Empowerment and meaningful participation of communities most affected by sustainable development issues is fundamental to reaching global health, development, rights, and gender goals – including ending AIDS by 2030. This message was emphasized by global development partners at the Leaving No-One Behind in Decision-making: Setting the Example in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Era event held on 18 July – Nelson Mandela Day – during the UN High-Level Political Forum in New York.
Hosted by UNAIDS, the UNAIDS PCB NGO delegation, the Government of Botswana and the Government of Portugal, the event began with keynote speeches from Musah Lumumbah,
Ugandan youth advocate and UNAIDS PCB NGO delegate and Jenna Ortega, actress and activist. Panel members Slumber Tsogwane, Botswana Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, François Delattre, Ambassador of France to the United Nations in New York, Alessandra Nilo Gestos, Brazil and UNAIDS PCB NGO delegate and Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director were led by facilitator Ebony Johnson, gender and community mobilization advocate, through a dynamic discussion. The session considered lessons learned from the AIDS response, where multisectoral, multistakeholder partnerships and community mobilization, leadership and inclusion has been critical to progress, and how to consolidate these types of inclusive partnerships to help drive impact across the SDGs.
Interventions focused on examples of how and where meaningful community involvement in the planning, programme development, decision making and implementation within the AIDS response not only empowers the voice of those most affected but is also more effective in ensuring the most appropriate policy and planning, tailored to realities and needs.
The session emphasized how inclusion of community representatives in governance processes, at country, regional and global levels, is a powerful mechanism to foster solutions with impact. UNAIDS’ inclusive governance model, where civil society are members of the Programme Coordinating Board, was highlighted as a unique example of how United Nations governance systems can take forward the SDGs in a way which is accountable to and owned by ‘the peoples’ it serves, and which truly leaves no one behind.