Posted: Wednesday, 7 March 2012
From March through May 2012, trade union organizations throughout Africa will target Canadian Embassies in their countries to gain Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s support at the G8 Summit May 19 - 24, 2012, in Chicago, U.S.A. to:
- Implement the 2011 UN Political Declaration on HIV & AIDS;
- Commit resources to replenish the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria;
- Implement the International Labour Organization (ILO) Recommendation 200 concerning HIV & AIDS and the World of Work; and
- Include the Political Declaration and Global Fund commitments of G8 countries under its Accountability Framework.
The African Regional organization of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa) and the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) have joined efforts to focus on the Canadian Government to take leadership at the 2012 G8 on AIDS-related issues.1 This is because Canada has already taken initial steps including an assessment of how to implement ILO’s AIDS in the workplace Recommendation 200 within its borders, creating a model for other countries.
While the unions feel Canada needs to strengthen its own future commitments and policy frameworks for HIV & AIDS, they want Canada to exert vigorous leadership. The G8 has unfinished business on universal access which is why a strong G8 commitment to support UNAIDS’s “Getting to Zero AIDS” strategy2 is necessary.
Achieve Universal Access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by implementing the 2011 UN Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS
The 2011 Political Declaration on HIV & AIDS, adopted at the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS, outlined 10 key goals1 to reach by 2015 that are essential to the global AIDS response. The Political Declaration targets are time-bound and provide a clear and workable road map for the next five years and beyond.
Since the signatories to the Declaration have pledged to reach universal access by 2010, G8 member-states have a special obligation to ensure that the Declaration’s targets and commitments are realized, including through world of work actions.2 The G8’s commitment should take the form of a timetable of joint actions that provides resources and/or material support to achieve the 10 goals. Its progress should be monitored by the G8’s Accountability Working Group.
Replenish the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
Canadian and African Unions urge Canada to lead the G8 not to retreat from years of commitments in support for a fully-funded Global Fund. The cancellation of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Round 11, has postponed the next replenishment period to between 2014 and 2016.3
At the same time, unions want the G8 governments to support efforts aiming at reducing African dependency on external sources that are destabilizing the AIDS response. The G8 should support governance structures in regions to bridge the resource gap with strong political leadership and by meeting the Abuja targets of investing 15% of government resources in health.
Drug and supply shortages, along with longer waiting lists for essential medicines are already becoming evident because of declining resources, a sign that past progress is being undermined. Trade unions view the Global Fund’s role as a vital lifeline for those seeking and currently receiving lifesaving AIDS treatment.
Support the implementation of ILO Recommendation 200 on HIV & AIDS in the World of Work
Workplace HIV/TB prevention programs are underutilized elements in the global AIDS response. The CLC, its affiliates and African partners have long advocated for an expansion of workplace prevention programs especially now since the workplace will be a key venue for implementing a ‘treatment as prevention’ strategy. Unions have also argued for workplaces to become HIV discrimination-free zones since stigma and discrimination on the job persist at intolerable levels for many workers.
The UN Political Declaration on AIDS targets the workplace as a focus, urging member-states to implement the ILO Recommendation 200 as a national road map to protect human rights, eliminate stigma and discrimination, and expand AIDS prevention.2
The Canadian government is alone among G8 countries to have conducted an assessment of its current compliance to Recommendation 200.3 Canadian and African unions will lobby the Canadian government follow-up to help African countries perform a similar analysis (as part of Canada’s international efforts to strengthen national processes for monitoring and implementing the Recommendation).
The G8 Accountability Framework
Since 2005, trade unions have argued for a strengthened G8 accountability mechanism. Specifically, the Accountability Working Group, (AWG) should function in a transparent and inclusive manner and should engage with a broad range of development actors including international organizations, experts, business and trade unions, and civil society. The AWG should present its preliminary findings and allow for public review and comment.
In keeping with the 2010 Muskoka report4, the AWG should recommend future action to build on the previous commitments. Accordingly in 2012, it should continue tracking progress on G8 AIDS commitments including for universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, as expressed in the UN Political Declaration and G8 pledges to support a fully-funded Global Fund.
Join the Worldwide Petition Campaign
- Sign the G8 petition for Universal Access on HIV & AIDS
The online petition, hosted by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), is paving the way for union members and civil society from throughout the world to fashion their own personal message to the G8 leaders in addition to signing the petition.