STOP AIDS NOW! reaction on the Council Conclusions on a transformative post-2015 agenda

December 18, 2014

On 16 December 2014, the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) adopted its Conclusions on a ‘transformative post-2015 agenda’.

STOP AIDS NOW! considers the Council ambition to contribute to  achieve a transformative post-2015 agenda that leaves ‘no one behind’ and that tackles exclusion and inequality a step in the right direction. 

Leaving no-one behind principle

STOP AIDS NOW! welcomes the re-emphasis on the importance of having an ambitious agenda that leaves no-one behind, applies to all countries and includes all stakeholders. At the same time, we are concerned that some crucial issues fell of the table during the negotiations.

There is a big focus on how the framework should respect national policies, but leaves out the obligation of states to ensure the leaving no-one behind principle. When national policies discriminate or even criminalise certain groups in society, people will be left behind. We consider it a missed opportunity that sexual orientation is not included in the list of statuses where people are often discriminated on. Today, still 78 countries have criminalising laws for homosexual act, which shows that sexual orientation is to be considered a critical barrier to accessing basic health services, and to keeping vulnerable people active in the health care system. If we wish to ensure that no one is left behind we will need to try and change these policies and laws through international frameworks like the Sustainable Development Goals.

We are pleased to see that the European Union takes a clear stand for sexual and reproductive health and rights and hope the member states will take the lead during the member states negotiations in making sure this is also clearly recognised in the final sustainable development framework.

Strengthening of civil society and young people

STOP AIDS NOW! applauds the inclusion of the strengthening of civil society, creating an enabling environment for civil society organisations and recognising the important role they have to play in the implementation of the post-2015 agenda. Yet, we are convinced that also community based organisations should be included, as they are best placed to reflect the needs of the most poor and vulnerable groups. CSOs and CBOs should be fully recognised in all their capacities and included in all steps of policy making: drafting, implementing, evaluation and holding governments to account.

The conclusions mention that the agenda should respond to the aspirations of young people. People aged 24 years and younger count for nearly 40% of the world’s population.  They have indeed specific needs and need youth friendly health services. STOP AIDS NOW! is convinced that this framework should put a stronger emphasis on including young people in the process and give them a voice and formal representation in the political debates. 

Advancing the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

We regret that building on and completing the unfinished business of the MDGs is only mentioned as a very general guiding principle, without concrete steps on how to make sure goals are supposed to be reached in time. The three health MDGs will not be reached by the end of 2015 and therefore business as usual is not an option if we really want the right to health to be realised in 2030. That is why it is important that innovative approaches towards maternal and child health as well as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis are clearly included as a priority in the new framework. 

STOP AIDS NOW! welcomes the recognition of the need to look beyond GDP to address on sustainable livelihoods and well-being. Today three quarters of the world’s poor and 58% of people living with HIV live in middle income countries (MICs). In these times where donors are stopping support for MICs and shifting their ODA more towards low income countries, it is crucial that we recognise that economic growth of a country doesn’t mean less inequalities, on the contrary. 

Support is needed where people are most in need, regardless the economic status of their country. We will continue to push for specific attention to marginalized and vulnerable groups to ensure true equitable access and leave no one behind.

For more information, please contact Sabrina Erné, Policy Officer International Affairs at STOP AIDS NOW!