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UNGASS 2006

At the United Nations High Level Meeting on AIDS in New York, government leaders and representatives from around the world assessed the progress made in fulfilling targets from the 2001 Declaration of Commitment and adopted an "updated" political declaration [ENFR, ES] on HIV and AIDS that is intended to set a road map for the global response to HIV and AIDS over the next several years.

The text of the final declaration was an improvement from earlier versions, largely due to intense civil society pressure in New York and the arrival of the national government delegations who brought with them the advocacy and insights from civil society in those countries. However, the declaration is still a disappointment to many. Most notably the declaration fails to name those included as "vulnerable groups" or set clear targets by which to measure future success or failure. Funding commitments were also very weak.

Advocacy is now needed to follow up with governments, monitor the commitments made, and press for firm targets. See the EAA's 8 June Alert for next steps: Action Must Follow UN Review: "Keeping the Promise" requires ongoing planning, monitoring, and advocacy

Assessments and Follow up of the 2006 UN Review and Political Declaration

 

Ecumenical involvement in the Review Process

In addition to very active national advocacy, over 100 representatives of faith-based organizations were accredited and took part in the review in New York.

Canon Gideon Byamugisha, World Vision International and member of the EAA HIV and AIDS strategy group was the final plenary speaker (on behalf of civil society) in the High-Level UN session [EN, FR] on the closing day, just before the final actions of the General Assembly to adopt the political declaration. He also was part of a panel discussion on overcoming stigma and discrimination and changing the way societies respond to people living with HIV.

View the full Webcast of the plenary session:
[EN, Original Language]

The following faith-based representatives also had official speaking roles in the UN programme:

 

Civil Society Hearing:

  • Dr Musimbi Kanyoro: World YWCA (speaking on Children and AIDS)[EN (PDF | Real)]
  • Rev. Johannes Petrus Heath: African Network of Religious Leaders Living With and Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS (ANERELA+) (speaking on the Role of Religion) [EN (PDF | Real)]
  • Ms. Jacinta Maingi: Ecumenical HIV/AIDS Initiative in Africa/World Council of Churches [EN (Real)]
  • Rev. John McCullough: Church World Service (speaking on Trade and AIDS) [EN (Real)]
  • Sister Philo Morris, Medical Mission Sisters (speaking on Trade and AIDS) [EN (PDF | Real)]
  • Ms. Millicent Obaso: Care International (speaking on Accountability) [EN (Real)]
  • Ms. Hanni Oren: Jerusalem AIDS Project on behalf of the government of Israel [EN (Real)]
  • Mr Chris Bain: CAFOD/Caritas Internationalis also participated in the hearing

 

Roundtables:

  • Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, Archbishop of Cape Town (Anglican)
  • Mr. Ken Casey, World Vision International
  • Ms. Katja Roll, Action Against AIDS Campaign (Germany)
  • Rev. Michael Perry, Franciscans International
  • Dr. Sonja Weinreich, Action Against AIDS (Germany)
  • Mr. Vegard T. Foselde, Changemakers (Norway)

 

Panel Discussion:

  • Rev. Simon Mphuka, Christian Health Association, Zambia
  • Rev. Gideon Byamugisha, World Vision International and Network of Religious Leaders Living With and Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS (ANERELA+)
  • In addition, nine government delegations included faith-based representatives.

 

Other faith-based statements during the meeting:

Bahá'ís, Buddhists, Christians, Friends, Hindus, Muslims, Shintos, Sikhs and Zoroastrians prayed side-by-side at St. Bartholomew's Church on 30 May - the eve of the UN meeting - for renewed commitment to overcome AIDS.

The service (coordinated by the EAA) started with a colorful procession of clergy from all over the world, and included a message by the Secretary General Kofi Annan delivered by Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS Ms. Deborah Landey. Under Secretary General and Executive Director of the UN Population Fund Ms. Thoraya Ahmed Obaid shared a message of hope. And the President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Jan Eliasson, provided a call to action as representatives from all UN member states prepared to review progress and set new goals in eradicating AIDS.

 

"Letters to the World" - Exhibition of Children's Letters at the UN

Large banners and two books of letters brought the voices of children to world leaders through the EAA's exhibition in the UN lobby. The exhibit displayed selected letters from the hundreds that have been received in New York as part of the "Keep the Promise" advocacy curriculum - a small sampling of the thousands sent to national leaders by children around the world.

Over 400 letters from Zambia were personally delivered to the head of the Zambian delegation, the Foreign Minister, the Honorable Ronnie Shikapwasha. The exhibit will be open at the UN building until 20 June. The exhibition will then travel to Toronto for display at the International AIDS Conference.

The letter writing campaign is part of the new "Keep the Promise" advocacy curriculum produced by the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance and co-sponsored by the World AIDS Campaign, UNAIDS, and World Health Organization. It is available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Request a free printed copy of the resource through the online order form or download the guide directly from the web.

Documents

The UN General Assembly has adopted the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS - PDF (EN, FR, ES)

Rapporteurs' Summary from Interfaith Prayer Breakfast - PDF (EN)

Pablo Torres Aguilera's Remarks at the Interfaith Prayer Breakfast - PDF (EN)

UN Deputy Secretary-General's Remarks at the Interfaith Prayer Breakfast - PDF (EN)

Bishop Yvette Flunder's Remarks at the Interfaith Prayer Breakfast - PDF (EN)

EAA Talking Points for Religious Leaders and Faith-based Organizations - PDF (EN)

Catholic HIV and AIDS Network Advocacy Paper on Funding Cuts and Flat-lining - PDF (EN)

Imam Dr. Abdul-Malik Ali's Opening Prayer at the Interfaith Prayer Breakfast - PDF (EN)

Homi Gandhi's Zoroastrian Closing Prayer at the Interfaith Prayer Breakfast - PDF (EN)