Select Committee on International Development Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance

  My colleagues and I at the International HIV/AIDS Alliance welcome the decision of the International Development Committee to hold an inquiry into HIV/AIDS and social and economic development.

  The Alliance is an international NGO supporting community responses to AIDS in developing countries. Since our establishment in 1993, we have worked in partnership with over 1,000 local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Africa, Asia and Latin America, encouraging them to engage in AIDS work and helping them to improve their prevention, care and impact-alleviation activities. The Alliance also serves as a Collaborating Centre of UNAIDS.

  In discussing the response of the international community to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, we would like to draw the Committee's attention to the following principle points:

    —  successful responses to HIV/AIDS require community involvement and commitment, especially from people living with HIV;

    —  the Department for International Development (DFID) has supported some of the most important and innovative HIV activities in the developing world, but seemingly outside any overall strategy for ensuring a broad impact. DFID recently increased its commitment to HIV and began a process of improving its programmes; nevertheless, DFID is by no means a leader on this issue amongst bilateral aid agencies. The lack of DFID strategy is particularly evident in regard to civil society responses to AIDS, as reflected in a recent decision in India to phase out support to a remarkable "Healthy Highways" project without ensuring an adequate transition plan;

    —  the European Commission's support to HIV responses in developing countries has been particularly strong in certain areas of research, especially regarding the links between STDs and HIV. Unfortunately, the Commission seems to lack the necessary political will, bureaucratic structures and technical expertise to effectively support community and civil society responses to AIDS; and

    —  the lack of technical capacity in HIV/AIDS at both DFID and the EC has constrained the development of appropriate responses. In contrast, the United States continues to pull more than its weight in supporting developing country HIV programmes.

International HIV/AIDS Alliance

May 2000

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