Background

CEB welcomed the note, entitled “Organizing the United Nations response to the triple threat of food insecurity, weakened capacity for governance and AIDS, particularly in Southern and Eastern Africa”, prepared by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) secretariat in cooperation with a number of United Nations system organizations and other stakeholders, and finalized by HLCP at its last session. The note presented an in-depth analysis of the triple crisis and called for a comprehensive and coherent system-wide approach to combat the crisis. It identified areas where innovation and a scaled-up response by the system were required and the specific actions that would help to bring this about.

The Executive Director of UNAIDS drew attention to the continuing crisis in human capacity as a result of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Southern and Eastern Africa.The Executive Director of the World Food Programme, who also served as the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Humanitarian Needs in Southern Africa, highlighted the continuing devastating impact of HIV/AIDS in Southern and Eastern Africa, the millions of children orphaned by the disease, and the shorter life span of the adult population in many African countries. The Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) emphasized the importance and urgency of effective large-scale treatment that would allow people living with AIDS to continue to work, earn income, care for their children and contribute to society and the economy.

Discussion

CEB welcomed the WHO/UNAIDS initiative. It was pointed out that, to achieve the “3 by 5” target, both the high cost of screening and testing for HIV and their availability in rural areas would have to be effectively addressed.The importance of preventive education and retraining of teachers, as well as the need to analyse the impact of AIDS on the educational system, were emphasized, as was the need to systematically reflect the role that the UNAIDS secretariat and co-sponsors should play in implementing the actions contained in the note.

Action

CEB took note of the progress being made in reducing the cost of anti-retroviral treatment and making it more widely available to AIDS sufferers. It stressed the positive role that public pressure had played in the decision taken on this issue at the fifth Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization in August 2003. CEB stressed the importance of developing an effective implementation plan as a means to coordinate the system’s AIDS-related work with similar initiatives by non-United Nations partners in Africa.  CEB endorsed the general analysis and programming approach, as well as the series of programmatic and institutional actions set out in the note.

CEB members expressed satisfaction at the collaborative efforts that characterized the preparation of the note, thanked the World Food Programme and the UNAIDS secretariat for their leadership and commended HLCP for its contribution to this important inter-agency effort.