UNODC is cosponsor of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS - UNAIDS
Statement of Mr. Gary Lewis on the UN programme on HIV under the United Nations Development Assistance Framework for India (2008-2012)
7 May 2007
New Delhi, India
Good morning friends, my name is Gary Lewis and I work with the UNODC Regional Office for South Asia, based here in Delhi. I am also the Chair of the UN Theme Group on HIV/AIDS in India.
India is the country with the largest number of HIV positive citizens anywhere in the world. Though the epidemic is heterogeneous with high prevalence in 3 states in the South and 3 states in the North East, it is still mostly driven by high-risk population groups. Moreover, it still affects fewer than 1 per cent of the population. These two facts give us a better opportunity to halt and reverse the epidemic.
The main need of the hour is for a SCALED-UP response to prevent transmission to those most at risk and to care for those already affected. By this I mean that there must be UNIVERSAL ACCESS to prevention, treatment, care and support services. This has already been agreed at an official level and India has set up precise targets to that effect in the National plan. The greatest problem we face is not a lack of resources, but an inability to implement those resources effectively because of a poor health care infrastructure and insufficient capacity in the states and districts.
The UN and the Government work according to the principle of the "Three Ones" - one authority, one strategy, one monitoring framework. The Government already has in place a comprehensive plan - called NACP III - to halt and reverse the epidemic within 5 years. The UN has already played a significant role in bringing development partners and civil society into the broad consultation which resulted in this plan.
The 5-year span of the
UNDAF coincides with that of NACP III. On current reckoning the UN Support plan for the implementation of NACP III will cost at least $83 million during this period. This may increase over time. Much of this will be used to strengthen capacity at the district level. All the UNAIDS Co-Sponsors in India have already constituted a Joint UN Team on AIDS and have developed the first annual integrated Joint UN Support Plan. In 2007, we will deliver $35 million towards India's effort to halt and reverse HIV and AIDS.
Thus, while the UNDAF sets the overall stage, we have been working - according to the UNAIDS Division of Labour - in a very organized way, prior to the UNDAF. We will make sure this continues.