2011 United Nations General Assembly High Level Meeting on HIV and AIDS - a victory for trade union advocacy on the importance of the response through the world of work

(8-10.06.2012) More than 3000 people came together at the United Nations in New York for the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on AIDS to take stock of the progress and challenges of the last 30 years and shape the future AIDS response. The High-Level Meeting on AIDS took place on 8-10.6.2011 - 10 years after the historic 2001 United Nations Special Session on HIV/AIDS, and the 2006 signing of the Political Declaration where UN Member States committed to moving towards universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

Paragraph 85 of the new 2011 UNGA Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 June 2011 refers to the role of the world of work in the HIV and AIDS response. The text also specifically refers to the International Labour Standards and the ILO Recommendation on HIV and AIDS no 200 as part of human rights framework for HIV and AIDS response.

A big advocacy victory for trade unions all over the world on securing workplace and socio-economic justice approach in a broach response to HIV and AIDS.

The International Trade Union Confederation welcome the bold new targets set by world leaders and the inclusion of the Paragraph 85 into the new UNGA Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS that reads:

“Commit to mitigate the impact of the epidemic on workers, their families, their dependents, workplaces and economies, including by taking into account all relevant ILO conventions, as well as the guidance provided by the relevant ILO recommendations, including ILO Recommendation No 200, and call on employers, trade and labour unions, employees and volunteers to eliminate stigma and discrimination, protect human rights and facilitate access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support”

The final formulation of the Paragraph 85 concluded a long term trade union advocacy aimed at securing the reference to the ILO HIV and AIDS Recommendation no 200 in the new Political Declaration and recognizing the role of the world of work in the HIV/AIDS response.
The declaration recognizes the ILO Recommendation concerning HIV and AIDS and the World of Work, 2010 (No. 200) as a key human rights instrument in the global HIV response and calls on all UN Member States to redouble their efforts to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2015 as a critical step towards ending the global AIDS epidemic. A pledge to eliminate gender inequality, gender based abuse and violence, and to increase the capacity of women and adolescent girls to protect themselves from HIV infection was also made. Member states agreed to review laws and policies that adversely impact on the successful, effective and equitable delivery of HIV prevention, treatment, care and support programmes to people living with and affected by HIV.

The HLM process mobilised trade unions from all over the world. ITUC affiliates in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Maroc, South Africa, Senegal, Togo, India, New Zealand, Sweden, Belgium, Dominican Republic and Brazil called upon their Governments to adopt a progressive, rights oriented negotiation position with regards the new Political Declaration. Trade union representatives from Canada, Senegal, Dominican Republic, Sweden, South Africa and Brazil took part in the High Level Meeting with the view to support the process. Trade union representatives also took part in the panel discussions during the HLM Themeatic Panel Discussion 1 “Shared responsibility: an new global compact for HIV/AIDS” that took place on 08.06.2011 as well as during the HLM side event on migration and HIV that took place on 10.06.2011.

ITUC sees the benefit of the HLM discussion on responsible accountability and a country ownership framework, shared responsibility and mobilisation of leadership – including the workplace dimension – for the development of a renewed, democratic, sustained response to HIV and a clear road map of action till 2015 and beyond.

Trade union advocacy regarding the 2011 UNGA HLM – background

Background note on the trade union advocacy at the 2011 UNGA HLM

2011 UNGA HLM - highlights

• Paragraph 85 of the new Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS: Intensifying our Efforts to Eliminate HIV/AIDS

Background note on the Paragraph 85

• Juneia Martins Batista from CUT Brazil represents trade unions and the civil society at the first thematic panel of the High Level Meeting on HIV&AIDS (08 June 2011, 10h00-13h00)

Background note on the Panel 1 “Shared Responsibility : a New Global Compact for HIV”

• Mody Guiro from CNTS Senegal represents trade unions at the IOM/ILO/UNAIDS side event on HIV/AIDs and migration (10 June 2011, 12h30-13h30)

Background note on the UNAIDS side event on HIV/AIDs and migration

• Dr Sophia Kisting, Director of ILOAIDS addresses the HLM plenary and talks about the role of the world of work and the ILO HIV and AIDS Recommendation

Statement by Dr Sophia Kisting

• Statement by dr Brian Brink International Labour Organization (ILO) at the 2011 High Level Meeting on AIDS 10.06.2011

Statement by Dr Brian Brink

• Several Governments mentioned the importance of socio-economic aspects of HIV/AIDS, the role of the world of work and the need for adequate response.

Background note on plenary interventions by the Gouvernements

• UN Security Council adopts its Resolution no 1983 (2011) on HIV and AIDS and peace keeping sources which is relevant to the provisions of the ILO HIV and AIDS Recommendations

Background note on the Resolution 1983/2011