Precedent-setting agreement on AIDS coordination
Wednesday 24 August 2005
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SOUTH AFRICA: Precedent-setting agreement on AIDS coordination

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 27 April (PLUSNEWS) - A landmark agreement to coordinate global efforts to fight HIV/AIDS and increase support was reached by the international community in partnership with UNAIDS early this week.

Concern had been expressed that AIDS programmes were being developed in isolation by well-intending donors and NGOs, while detailed reports and donor visits were exhausting resources on the ground.

Angola, for example, was required to accommodate nearly 40 donor visits, leading to duplication and wasted efforts, an official from UNAIDS reportedly said.

According to a World Bank and UNAIDS statement, the precedent-setting agreement was reached with the United States, Britain and other donor countries, and is aimed at ensuring that heavily affected countries receiving assistance were able to spend the money efficiently and more effectively.

The three core principles, called the "Three Ones" are: a single agreed HIV/AIDS action framework that will provide the basis for coordinating the work of all partners; one national AIDS coordinating authority with a broad-based multisectoral mandate; and one agreed country-level monitoring and evaluation system.

Attending donor countries, World Bank, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UNAIDS and NGO representatives agreed that additional resources and collaboration with heavily affected countries was required to prevent duplication and fragmentation of resources, by streamlining the way money was given and eliminating duplicative surveys and reports.

According to the statement, the "Three Ones" would help donors and developing countries to work more effectively together on a country by country basis in coordinating the scale-up of national AIDS responses.

At the meeting held in Washington, Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS, reportedly said the agreement would provide each country with a single action programme to coordinate donations, a single authority in each country that would receive the money, and a single system for monitoring and evaluating how the money was spent.

"It is not just about raising more resources; it is about making sure these resources are spent wisely to help countries mount sustainable and effective AIDS strategies. This is why the "Three Ones" are so crucial," Piot said.

The "Three Ones" were identified in a preparatory process at global and country levels, and initiated by UNAIDS in cooperation with the World Bank and the Global Fund. The first meeting to discuss these principles was held during the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Nairobi, Kenya, in September last year.

Other donor countries who will sign the agreement include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

The groups and countries involved reportedly agreed that the system should be fully operational within a year.


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