Feature story

Achieving 2015 Targets through Strategic AIDS Financing

12 June 2012

L to R: UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé, Ambassador Sylvie Lucas of Luxembourg, First Secretary of the Republic of Malawi Janet Zeenat Karim, International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) co-founder David Barr. United Nations, NYC, on June 11, 2012.
Credit: UNAIDS/B.Hamilton

Coinciding with the 2012 General Assembly AIDS review, the Permanent Missions of Malawi and Luxembourg to the United Nations and UNAIDS organized a panel discussion to further understand the strategic investments needed for the AIDS response. The discussion brought together representatives of member states, UN organizations and civil society.

Participating in the discussion, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé stressed the need to focus investments where they can have greater impact. “Proven, effective and context-specific HIV prevention and treatment interventions must be prioritized and scaled up,” said Mr Sidibé. “Approaches that are not tailored to reach people most in need, are at inappropriate scale and intensity, or whose benefits are undercut by persistent inefficiencies, should be discouraged,” he added.

Panellists agreed that incremental yet bold steps must be taken to close the financing gap by 2015, including greater allocations from domestic and international resources. Ambassador Sylvie Lucas of Luxemburg highlighted that in order to achieve the targets, “international donors, emerging economies, affected countries and additional stakeholders must all actively contribute, in accordance with their respective capacities.”

Mrs Janet Karim, speaking on behalf of the Permanent Representative of Malawi, stressed that despite efforts and political will, some countries cannot meet the financial needs required from their domestic sources and called for innovative partnerships to be sought to support governments’ efforts.

“It is indeed necessary to actively explore new sources of sustainable financing at all levels, including enhanced support from the private sector, the use of regional development banks, and the introduction of a tax on financial transactions,” said Mrs Karim. “At the same time, let us follow up on the commitment that we made to strengthen existing financial mechanisms, including the Global Fund and relevant United Nations organizations, through the provision of funds in a sustained and predictable manner,” she added.

Proven, effective and context-specific HIV prevention and treatment interventions must be prioritized and scaled up

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé

The UNAIDS Investment Framework was presented as an opportunity for development partners and national governments toward developing a ‘shared responsibility’ agenda and maximizing value for money.

Stressing the need for affected communities to continue to be at the centre of the response, David Barr from the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) emphasized that human rights, equity, inclusion and participation should be seen as high-yield investments rather than avoidable costs. “It is essential that HIV care be centered around the protection of human rights, gender equity and the reduction of stigma,” said Mr Barr. “Without creating a safe environment for those of us at risk, we cannot engage in care and, therefore, all our public health efforts will be wasted.”

Participants agreed that, of the targets set in the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS, among the most challenging and crucial was the one focused on “Close the global AIDS resource gap by 2015 and reach annual global investment of US$22-24 billion in low- and middle-income countries”. The AIDS financing target was considered not just a target in itself, but a critical enabler for the achievement of all of the Declaration’s targets.