UNFPAUNFPA Annual Report 2001
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Leadership at the global, regional and national levels and attention to the cultural context of behaviour change were key areas of the UNFPA commitment to HIV prevention in 2001. Among the 5 million people newly infected this year were young people and pregnant women—two groups of primary concern to UNFPA.

Africa, with 75 per cent of the world’s 40 million people living with HIV/AIDS, continued to suffer the highest rates of infection, threatening development, social cohesion, political stability, food security and life expectancy.

UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador Mpule Kwelagobe visits an AIDS patient in Botswana. The former Miss Universe won the 2001 Jonathan Mann Award for work in health and human rights. From Botswana, where HIV rates are highest in the world, Ms. Kwelagobe is an outspoken advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention among adolescents.

Photo: Mark Edwards/Still Pictures

Action against HIV/AIDS

UNFPA is at the forefront of international prevention efforts, building on over three decades of dealing with sensitive issues of sexuality and culture and working to integrate HIV prevention throughout all reproductive health services.

Short-term interventions include promotion of responsible behaviour including abstinence, condom use, and delaying the age of sexual activity. Longerterm actions support lasting behaviour change through the empowerment of women and girls and the involvement of men.

Within the organization in 2001, HIV/AIDS prevention became a higher priority than ever before:

  • UNFPA dedicated additional staff and continued to enhance prevention programming and networking through HIV/AIDS advisers in regional, multidisciplinary Country Technical Services Teams.

  • The Fund continued to work in partnership with other co-sponsors of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). In 2001, Thoraya Obaid, UNFPA Executive Director, chaired the UNAIDS Committee of Co-sponsoring Organizations.

  • At a summit of African leaders in Abuja, Nigeria, UNFPA called for stronger prevention efforts to halt HIV/AIDS, with a focus on young people and on the empowerment of women and girls.

  • A strategic framework for 2002-2005 was approved by the Executive Board, defining an institution-wide strategy for the UNFPA contribution to prevention among young people and pregnant women and condom programming.

  • UNFPA participated in Country Coordination Mechanisms in several countries to help prepare funding proposals that will be submitted to the new Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

UN Special Session

A major event was the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS in June 2001.

UNFPA prepared technical documents, supported member states and organized two panel discussions at the government ministry level— one on gender and HIV/AIDS and the other on preventing infection among young people.

World leaders adopted a Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS with specific goals: reduce HIV infection by 25 per cent among young people in the most-affected countries by 2005 and by the same year provide 90 per cent of young people with access to the information, education and services necessary to reduce their vulnerability to HIV infection.