AIDS Action Europe participated at the Special Session of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB), the governing body of UNAIDS, which usually meets twice a year to overlook the work of the UN Joint Programme on AIDS.The special session of the UNAIDS PCB was called together to follow up on the situation of sexual harassment and abuse of power within the UNAIDS Secretariat. Two agenda points were set for this one-day Special Session meeting:

  1. Update on prevention of and response to harassment, including sexual harassment; bullying and abuse of power at UNAIDS Secretariat
  2. Selection Process of the next Executive Director of UNAIDS

Please read below the intervention made by our colleague, Ferenc Bagyinszky, to the second agenda point. You can read the intervention made by AIDS Action Europe to the first agenda point here.

Thank you, Chair. I am speaking on behalf of AIDS Action Europe.

For us, community based organizations, civil society, people living with and affected by HIV, the greater involvement of people living with HIV/AIDS or shortly the GIPA principle has been the core principle of our work from the beginning of the epidemic.

Decades of experience have shown that the meaningful involvement of people living with and affected by HIV at all levels of planning, implementing and decision making have been imperative to the success of prevention, treatment and care programmes all over the world. Our participation has been imperative as our lived experiences, our needs and demands led to innovative solutions and have been challenging business as usual from the very beginning. Because we should all know by now when responding to HIV/AIDS, business as usual won´t work.

UNAIDS has embraced the GIPA principle very early in its existence, having a position of GIPA focal point and publishing a policy brief on strengthening GIPA in the HIV response.  However, the reality for people working for and with UNAIDS have been different. Stigma and discrimination, bullying and harassment blocked some UNAIDS staff living with and affected by HIV to be open about their status and come forward at all levels of the response, thus not being able to realize GIPA at its full extent.

We need a major shift in our responses and UNAIDS must take the lead by showing example of respecting and meaningfully implementing the GIPA principle at all levels of its structure.

Therefore, we call on this Board to do everything in your mandate to make sure that the selection procedure of the new executive director is transparent and inclusive and takes GIPA as its guiding principle.

Thank you.