[Contributed by Caitlin Boyce, UNDP]
On 16-18 July 2014, UNDP organized an expert group meeting on 'Gaps, traps and opportunities: Exploring access to justice and human rights for women affected by HIV in the context of plural legal systems' in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The three-day conference focused on the intersection of women's rights and plural legal systems, and specifically on the rights of women affected by HIV under various configurations of plural legal systems. The meeting identified key strategies, programmatic areas, and actions (including collaborative action) for future initiatives, as well as provided background, principles, and strategies for engagement to form the basis of a toolkit that will be produced by UNDP. The expert group meeting served as a productive space for those working on various aspects of these issues to share ideas and situate their work as part of a larger project of increasing access to justice for women, and particularly those affected by HIV.
The report of the National Dialogue on HIV and the Law for the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been released. The Naitonal Dialogue, which took place 26-27 November, 2013 in Kinshasa, brought together stakeholders from government, civil society, HIV and legal experts, human rights advocates and people living with HIV and key populations - more than 120 participants in total. The dialogue was organized by the Minister of Justice and Human Rights and the Congolese Organisation of People Living with HIV, with support from UNDP, UNAIDS and PEPFAR.
While the world has witnessed recent declines in AIDS-related deaths and new HIV infections, AIDS continues to present a serious challenge to health and development in many countries. As has been demonstrated by the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, laws and policies based on public health evidence and human rights are the foundation of enabling legal environments that have the potential to positively impact the HIV response. In follow up to the recommendations of the report of Commission, and in line with the UNDP 'Strategic Plan 2014-2017' and the UNAIDS '2011-2015 Strategy: Getting to Zero', UNDP has supported countries in undertaking Legal Environment Assessments with the goal of assisting governments, civil society and other stakeholders to develop evidence-informed policy and strategy, to review and reform laws and policies based on human rights considerations, and to support increased capacity to achieve enabling legal environments for effective HIV responses. Three such national Legal Environment Assessments for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi and Seychelles, have recently been published and added to our eLibrary section. The reports available for download through the following links:
The Meeting of Regional Economic Communities on implementation of the African Union Roadmap on Shared Responsibility and Global Solidarity for AIDS, TB and Malaria Response in Africa (2012–2015) was jointly convened by AUC, UNAIDS (Liaison Office to the AU and UNECA) & UNDP RSC (Africa) on 29 May, 2014 at Nouakchott, Mauritania.
Inaugurated by the Secretary General of the Mauritania CNLS, the AUC Head of Division and the Director UNAIDS (Liaison Office to the AU and UNECA), the meeting hosted a Member of Parliament from Burundi, representatives of RECs, and partner organizations including the WHO Regional Office for West & Central Africa. The meeting deliberated on aligning the RECs' implementation plans to the AUC Roadmap and discussed the status of different RECs with respect to their progress. The meeting ended with agreement of a follow-up meeting of AU, the RECs, UNAIDS and UNDP in November 2014.
On 27-28 May, 2014, the AU Convened the AIDS Watch Africa Experts' Consultative Committee Meeting in Mauritania which was inaugurated by a Representative of the Minister of Health, Mauritania. The AWA Experts comprised of senior officials from RECs and national AIDS control organisations across Africa. UNDP and its partners of the Africa Forum on HIV and the Law were invited as observers to the 2-day deliberations. In addition, UNDP RSC made two critical presentations for consideration by the Experts Consultative Committee. These were titled (a) "Integrating HIV and gender into environmental impact assessment processes in Africa" and (b) "A report on progress towards achieving law & human rights goals within the African Union (AU) Roadmap on Shared Responsibility and Global Solidarity for AIDS, TB and Malaria Response in Africa (2012-2015)".