UNAIDS Governance - MENA

Accelerating progress and holding stakeholders accountable in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals demand inclusive and cross-sector governance at the global and country levels. The AIDS response has been a pioneer in establishing inclusive governance mechanisms, including the Joint Programme.

UNAIDS was established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and remains the only cosponsored joint programme of the United Nations system. The Joint Programme is guided by its Programme Coordinating Board (PCB), a governance structure unique in its small size and its level of inclusiveness, with Member States, Cosponsors and civil society, and specifically people living with and affected by HIV, as PCB members. Its constituency structure and openness to granting observer status further enhances inclusiveness. The PCB’s agenda includes a standing item on leadership that allows for high-level guest speakers to address the PCB on critical issues in the AIDS response. The two-day PCB meetings are complemented by a day-long thematic session that fosters dialogue on key topics.

UNAIDS’ inclusive governance model has been recognized by ECOSOC as a lesson learned for the United Nations system for progress in the sustainable development era. This multistakeholder composition has also influenced other multilateral mechanisms, such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and Roll Back Malaria.

The Committee of Cosponsoring Organizations (CCO) gathers Cosponsor heads of agencies and facilitates the input of Cosponsors into the strategy, policies and operations of the Joint Programme. The CCO is also tasked with ensuring that relevant PCB decisions are discussed by the Cosponsors’ respective boards and that relevant objectives in UNAIDS’ global-level results frameworks are incorporated into Cosponsors’ results frameworks.


UNAIDS was established through ECOSOC resolution 1994/24 of 26 July 1994 to undertake a joint and cosponsored United Nations programme on HIV on the basis of co-ownership, collaboration, planning and execution and an equitable sharing of responsibility with six cosponsoring United Nations organizations (the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Population Fund, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the World Bank). This group was joined by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in 1999, the International Labour Organization in 2001, the World Food Programme in 2003, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2004 and UN Women in 2012. UNAIDS is now composed of 11 United Nations organizations and the UNAIDS Secretariat.

Six programme objectives for UNAIDS were listed in ECOSOC resolution 1994/24:

  • To provide global leadership in the response to the HIV epidemic.
  • To achieve and promote global consensus on HIV policy and programme approaches.
  • To strengthen the capacity to monitor trends in HIV and ensure that appropriate and effective policies and strategies are implemented at the country level.
  • To strengthen the capacity of national governments to develop comprehensive national HIV strategies and implement effective activities.
  • To promote broad-based political and social mobilization to prevent and respond to HIV.
  • To advocate greater political commitment for the response to HIV at the global and country levels, including the mobilization and allocation of adequate resources.

UNAIDS reports to ECOSOC on a biannual basis through the Report of the Executive Director of UNAIDS, transmitted to ECOSOC by the United Nations Secretary­General. It is practice that the Chair and Vice-­Chair of the PCB co­facilitate the development of a resolution on the Joint Programme.

UNAIDS governance has been recognized by the 54 Member States of ECOSOC in ECOSOC resolutions as a model for the United Nations system for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal agenda.

In resolution E/2017/L.27 in 2017, ECOSOC stated that it, “Recognizes the critical importance of the Joint Programme in actively contributing to and engaging in the follow-up and review process of progress on the 2030 Agenda, including at the high-level political forum, to ensure that adequate attention is given to the HIV and AIDS response and its interlinkages with the other Sustainable Development Goals and targets.”

In resolution E/RES/2013/11 in 2013, ECOSOC stated that it, “Recognizes the value of the lessons learned from the global HIV and AIDS response for the post-2015 development agenda, including the lessons learned from the unique approach of the Joint Programme.” It also stated that it, “Recognizes that the Joint Programme offers the United Nations a useful example to be considered, as appropriate, as a way to enhance strategic coherence, coordination, results-based focus and country-level impact, based on national contexts and priorities, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 67/226 of 21 December 2012 on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system.”

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