GENEVA —With only 10 years left to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, including the target of ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030, UNAIDS is developing its next global AIDS strategy. The next strategy, which is scheduled to be adopted by the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board by March 2021, will be a road map for all countries and partners in the global AIDS response to get back on track to reach the goal of ending AIDS.
The first phase of the development of the new strategy took place from May to August 2020, during which UNAIDS held broad consultations and conducted a review of the current UNAIDS 2016–2021 Strategy and its implementation. More than 10 000 stakeholders were consulted through a global online survey, interviews with key informants, focus group discussions and workshops. The UNAIDS evidence review raises critical questions about what is working and how to sustain or scale up what is working, where we are falling behind and how to overcome the gaps and obstacles for the next global AIDS strategy in order to remain ambitious, visionary and evidence-informed.
On 16 September 2020, UNAIDS held a multistakeholder consultation on the next global AIDS strategy online, with more than 170 representatives of Member States, civil society, nongovernmental organizations, the private sector and academia taking part, along with representatives of all 11 UNAIDS Cosponsors.
“We cannot assume that solidarity in the global AIDS response will be maintained,” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS.
“We do not plan to reopen discussions on the issues that could take us back. We want to focus on how to make progress across the areas and issues for which we are already off-track and we need to advance to reinvigorate progress, enhance urgency in the HIV response and strengthen global solidarity.”
The evidence review and the strategy consultations that UNAIDS has conducted to date indicate that the priorities in the current UNAIDS strategy remain relevant, but progress and results need to be accelerated across all countries, contexts and populations. Some issues that were discussed during the consultation included: political leadership and financing; partnerships and accountability; COVID-19; key populations; adolescent girls and young women; community-led responses; eliminating stigma, discrimination and punitive laws; regional specificity; HIV and universal health coverage; multisectorality; and inequalities.
The multistakeholder consultation explored these 11 issues in more detail, generating inputs on how to amplify game-changers, how to move from commitment to action and how to measure and monitor action to drive accountability.
Government representatives emphasized the importance of having the voice of countries, at the government and community levels, at the forefront in the development of the new strategy. Civil society representatives highlighted the need to further strengthen youth empowerment and leadership, an area noted as a major shortcoming in the current strategy, in order to seize the potential of communication, education and capacity-building for the next generation. Representatives of international organizations reinforced the critical importance of the next UNAIDS strategy to maintain and enhance community engagement, including in closer coordination with the new strategy being developed by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
The UNAIDS strategy development process now transitions into the next phase, with updates to be considered during briefings and meeting of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board. A detailed annotated outline of the next UNAIDS strategy, which will integrate new global HIV targets for 2025 and resource needs estimates, will be presented to the 47th meeting of the Programme Coordinating Board in December 2020. The next UNAIDS global AIDS strategy will provide a critical link to inform the preparations for the next United Nations General Assembly high-level meeting on AIDS.