The governing board of the United Nations programme to tackle the HIV/AIDS pandemic agreed today on measures to streamline the work of multilateral anti-AIDS organizations and strengthen the public health response of national institutions in developing countries.
The Global Task Team of the Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) , comprising representatives of more than 55 governments and organizations, submitted recommendations to the governing board two weeks ago for improving the use of available resources.
The recommendations include aligning external assistance to national strategies, policies, systems and cycles, more closely coordinating UNAIDS work at the country level, installing a problem-solving team at the global level to answer national requests, clarifying the division of labour among institutions and increasing financing for technical support.
"We are at a critical stage in the AIDS response where 'making the money work' for countries is vital if we are going to get ahead of the epidemic. The agreement on the recommendations by the UNAIDS governing board is a major step forward and shows that everyone is fully committed to helping countries lighten the burden of AIDS," UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot said.
Many developing countries have experienced serious difficulties in expanding their delivery of HIV prevention services and AIDS treatment to their communities, UNAIDS said.
Efforts to support these countries have been slowed by conflicting planning, financing, programming, monitoring and evaluation processes that are often imposed on them by donors and international organizations, it added.
"The inclusive and open Global Task Team process brought key donor and international organizations and partners together to examine critical issues, test the outer limits of what is possible and develop recommendations that are both bold and realistic. This is much more than agreement on principles. This will change the way we work on AIDS," said Global Task Team Co-Chair Michel Sidibe, who is also UNAIDS Director of Country and Regional Support.