NAM recognising the role of South –South Cooperation in Combating AIDS

The Non-Aligned Movement has recognised HIV/AIDS as a cross cutting issue impacting on sustainable development. It has reiterated their strong concern over calls to have the pandemic discussed in the context of the UN Security Council and also called on Member States of the UN to resist the mainstreaming of HIV/AIDS into Security Council discussions and to promote the enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedom for people living with HIV/AIDS.

At the same time, the Movement also recognizes the importance of South-South cooperation in the fight against HIV/AIDS and has decided to give priority attention to the development of cooperation schemes among NAM Member States, as well as to the strengthening of regional and international cooperation to effectively address HIV/AIDS in the fulfilment of MDGs 6 and 8 that correspond to reducing the number of people affected with AIDS disease in the developing nations of the Global South. In this regard, NAM Member States has welcomed the organization of the High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on HIV/AIDS in New York, from 8 to 10 June 2011.

South-South cooperation is particularly important as the world has passed the 2015 deadline of the eight anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Agreed upon by world leaders at a UN summit in 2000, the MDGs set specific targets on poverty alleviation, education, gender equality, child and maternal health, environmental stability, HIV/AIDS and malaria reduction, and a global partnership for development. South-South cooperation is integral to the AIDS response and is at the root of good partnership and effective collaboration.

It can be used to good effect in planning, mobilization, partnership building and capacity strengthening. It has proved a powerful level for generating a more effective and sustained national response to AIDS on the African continent, and today, AIDS figures as a national issue, no longer the exclusive responsibility of the health sector.

South-South cooperation is a knowledge strategy, which recognizes that partners sharing knowledge become more powerful and effective, and this is demonstrated clearly for instance in the emerging influence of South-to-South contact as a strategy to drive down the price of AIDS drugs. In their efforts to identify keys to success, NAM framework identifies possible common elements among “best practices,” and in this connection has emphasized the importance of the following : ensuring commitment and strengthening ownership by all strata of the government in the effort to tackle HIV/AIDS ;ensuring HIV/AIDS control as a priority issue in government development policy; investing in education on HIV/AIDS, including the area of reproductive health, to provide a mechanism for effectively reaching the younger generation; maintaining partnership with the local community, including civil society; ensuring community participation in government policy-making; emphasizing the importance of coordination among stakeholders, including national and local governments and NGOs; improving the health system and public health services at the community level and involving people living with HIV/AIDS.

There can be different modalities for South-South Cooperation to fight AIDS. They include human resources development and institution building in African countries. In this connection, reference was made to the potential of assistance by donors; placement of experts, including volunteers.

Experiences of UNV were introduced in this respect; participation of officials and/or experts in various meetings convened and/or projects implemented in other regions of the world; exchange of information on prevention and care of HIV/AIDS; networking among all those working in the area of HIV/AIDS, some work of which has already been started by UNAIDS; cooperation in the area of research and survey on HIV/AIDS.; development of strategic plans at sub-regional levels.

For instance, SADC has been developing such a plan, and their health ministers meet regularly to review the HIV/AIDS programs; sub-regional approach to address HIV/AIDS in high transmission areas, such as transport corridors, focusing on vulnerable groups; and cooperation in an effort to seek support in a variety of ways from the private sector to expand the horizon of South-South cooperation, in addition to government-to-government assistance and assistance from NGOs.

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