On 23 February, the General Assembly adopted resolution 75/260 on the organisation of the United Nations General Assembly 2021 high-level meeting on HIV/AIDS (HLM). The resolution calls for the HLM to be held on 8-10 June 2021 and invites Member States to participate. The primary goal of the HLM is to develop a clear and action-oriented Political Declaration to be agreed upon by member states towards achieving the commitment of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

To promote meaningful contribution of civil society in the entire process, UNAIDS decided to contract a civil society or community-led organisation with recognised experience in the global HIV response. GNP+ and Aidsfonds were appointed to act as NGO co-conveners to work with UNAIDS to facilitate the active and meaningful participation of civil society organisations and communities in the entire HLM process. Communities and other stakeholders are encouraged to participate in the process leading up to the HLM and in the meeting itself.

The HLM is important because the outcome will be a Political Declaration that will be agreed upon by all UN member states. This document will be the point of reference for advocates to monitor and hold governments accountable to what they committed to in the Political Declaration. In order to influence the UN Member State negotiations on the Political Declaration, civil society organizations need to gain access to the people in their country’s UN Mission in New York who will be negotiating on behalf of their government. Civil society should also aim to liaise with the official country delegations who will be representing their country at the HLM, usually consisting of government officials and a civil society representative.