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CARE condemns shortcomings in the fight against AIDS

NEW YORK, NY, USA, 31 May 2006 - In testimony before the United Nations General Assembly today, CARE International cited failures in the international community’s response to AIDS and called for bolder actions by governments, donors and non-governmental organizations.
 
“Let us hold each other accountable,” said Millicent Obaso, CARE’s HIV/AIDS advisor for East and Central Africa. “Ombudswomen at a regional level should monitor how we are doing on our commitments, because 60 percent of those living with HIV in Africa are girls and women. Let us engage them formally to find other solutions that will lessen their burden and workload. Let women report on what is going on at the grassroots level. We don’t need to wait until the next UNGASS to review our progress.”
 
Speaking at the five-year review of the U.N. General Assembly Special Session on AIDS (UNGASS), Obaso noted that 56 African governments have committed to spend 15 percent of their budgets on health in order to enable universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support. Yet, only Botswana and Gambia have fulfilled their commitment. Most donor countries have failed in their pledge to spend 0.7 percent of GNP on overseas development assistance, undermining efforts to support prevention, treatment, care and support.
 
CARE issued a report showing that although civil society groups are on the front line in the fight against AIDS, they are not fully involved in official processes. Surveys in Kenya, Malawi, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and the UK found that grassroots organizations, such as networks of people living with and affected by HIV, are not adequately involved in the design and monitoring of policies proscribed by the Declaration of Commitment. The report noted that civil society participation can be strengthened by NGOs using frameworks such as the “Code of Good Practice for NGOs Responding to HIV/AIDS.” More than 160 nongovernmental organizations signed the landmark 2004 document, which commits signatories to improve the quality and cohesiveness of their work and hold themselves accountable to the people with whom they work.
 
“We must strengthen civil society organizations and people living with HIV and AIDS to play a major role in monitoring the effectiveness of national efforts, and in keeping governments committed to the targets of the Declaration of Commitment and agreed milestones along the road to universal access,” Obaso said. “They can only do this if they are aware of how these declarations affect them.”
 
In order to help governments, donors and NGOs strengthen their accountability to people affected or infected by HIV, CARE recommends:
 
That donors and affected governments ensure financial and technical support to build capacity to fight AIDS, especially for systems to monitor and evaluate progress
 
That each country establish one integrated system to monitor and evaluate progress in the fight against AIDS
 
That governments strengthen partnerships with the private sector and mobilize private funding sources to fight AIDS by methods such as offering tax rebates 
 
CARE is one of the world’s leading humanitarian agencies, with projects to fight poverty in 70 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. For more information, please see www.care.org.

 

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Video

2 June 2006:
CARE International’s Millicent Obaso discusses the report she presented to the UN General Assembly calling for bolder action against HIV/AIDS, with an emphasis on the education of women and girls.
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