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UNAIDS defines civil society broadly to include AIDS service organizations, groups of people living with HIV, youth organizations, women’s organization, businesses, trade unions, professional and scientific associations, sports organizations, international NGOs, and a range of faith-based organizations.
 
The importance of creating partnerships with and securing input from the full spectrum of civil society, including people living with HIV, cannot be overstated. Civil society speaks with many voices and represents many different perspectives. The wide range of strategic and tactical expertise within civil society organizations makes them ideal partners in the process of preparing National Progress Reports.

Since AIDS emerged, people living with HIV have been a key driving force in the AIDS response and few of the advances made would have happened without the tremendous efforts, expertise and advocacy of people living with HIV and affected communities. With appropriate support, people living with HIV can and must take a central role in their own country, region, or locality in the direction and delivery of AIDS programmes. Their involvement gives personal power and immediacy to AIDS efforts, improves the relevance of programmes and inspires others into action.

No single agency or constituency can reach the national targets needed to achieve universal access by 2010 – it has to be a collective effort. UNAIDS, national governments and other partners, including all parts of civil society, must work together in these efforts.

Partnerships in China
UNAIDS recognizes that civil society plays a key role in the response to the AIDS epidemic in China and is supporting capacity building initiatives of existing civil society networks in China.

Specifically, UNAIDS promotes the participation of civil society in programme development and implementation in China, and supports the full engagement of civil society groups in national level decision-making bodies, such as the China Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanism.

UNAIDS is working and supporting a wide range of organization of people living with HIV to built capacity, facilitate collaboration locally, regionally and internationally. Key strategies include support to building of networks, strengthening their capacity and through the networks assist in capacity building of the individual organizations at a local level.

Over the last couple of years, certain key processes have been initiated to advance civil society’s engagement and representation on national decision-making bodies and at region/international events. One important existing mechanism for civil society in China is the Global Fund CCM in China.

UNAIDS has ensured the inclusion and meaningful involvement of people living with HIV in key advocacy activities, facilitating their participation in meetings and conferences of local, national and international importance and assisting in the creation of a national network of organizations of people living with HIV.

Future Strategies
On a long term, the response to HIV will benefit from a national network/federation of civil society organisations, with clearly defined by-laws and structure that will be able to interact with other stakeholders in a coherent and strategic way both locally, regionally and internationally.

A crucial aspect of the work of the civil society is the need to build the capacity of organizations and networks including those of people living with HIV and ensuring that they continue to have financial resource to conduct their work.

To ensure the greater and meaningful involvement of people living with HIV in the AIDS response, UNAIDS will continue to work closely with key networks of people living with HIV.


 

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