Thank you Chair, thank you Executive Director and Vice Governor for your presentations.
I will read a statement on behalf of Denmark, Finland and Norway.
UNAIDS and the Joint Programme is facing a serious financial crisis. The potential consequences are spelt out very clearly in the documents submitted to the board, and it is clear to us that they require urgent and resolute action
At the outset, we acknowledge the important role that the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has in uniting the world against HIV and AIDS; speaking out in solidarity with people most affected by HIV; mobilizing resources and holding ourselves and others accountable for results; empowering agents of change and supporting inclusive country leadership for sustainable responses. A truly innovative joint venture.
Furthermore, we would like to make three points regarding the financial crisis:
Firstly, this is a crisis for the Joint Programme as a whole. The UBRAF report under agenda item 5 describes a dramatic scale-down both of staff and of activities. This obviously threatens to derail the attainment of the goals of the strategy, and potentially puts the viability of the Joint Programme as a whole into question. In our view, this situation endangers the results of systematic work over 20 years. In addressing this crises, the Joint Programme needs to come together, and work more closely and comprehensively as an entity than what has so far been the case.
UBRAF funding should be unearmarked, otherwise, the ability of the JP to cope with the present crisis could be underminded.
The financial situation cannot be effectively addressed separately by the secretariat and each of the co-sponsors. If that continues to be the case, scale-down will be uncoordinated, and the destructive effects of the budget crisis will be unnecessarily magnified. There is a clear need for a renewed and strengthened business model with a clearly identified division of, and accountability for tasks that is workable on the basis of projected funding, and we welcome and support the intention of the Executive Director and the Joint Programme partners to develop one.
Secondly, the goals of the strategy have to be at the center of the restructuring effort. Resources need to be allocated in a way that ensures the highest possible ability to attain those goals. This again requires a truly joint approach by the Joint Programme, and it requires calibrating both secretariat and co-sponsor staffing and resources to achieve the objectives. That must be the basis of the renewed and strengthened business model.
Thirdly, we would underline the urgency of stabilizing and restructuring the Joint Programme. Continued uncertainty over how the Joint Programme is going to look and how resources will be distributed comes at a very high cost. There is in our view a strong risk that such uncertainty will in itself contribute to further scale-down of capacities among partners, silo-thinking and it will also make fundraising more difficult.
We welcome and support the agreement reportedly reached in the CCO on the allocation for the co-sponsors in 2017, which is an important stabilizing measure. However, only a renewed and strengthened business model will bring lasting stability, and we would strongly argue that such a model needs to be developed jointly by the Joint Programme, and proposed to the PCB by the Executive Director at our next meeting in June.
We support the main outlines of the approach described by the Executive Director in his address. On a closing note, we believe we should all, as board members, support a clear focus on addressing this crisis, which threatens the viability of the Join Programme. That includes being more restrained than usual in making requests from the secretariat in decision points on other issues.