Written by: Trevor Stratton
2015 was an epic year for the world’s HIV response with the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2016-2021 UNAIDS Strategy.
Look out world! It looks like the line up of important global events for 2016 will also be momentous.
But are we making a difference for Indigenous Peoples and HIV?
6th International Indigenous Pre-conference on HIV & AIDS
The international AIDS Conference has always been well attended by Indigenous Peoples and AIDS 2016 in Durban, South Africa from July 18-22 will be no exception. Once again, IIWGHA has applied to host a Networking Zone in the Global Village at AIDS 2016 where Indigenous Peoples will show their colours and share promising practices with the world. IIWGHA will also host their 6th International Indigenous Pre-conference on HIV & AIDS in Durban on July 17 and 18.
The registration and call for abstracts is now open at this link:
6th International Indigenous Pre-conference on HIV & AIDS
Protea Hotel Umhlanga Ridge
14 Palm Boulevard
Potential delegates are being encouraged to send in abstracts for any of the 4 Pre-conference learning tracks:
- Traditional Medicine, Care, Treatment, Support & Prevention
- Indigenous Identities, World Views and HIV
- The Meaningful Engagement of Women and Girls
- Leadership, Advocacy and Policy: Addressing the Social and Structural Drivers of HIV
The International Indigenous Pre-Conference on HIV and AIDS Planning Committee (PPC) is a group of dedicated volunteers and coordinators from Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and many countries. Our goal is to create a transformative discussion space where Indigenous peoples can connect with the global Indigenous HIV movement. We hope to see you in Durban!
United Nations General Assembly High Level Meeting on AIDS (HLM)
AIDS 2016 is not the only game in town this year. June 8-10 marks the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS (HLM), which will produce an outcome statement in the form of a political declaration on AIDS.
According the UNAIDS, it is critical that the new Political Declaration on AIDS builds on the pillars and targets of the 2016- 2021 UNAIDS Strategy and its strong linkages with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically SDG3 (Good-health and well-being), SDG5 (Gender equality), SDG10 (Reduced inequalities), SDG16 (Peace, justice and strong institutions) and SDG17 (Partnerships for the Goals). It will be important to ensure that countries commit to the Fast Track approach as the only way to envisage the response to AIDS in the coming 5 years if the world wants to achieve the goal of ending AIDS by 2030.
The 90-90-90 Fast Track approach means that by the year 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression (undetectable). It also means that the world must triple their investment in the AIDS response right now to achieve the 90-90-90 targets.
We need Fast Track funding, not just Fast Track language.
Will Canada answer the call? Will Indigenous Peoples be left behind once again?
Trevor Stratton, IIWGHA Coordinator has secured a seat on the Stakeholders Task Force (STF) for the HLM. The HLM STF’s main task is planning for the Civil Society Hearing (CSH) taking place on April 6 at the UN in New York in preparation for the HLM. Marama Pala, IIWGHA Co-chair from New Zealand, is also a member of the HLM STF and is one of two civil society Co-chairs for the group.
CAAN seat on the UNAIDS PCB NGO Delegation
Trevor also holds the North American delegate seat for the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN) on the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) for the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Delegation for a 2-year term. Trevor has been installed as the Chairperson of the Global Meetings Working Group for the Delegation. This working group’s mandate includes contributing to the outcomes for AIDS 2016, the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), UN High Level Meeting (HLM) on AIDS and the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs.
Accurate Representation of Indigenous Peoples in HIV Epidemiological Data
But how do we prove what we know; that Indigenous Peoples are a key target population for the HIV response in many countries? IIWGHA Leaders know that we need the evidence to prove this to the world.
To start this work, IIWGHA’s new Sowing Seeds Research Project team met in-person in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala from February 1-5 this year. The main goal is to support Indigenous researchers to sow the seeds for community-led research that will benefit Indigenous populations affected by HIV. Our work will produce an ethical research protocol to guide engagement with the Indigenous Peoples and communities.
Just a few years ago it seemed like Indigenous Peoples were on the outside looking in as we took steps to increase the visibility of the impact of HIV and AIDS in Indigenous communities at the international level.
But this year, as IIWGHA’s Leadership expanded to include Indigenous experts in Southern Africa and Europe, HIV activists from around the world saw the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network take their place front and centre on the international stage at UNAIDS.
Finally, CAAN, IIWGHA and Indigenous People living with HIV and AIDS have a voice at the United Nations.
Upcoming Meetings and Events
- April 7, 2016 – NYC Civil Society Hearing for U.N. High Level Meeting on HIV
- June 8-10, 2016 – NYC – U.N. High Level Meeting on HIV
- N. General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs – NYC – April 19-21, 2016
- CAAN Annual General Meeting – Montreal, Canada – June 14-17, 2016
- International Indigenous Pre-conference on HIV & AIDS – Durban, South Africa – July 16 & 17, 2016
- AIDS 2016 – Durban, South Africa – July 18-22, 2016