasize the importance of the UNAIDS team in supporting the HIV responses at the local and regional levels. We want a stronger UNAIDS, which includes having a workforce that is competent, focused and driven, supportive of community-led responses, and invested in bringing diverse constituents of the local and regional HIV response together. We would like to see more effort in the area of staff development, including assessment and development plans.

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