XVIII International AIDS Conference

Youth: Providing Leadership on AIDS and Demanding Accountability MOSY08

Symposium Back
Location: SR 1
Schedule: 16:30 - 18:00, 19.07.2010
Code: MOSY08
Chairs: Elisabet Fadul, Dominican Republic
Caitlin Padgett, Cambodia

Too many young people are living with or otherwise affected by HIV. While countries have committed themselves to ensuring that young people receive adequate information and services to protect themselves from HIV infection and have access to HIV treatment, care and support when living with HIV, progress on implementation of the commitments is very slow. Young people's needs are often overlooked in national AIDS strategies and programming. In particular, the need for youth friendly services and for action to eliminate stigma and discrimination against young people is ignored. Time has come to hold leaders accountable for their existing commitments, ask those who have made any to make specific commitments for youth, and to urge them to step up efforts significantly to secure universal access to youth-appropriate HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. This interactive session with four youth leaders and four highest-level representatives of UN agencies and national or international AIDS programmes will discuss and debate HIV-related policies and programmes targeting young people and identify the gaps and challenges to achieving universal access for young people. Young people will ask these adult leaders to make further commitments for young people, and to ensure meaningful youth participation in all aspects of the response to HIV.

Presentations in this session:

Slides with audio
Presented by Elisabet Fadul, Dominican Republic

Slides with audio
What UNICEF could improve to achieve a better world for young people born with HIV
Presented by Stephanie Raper, Australia
Anthony Lake, United States

Slides with audio
Filling the gaps: what could donors commit to ensure effective and efficient funding for HIV-related youth programmes
Presented by Ricardo Baruch, Mexico
Michel Kazatchkine, Switzerland

Slides with audio
Harm reduction and young people: an element that can't be ignored in order to build a supportive environment for young IDUs
Presented by Nikhil Gurung, Nepal

Slides with audio
HIV-free young generation: what can be done to achieve this vision in South Africa
Presented by Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, South Africa

Slides with audio
Questions and answers

Slides with audio

Rapporteur reports

LAPC report by Lydia GUTERMAN

 “We don’t just want our voices heard. We want to be part of the process.”—Youth activist

This session was designed as a discussion among four young HIV activists - from Mexico, Nepal, South Africa, and Australia - and four ‘adult leaders’: Anthony Lake, the head of UNICEF; Michel Kazatchkine, head of GFATM; and the Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health of South Africa. Motsoaledi cancelled at the last minute, sending the Deputy Minister of Public Health Works of South Africa instead. The youth on the panel and in the audience expressed collective disappointment that Motsoaledi’s absence. They questioned his commitment to youth, and asked how he can expect to combat HIV/AIDS and protect the human rights of young people in his country if will not prioritize a youth-led conference session.

Youth implored the adult panelists to move beyond tokenism towards diverse and meaningful involvement of youth at all levels in decision making. Of particular concern were situations in which adults representing youth take the place of actual youth on decision-making platforms. Kazatchkine committed to addressing this problem with the GFATM Board and reporting back on progress at the next IAC. Already, GFATM has a youth board member, and there are youth representatives on the CCMs of 48 of the 120+ recipient countries. Kazatchkine encouraged all UN agencies to recruit youth board members.

A youth activist from South Africa emphasized the need to ensure the participation of rural youth in policy processes. The Deputy Minister agreed that more needed to be done in this realm. Two young women perinatally infected with HIV asked Anthony Lake to ensure that UNICEF prioritizes protecting the rights and needs of this oft-overlooked group, particularly their right to quality education. A young activist from Nepal emphasized that the rights of young people who use drugs are summarily violated and their voices are not heard. He asked Anthony Lake how UNICEF will work to ensure harm reduction services for young people who use drugs. Lake did not address the question but said some UNICEF national committees have youth on their boards and have committed to work harder on youth involvement.  Youth activists appealed to UNICEF to reestablish the MARP youth advisory group as part of a commitment to meet the needs of LGBTQ, MSM, drug user and sex worker youth in UNICEF policies and programs.



Youth report by Roli MAHAJAN

This session successfully underlined and highlighted some of the key features which define today’s youth: Passion, the need for putting forward their point but being hampered by the fear of going wrong because this could mean loosing everything that they have worked hard for and having to start from square one along with their desire to be heard and allowed more participation at all levels of governance.

To quote a panelist: Nikhil Gurung – “Young people should be seen as Youth Leaders and not just participants in the decision making spaces.”

 This interesting and interactive session was defined as a dialogue which would bring forth the challenges that the young people face to ensure that they are paid more than lip service when the government and civil society organizations as well as parallel organizations like UNICEF and Global Fund speak of “youth participation”. This session also managed to get some form of commitment from the ‘Adult’ members of the panel as well as the youth leaders.
This session brought to light the facts that since the youth session at Bali (ICAAP, 2009), the Global Fund had been trying to work harder to increase youth participation such that right now the Country Coordinating Mechanisms(CCMs) operates in 140 countries and out of it 48 of them have youth representatives on board. However to quote Michel Kazatchkine, the Global Fund Executive Director, “We make progress, we are away from where we were and also from where we want to be.”

During the discussion, Nkonzo Khanyile (panelist), questioned the Deputy Minister of Public Works, Hendrietta Bogopane Zulu, about the basis on which youth were selected for participation in the policy defining areas and was informed that South Africa is a dynamic country which is a political society with lots of activism, so effective participation leads to better and balanced youth representation. She agreed to the fact that the urban youth were better represented but also emphasized on the fact that the government was trying to involve the rural youth too specially by taking positive steps like forming a new ministerial body for children, women, young people and people with HIV and AIDS. She also spoke about the fact that the youth is welcome in the policy developing stages as she herself had joint the parliament at the age of 21.

The Global Fund executive director also stated that Global Fund procedures might be complex but the youth should fight for them to be changed and slowly the change will come. He himself spoke of bringing this issue to the board meeting. A board which also consisted of a young girl, Shanti who represents the youth and he hoped more such Shanti’s would find their way to the Global Fund Board.

A young Australian eighteen year old girl, Stephanie was also a panelist and representing Positive Woman Victoria(Australia), an organization which she was trying to take to the national level spoke of her childhood experience wherein she was denied the right to education because people were f the opinion that she would not live past 13 since she was born with HIV.

The moderators, Elisabet Fadul and Caitlin Padgett, used techniques like timing devices to make up for the lost time and also to allow maximum number of young people to put for the their issues such that these issues could be chewed upon if not successfully sorted out right then. It was then that Liping Mian put the Deputy Minister, who was standing in for the minister of health, in a tight spot by questioning the minister’s commitment to the youth in Africa when he could not fulfill his commitment of attending a youth session.

Some other questions raised were regarding issues like: Policies being “tokenistic”, lack of young people at different levels of governance, commitment from the Adult leaders on the panel.

This session concluded with some powerful statements from the various panelists like:

•    Don’t shut up about issues you (youth) are passionate about, speak out about them at forums where people who can do something about it can hear them
•    Commitment of trying for More Space and More inclusion by the Global Fund
•    Demand for Translation of Policies into Actions and Immediate Access
•    Commitment from the Deputy Health Minister of South Africa to make sex education more accessible and allowing medical choices for the young people from the age of 12 as ensure resources are made available to young people.
•    Budget should have space for young people’s budget too.
•    Work towards ensuring and protecting children’s rights.



    The organizers reserve the right to amend the programme.

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