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Governance and HIV/AIDS Responses

CSGR has been contracted by the HIV/AIDS Group, Bureau of Development Planning of the UNDP, New York, to collaborate in carrying out policy-oriented research and in providing technical advisory services to countries on the theme of ‘governance and HIV/AIDS response’.  As a co-sponsor of UNAIDS, UNDP has launched a programme to assist countries in combating HIV/AIDS as a development challenge. Governance of HIV/AIDS responses is one of the three key focus areas of the UNDP’s HIV/AIDS programme; the others are ‘HIV/AIDS and human development’ and ‘Human rights, gender and HIV/AIDS’. UNDP is also committed to integrating HIV/AIDS into national development and poverty reduction strategies and programmes where applicable, as well as helping to develop national capacity to address HIV/AIDS. The first phase of the joint UNDP/Warwick Governance and HIV/AIDS project (September – December 2006) involved: (a) the elaboration of conceptual and methodological issues which underline the two-way relationship between good governance and effective AIDS response at global, regional and national levels – (1) the effects of HIV/AIDS on governance capacities and (2) governance structures and mechanisms required for effective HIV/AIDS response; and  (b) the preparation of the following three ‘framework’ papers under the auspices of CSGR:


  1. National governance and AIDS response: This paper examined the strategies and requirements of governance at national level for an effective response to the AIDS crisis, focusing on key actors and institutional structures; requirements of political/democratic governance for AIDS response – participation, legitimacy, accountability and transparency; decentralization of authority and accountability; human rights and gender equality; capacity-building and sustainability; AIDS financing and budgetary oversight; donor coordination; integrating AIDS into development planning and poverty reduction.

  1. Global governance and AIDS response: This paper critically looked at the role and functions of specific global institutions and specialized multilateral agencies, whose mandates and governance arrangements influence resource flows and capacity to respond to AIDS at country level. It addressed the question of the [in]adequacy of existing international structures and levels of support to achieve sustainable development in the face if the challenges of the global AIDS crisis, and relevant reform agenda. The main areas of focus are trade liberalisation and access to AIDS drugs; international financial flows, aid and debt reduction and AIDS financing; international human rights standards and equity considerations; global sovereignty and the need for collective action; global public goods; multilateralism and global partnerships; mutual benefits of regional integration and harmonisation of AIDS strategies, policies and action programmes.

  1. Operational and policy implementation framework for AIDS response: This paper dealt with the practical applicability of governance to country-level implementation of AIDS prevention, treatment, care and mitigation policies and programmes, in accordance with the recommendations and major commitments by the UN system and partners. It focused on action to reduce the ‘governance deficit/gap’ – strategies, systems and programmes for addressing governance as an ethical issue and a technical and managerial problem; ensuring the ‘continuum of governance’ – strategies and arrangements which continue to allow for greater participation by all stakeholders including civil society actors, and increased capabilities of civil society, over time; reform agenda at global level; coordination of regional efforts.

The first phase of the project ended with the hosting by CSGR of a one-day technical consultation at the end of November, at which the framework papers were discussed and views exchanged with the UNDP on the practical application of issues addressed in the papers to UNDP’s country and regional-level HIV/AIDS response and sustainable development projects in the next two years. The joint UNDP/Warwick project , which is expected to go into a second  phase in 2007, will contribute towards the goals of the overall UNDP programme on HIV/AIDS : “ to foster policy dialogue among key actors and promote participation of multiple stakeholders including civil society; clarify multi-level structures, multi-sectoral implementation frameworks and decentralization of democratic authority and accountability; and elaborate on the harmonization of UN support to national responses, global partnerships and coordination of donor financing mechanisms “.  During the second phase of the project, CSGR will be involved in advising the UNDP on the operational aspects (policy and technical) of its governance and AIDS response programme, based on the analyses and conclusions of reports prepared by members of the CSGR project team, as well as participate in UNDP country missions. In addition, it is envisaged that UNDP and CSGR will join forces in 2007 to co-host a major conference on governance and HIV/AIDS with a book publication as the main output.The project is managed by Franklyn Lisk, CSGR Visiting Fellow (; other CSGR collaborators are Richard Higgott, Marcelo Saguier and Dwijen  Rangnekar; and also Diane Stone, CSGR faculty associate, and Sophie Harman, PhD candidate, Manchester University.