By Mona Mishra - Medium.com

"I was hoping I would never have to write this. That no one would have to write this, ever. UNAIDS and civil society campaigners have had a special relationship of trust and collaboration. But now that relationship seems to have chipped. Irreparably, even.

Two shockingly opposite statements have emerged after the adoption of the 2016 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS by Member States of the UN at the recently concluded UN General Assembly Special Session last week.

Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS, was quoted in the New York Times saying that he felt ‘the declaration was something to be proud of’. UNAIDS sees this Declaration as another victory in a complex political process which it was tasked with 20 years ago when it was established in 1996. Convening national governments and civil society, and building their capacities on issues related to HIV, has been the central mandate of UNAIDS.

In sharp contrast, campaigners from across the world have called the Political Declaration a ‘high level failure’. In a scathing statement issued by the global coalitions of civil society organisations, reflecting their disbelief and anger at the fatal omissions, they further called it ‘a significant set-back’ and a ‘very weak’ Declaration."

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Thumbnail: Flickr CC UN Geneva