Updates on the HLM and Guidance for Community Engagement.
The United Nations General Assembly 2021 High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS (HLM) will take place from 8-10 June 2021. The goal of the HLM is to draft a Political Declaration, agreed upon by all UN member states, which will serve as the primary point of reference for communities and advocates to hold governments accountable in the HIV response. This kind of meeting only occurs, at minimum, once every five years, and thus it is critically important for communities, Key Population networks and civil society to engage in the HLM process.
For a brief overview of why the HLM is an important opportunity for people who use drugs to advance our interests, check out this short video with INPUD's Executive Director, Judy Chang.
INPUD is a member of the Multi-Stakeholder Task Team for the HLM and is heavily involved in community and civil society engagement efforts. We have created this web page to serve as a hub of information and resources on the HLM for INPUD members and, drug user advocates and Key Population Networks. Check back here for the most recent updates on the HLM and how you and/or your organisation can influence the outcomes.
The zero draft of the Political Declaration can be accessed by clicking here (English only for now). The zero draft is a good start; it mentions key populations, including people who inject drugs, by name and makes calls for commitments to harm reduction and decriminalisation of drug use. The draft will now undergo negotiation by member states through the end of the HLM, meaning it is crucial we engage now with member states to prevent the final document from being watered down in negotiations. INPUD will soon be sending on various analyses of the Political Declaration and suggestions for inputs, together with the UNAIDS Multi-Stakeholder Task Team.
CIVIL SOCIETY DECLARATION
Building on the UNAIDS regional consultations, over 700 survey respondents and input from the Multi-Stakeholder Hearing Civil Society Debrief, the Multi-Stakeholder Task Force for the HLM has launched the HLM 2021 Civil Society Declaration. This will be a key piece of advocacy for community and civil society before and during the HLM. The declaration calls for a Political Declaration that:
- RECOGNIZES explicitly who is most at risk of HIV
- ACKNOWLEDGES why this is so
- COMMITS to fully fund and support effective responses
- HOLDS ACCOUNTABLE Member States for their actions.
The Civil Society Declaration can be accessed here (in English only for now).
The Multi-Stakeholder Task Force is now asking organisations, networks, institutions and individuals to endorse the declaration. The more sign-ons it receives, the stronger an advocacy tool it becomes. You can sign your organisation or name onto the Declaration by filling out the form here.
CIVIL SOCIETY ENGAGEMENT GUIDE TO THE HLM
The Civil Society Engagement Guide to the HLM has been put together by GNP+, Aidsfonds and UNAIDS and is available in English, French, Spanish and Russian. This is a short, easy to read set of guidelines on how our communities and organisations can make the biggest impact in the HLM process.
It is imperative we begin this enagagement now through network building and by connecting with other key population representatives in your countries. A good first step would be to ask your government if a representative from your network can join the delegation, as member states are encouraged to include community and civil society reps per the HLM modalities resolution (see article 5). You can also offer your support in the negotiations. It is equally as important to connect with other stakeholders in your country and establish key priorities and a plan for advocacy, for which the guide linked above has several suggestions.
GNP+ is also holding a series of webinars on the HLM. The first webinar was held on 21/22 April and discussed basic HLM engagement opportunities, and you can rewatch it from the GNP+ Facebook page here. The next webinar in May will dive further into advocacy at the HLM. These webinars are held in English, French, Spanish, Russian and Portuguese, and registration is required beforehand.
Should you have any questions on the above information, please do not hesitate to reach out to Judy Chang (email@example.com) or contact your regional community representative on the multi-stakeholder task team (list available here.)