How do we promote meaningful empowerment so people everywhere can achieve poverty eradication, social integration, full employment and decent work? This was the key theme of a UNAIDS statement delivered to the 51st session of the Commission for Social Development in New York on 12 February.
Echoing the priority theme of the entire session, the UNAIDS statement on empowerment highlighted the fact that HIV should be viewed through the prism of a wider development agenda. Citing the seminal 1995 Copenhagen Declaration of the World Summit on Social Development, the statement argued that communicable diseases hinder social progress and often cause poverty and exclusion.
According to the statement, a people-centred approach to the AIDS response will lead to more effective poverty eradication, better social integration and a greater likelihood of having a fulfilling work life. Despite the progress made in this direction to date, the statement also contended that stigma and discrimination are still major barriers to people’s empowerment and that in many countries and communities the human rights of the people living with and affected by HIV are often neglected or flouted.
UNAIDS called on the gathering to challenge stigma and discrimination in all its forms and promote and protect human rights. This was seen as an imperative not only for an effective challenge to the epidemic but also to achieve sustainable development, social integration and inclusion.
The 51st session of the Commission for Social Development is taking place from 6-15 of February and is organised by the Division for Social Policy Development, part of the UN Secretariat’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs.