By Tiziana Conti, Administration and Fundraising Coordinator, WACC-UK
WACC attended the 25th annual general meeting of the UK Consortium on AIDS and International Development held on 21 September in London. As a new member of the Consortium, this was WACC’s fist time to participate in the event.
The Consortium is a group of UK based organisations which work together to understand and develop effective approaches to the HIV pandemic in developing countries. Each agency shares its own experience to help all the members improve their responses to the pandemic through information exchange, networking, advocacy and campaigning. (www.aidsconsortium.org.uk)
||Ben Simms, Director of the Consortium, says in the annual report of the Consortium that the year 2010-2011 has been a significant one for the international HIV response. “There was historic proof-of-concept for microbicides, evidence of the effectiveness of treatment in preventing HIV transmission, stabilized or reduced incidence rates of HIV in 60 countries, greater linkages with maternal and child health, and a renewed political commitment to universal access, including 15 million on treatment by 2015, secured at the High Level Meeting in New York in June 2011”.
However, he notes, there were challenges and missed opportunities as well. “Thirty years into the pandemic, the world officially missed the deadline for achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010. International resources for the global response are dropping for the first time in ten years and treatment is still only a reality for one in three of those who need it.” (See the annual report: http://aidsconsortium.org.uk/Downloads/2010-11%20Annual%20Report.PDF)
The UK Consortium was established 25 years ago and its members have made significant contributions to the global response to HIV and AIDS during that time. This is emphasized in the recent publication The UK Civil Society Contribution to Universal Access to HIV Prevention, Treatment, Care and Support – a Stocktake. (Read more: http://www.aidsconsortium.org.uk/Downloads/PUBLICATIONS/Stocktake2011/Stocktake.pdf)
Ben Simms pointed out that throughout the past year, the Consortium has continued to operate at the forefront of the response by working to shape the UK Government’s positions on reproductive, maternal and newborn health and on HIV and AIDS; partnering with the World Bank and DFID to establish an evidence-base on community contributions to the global HIV response; campaigning successfully to secure the first licenses for the Medicine Patent Pool; increasing the focus on care and support and securing a new comprehensive UNAIDS definition of care and support; and completing the first-ever national review of the contribution of UK civil society to the global HIV response.
As a conclusive note, Mike Podmore, one of the Consortium’s Trustees, announced that a major focus this year will be to build and develop a Consortium-wide strategy that provides opportunities to bring the work of its members together under key objectives and topics such as HIV investment and funding; human rights; lessons from the HIV response for broader development; value for money; the communities’ role in the HIV response; and innovative approaches to increasing scale-up of treatment access.
The Consortium is also a successful example of a development network that “helps to bring coherence to the various lobbying messages of NGOs, strengthening the voice of its members and ensuring that they are heard at the highest level”, states in the annual report Veronica Oakeshott, former Policy Adviser to the All Party Parliamentary Group on HIV and AIDS.
As a new Consortium member, WACC will be able to give input into the future development of the Consortium and share training materials, stories and best practices related to its projects, particularly those supported by UKaid from the Department for International Development (DFID) in Ghana and Nigeria (Ghana: http://www.waccglobal.org/en/hiv-updates/2685-speaking-out-against-stigma-and-discrimination-in-ghana.html; Nigeria: http://www.waccglobal.org/en/hiv-updates/2683-wacc-project-awarded-major-grant-to-reduce-hiv-related-stigma-in-nigeria-.html) The projects aim to reduce HIV and AIDS related stigma and discrimination.
For more information, please visit:
UK Consortium on AIDS and International Development:
WACC’s HIV and AIDS, Communication and Stigma Programme: