Civil society’s role in joint reviews of AIDS responses

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Civil society’s role in joint reviews of AIDS responses

18 January 2008

Country experiences of joint reviews of national AIDS responses were discussed and analyzed at a consultation organized by UNAIDS which took place in Geneva on 15 – 16 January 2008.

L to R: Daniel Motsatsing, Executive
Secretary BONASO (Botswana), Olga
Varetska, Head M & E, International
HIV/AIDS Alliance (Ukraine) and Kem Ley
from the HIV/AIDS Coordinating
Committee (Cambodia).

The meeting was part of a process to develop guidance for National AIDS Councils and their partners at country level to help plan and execute joint reviews of national AIDS programmes.

Joint Reviews are essential to identify gaps, harmonize resources and align activities of the multiple players involved in the national AIDS response, underlining the commitment to partnership and coordination by all stakeholders.

Participants included representatives of national AIDS coordinating authorities, civil society, UNAIDS regional and country offices, UNAIDS Cosponsors and bilaterals.

Civil society contribution to the national AIDS responses and their involvement in the joint reviews was one of the major topics analyzed at the consultation. Civil society participants coming from the Botswana Network of AIDS Service Organizations (BONASO), the Cambodia HIV / AIDS Coordination Committee (HACC) and Alliance Ukraine brought reports of the scope of their contribution in their respective national AIDS response joint review.

Civil society representatives underlined that the main challenges they encountered during the joint review in their countries were the unequal or lack of representation of key populations in the process and the absence of appropriate instruments to feed back the review results to the field level and to civil society.

During the consultation, participants emphasized the key roles of civil society in the joint review, not only as provider of first-hand data as programme implementers but also as provider of technical expertise related to the review.

“Civil society organizations are not only at the heart of service delivery but also key to reviewing and appraising national AIDS responses ’’ stated Andy Seale, Chief of the UNAIDS Civil Society Partnerships Team.

Finally, it was stressed that the main contribution of the civil society, as representatives of the communities and acting as external actors, has been to bring a key element of independent oversight and a strong sense of accountability to the whole process of national AIDS programmes joint review.