Leaving no one behind - Focus Group Discussions to facilitate further consultation and deeper collaboration between relevant Law Enforcement stakeholders in HIV response

In light of the development of the Strategy beyond 2021, UNAIDS initiated a review of evidence in order to provide better understanding of the results obtained under UNAIDS 2016-2020 Strategy, and to identify strategic priorities beyond 2021 to ensure that the world is on track to reach the Sustainable Development Goals target of ending AIDS by 2030.  

In endorsing universal access to healthcare as a Sustainable Development Goal, the UN committed to a “leaving no one behind” approach. To ensure that the new Strategy includes interventions and responses that address the needs of those that are currently out of reach and left behind, UNAIDS initiated three Focus Group Discussions (FGD) in three areas: (1) young key populations, (2) justice sector responses and (3) social and structural drivers/barriers. 

There is increasing global recognition of the important role that national legislation and law enforcement have in protecting individuals and public health, especially among HIV key populations. Involving policy makers and law enforcement agencies in the HIV response and sensitizing them to the essential role they play is an important part of the UNAIDS Strategy. 

UNODC, jointly with UNDP, WHO, UNFPA and UNW was mandated to organize the FGD on justice and law enforcement responses to overcome challenges and to ensure effective country-led HIV responses, which took place on November 3rd, 2020. Invitations were sent to over 50 experts from Afghanistan, Australia, Canada, Estonia, Indonesia, Kenia, Moldova, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, Bangladesh, UK, and USA, thereby including representatives of law enforcement and justice sectors, scholars, global, regional, and national key populations’ networks.  

The discussions focused on detailed assessment of successful examples in HIV response, on what needs to be continued and what must be stopped. Recommendations were offered which would further engage justice and law enforcement sectors into the frameworks of UNODC, UNDP, OHCHR, enhance information sharing between various sectors and groups and improve overall engagement of justice, enforcement, prison officers, and national human rights protection institutions in the national HIV response.