Statement by Theodore Allegra
Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Mission to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva
As Prepared for Delivery
TUESDAY, JUNE 27, 2017
Thank you Chair, and thank you First Lady Castillo, for those sobering and inspiring remarks.
The United States remains unwavering in its support for UNAIDS. Let me share a few thoughts on our priorities:
First, it is essential to break the transmission of HIV among young people. Despite considerable progress in the global response to the epidemic, the majority of men aged 24 to 35 do not know their HIV status, they do not have a clear picture of personal risk, and they are therefore infecting adolescent girls and young women, who are in turn transmitting the virus to their peers.
Consequently, AIDS is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age. Every year, 390,000 adolescent girls and young women are infected with HIV — 7,300 every week, more than 1,000 every day. We must be dedicated to preventing new infections if we are to reach the 90-90-90 treatment goals, and we are pleased that prevention is a key thematic area for this PCB meeting. Our work on prevention must be focused and outcome based.
Second, the United States strongly supports the approach UNAIDS has taken to address the growing number of HIV positive middle aged and older adults who are living productive lives because of access to life-long HIV treatment. This is especially relevant to the U.S. epidemic, where 73% of the population living with HIV is 40 or older, and 43% are age 50 and above.
Third, the United States supports a business model for the UNAIDS Joint Programme that is efficient, effective, and responsive to current realities. The Joint Programme should continue its focus on impact as well as policy and program coherence across the system. Practically, this means one plan, this means accountability for results, and this means unified reporting of results by region.
The division of labor needs to be non-duplicative, taking into account the strengths and abilities of the Secretariat and Cosponsors, and it must be aligned with the UNAIDS 2016-2021 Strategy, the 2030 Fast Track goals, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In addition, the United States supports the spirit of the Global Review Panel (GRP) recommendations. As we have stated previously, the UNAIDS Secretariat should maintain responsibility to set and coordinate the global vision and agenda for HIV/AIDS, including establishment of costed targets. It should also maintain its leadership role on political advocacy, particularly with respect to key populations and their access to health service.
We look forward to hearing how the GRP recommendations have been considered by the Joint Programme and in the agreements reached between the Secretariat and the Cosponsors on the future of the UBRAF. We are particularly interested in understanding the core work and investments by the Cosponsor organizations in the HIV/AIDS response, and the added value of Secretariat resources.
Let me emphasize that, although UNAIDS funding can act as a catalyst, especially when it comes to funding short-term or pilot programs, it is essential that Cosponsor organizations step up by allocating non-core resources in the UBRAF. We understand implementing the new model is an “evolution,” and that that next six-months will be instructive to understand how this will work in practice.
Fourth, regarding the proposed Action Plan for the UNAIDS Joint Programme, the United States stands ready to share its best practices on how it has allocated limited resources to achieve high program impact, while leveraging the individual strengths of U.S. government agencie
We believe that the UNAIDS strategy to prioritize the highest burden locations and populations has been uniquely helpful in providing an evidence-based model for PEPFAR. That principle can serve UNAIDS and its Cosponsors as well.
Fifth, while no one country alone can end the AIDS epidemic, controlling HIV/AIDS is within our collective grasp. It will take all partners doing their part to reach this goal. The U.S. FY 2018 budget request shows ample U.S. commitment and generosity. But to achieve epidemic control, other countries and partners – including nonprofit and private sector partners – need to continue scaling up their contributions to the HIV/AIDS response.
Together, we are making rapid progress toward eliminating HIV/AIDS, but the next few years are perhaps the most crucial for UNAIDS and the greater global response. We look forward to working together to ensure success.
Finally, let me conclude by noting Amb. Birx’s regret that she was unable to join this session. Let me also take a moment to recognize the wonderful work Ms. Jan Beagle has provided to UNAIDS and the greater Joint Programme during her tenure. UNAIDS is a more robust, transparent, and effective organization as a result of her efforts and commitment. We wish her well as she transitions to her new position as UN Under Secretary General for Management, and have no doubt she will be equally superb in this new role.