GENEVA, 23 December 2020— The virtual 47th meeting of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) has concluded with important decisions relating to the HIV response, the COVID-19 epidemic, and the ongoing transformation of UNAIDS.
In her opening remarks to the PCB, UNAIDS Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima, thanked the United States of America for chairing the meeting and for its continued leadership in the AIDS response. In her report to the PCB on the state of the HIV epidemic, Ms Byanyima described a mixed picture of progress for some and inequality, stalled or growing danger from HIV for others. With the UNAIDS 2020 targets unmet, she warned that COVID-19 threatened to blow the HIV response even further off-track and called on the world to tackle the long-term fragilities, inequalities and injustices which continue to drive the HIV epidemic.
“A second pandemic in COVID-19 now makes the situation immeasurably more complex,” said Ms Byanyima, “Our choices are stark: get back on track by tackling inequality rapidly and head on, with the expectation that progress for some can be realized by all, or watch as we slip further behind.”
In a special address, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, said that people living with HIV, key populations and community-led organizations were critical to helping shape the future of the AIDS response. She urged the PCB to prioritize the adoption of the new UNAIDS strategy with its ambitious 2025 targets so that it could inform preparations for the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS expected to be held in June 2021.
“We need political will and renewed commitment to adopt this strategy, to fully fund the global AIDS response, and to fully fund UNAIDS. Together let us make this decade of action also the decade we end AIDS,” said Ms Mohammed.
During the meeting, Ms Byanyima thanked Sweden and Germany for announcing significant financial contributions to support the work of UNAIDS, demonstrating their ongoing support for the organization. The PCB concluded with a thematic segment on cervical cancer and HIV with a special address from the First Lady of Namibia, Monica Geingos.
The PCB elected Namibia as its Chair for 2021, with Thailand to serve as vice-chair and the United States of America as rapporteur.
The report to the Board by the UNAIDS Executive Director and the PCB’s decisions can be found at unaids.org/en/whoweare/pcb/47.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.