Office of the President of the Millennium Assembly
55th session of the United Nations General Assembly
 
 
 

Agenda item 179
( HIV/AIDS/CRP.1* )

Review of the problem of HIV/AIDS in all its aspects



Note on the special session of the General Assembly on HIV/AIDS
submitted by the

President of the General Assembly
8 December 2000

 

I. Organizational matters

A. General framework

1. At its fifty-fifth session, the General Assembly, in its resolution 55/13 of 3 November 2000, decided to convene, as a matter of urgency, a special session of the General Assembly to review and address the problem of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) in all its aspects. The aim of the special session is to secure a global commitment to enhancing coordination and the intensification of national, regional and international efforts to combat the epidemic in a comprehensive manner.

2. In accordance with resolution 55/13, the special session shall be composed of plenary meetings as well as interactive round tables. The preparatory process of the special session follows that of the Millennium Summit.

3. The President of the General Assembly shall lead the process of preparing the special session. Recently the Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations and the Permanent Representative of Senegal to the United Nations were appointed by the President of the Assembly as facilitators of the preparatory process. In organizational and administrative matters the President of the Assembly shall be assisted by the Secretary-General and the Department of General Assembly Affairs and Conference Services and in substantive matters by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), serving as the substantive secretariat of the special session. All entities of the United Nations system, including programmes, funds, specialized agencies and regional commissions, shall be actively involved in the preparatory activities and are encouraged to participate at the highest level in the special session.

B. Organizational arrangements for the special session


4. The President of the General Assembly wishes to recommend the following organizational arrangements for the special session:

Date and duration


5. In accordance with resolution 55/13, the special session shall be convened from 25 to 27 June 2001.

President

6. The special session shall be held under the presidency of the President of the fifty-fifth regular session of the General Assembly.

Vice-Presidents


7. The Vice-Presidents of the special session shall be the same as those of the fifty-fifth regular session of the General Assembly.

Credentials Committee

8. The Credentials Committee of the special session shall have the same membership as the Credentials Committee of the fifty-fifth regular session of the General Assembly.

General Committee

9. The General Committee shall consist of the President and the 21 Vice-Presidents of the special session, and the Chairpersons of the six Main Committees of the fifty-fifth regular session of the General Assembly.

Rules of procedure

10. The rules of procedure of the General Assembly shall apply to the special session.

Level of representation

11. In accordance with resolution 55/13, Member States and observers are invited to be represented at the special session at the highest political level.

Schedule of plenary meetings

12. The special session shall consist of a total of eight plenary meetings, as follows:

Monday, 25 June 2001, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 to 6 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m.

Tuesday, 26 June 2001, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 to 6 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m.

Wednesday, 27 June 2001, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 to 6 p.m.

13. At the opening meeting, on Monday, 25 June 2001, the first speakers will be the President of the General Assembly, the Secretary-General and the head of delegation of the host country of the Organization. The last hour of the afternoon meeting on Wednesday, 27 June 2001, will be devoted to the adoption of the Declaration of Commitment and the closing of the special session.

Debate in plenary

14. Statements in the debate in plenary shall not exceed five minutes.

15. Following the practice used at other special sessions, the list of speakers for the special session shall be established by a drawing of lots on the basis of the eight meetings. Member States, the Holy See and Switzerland, in their capacity as observer States, and Palestine, in its capacity as observer, shall be invited to participate in the drawing of lots.

Participation of speakers other than Member States in the debate in plenary


16. Organizations and entities having received a standing invitation to participate as observers in the sessions and the work of the General Assembly may participate in the debate in plenary.

17. Entities of the United Nations system, including programmes, funds, specialized agencies and regional commissions, with specific expertise in the subject matter of the special session may participate in the debate in plenary, provided that they are represented at the highest level.

18. A limited number of representatives of civil society actors with specific expertise in the subject matter of the special session shall be invited to participate in the debate in plenary (see para. 48).

Round tables

19. In resolution 55/13, the General Assembly decided that the special session shall, in addition to plenary meetings, be composed of open-ended interactive round tables, each interactive round table to be held in concurrence with a plenary meeting. The round-table sessions shall be held as follows:

Monday, 25 June 2001, from 3 to 6 p.m.

Tuesday, 26 June 2001, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 to 6 p.m.

Wednesday, 27 June 2001, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

20. The chairpersons of the four round tables shall be from the four regional groups not represented by the President of the General Assembly. The four chairpersons shall be selected by their respective regional groups.

21. The themes to be discussed during the round tables are outlined in resolution 55/13. These themes may be grouped, inter alia, in the following manner:

Round table 1

HIV prevention and care, including development of microbicides, improved access to care and treatment, including drugs, improved health infrastructures at the country level and scientific research and vaccine development.

Round table 2

Human rights and HIV/AIDS, including the right to live without stigma related to AIDS, the gender-specific impacts of AIDS, including especially on women and girls, but not excluding men, including men having sex with men.

Round table 3

The social and economic impact of the epidemic and the strengthening of national capacities to combat HIV/AIDS, including development of national action plans and of necessary steps to ensure the organizational survival of key governmental as well as civil society institutions in high-incidence countries; HIV/AIDS as a security issue.

Round table 4

International funding and cooperation, debt relief, expanded public/civil society sector partnerships, including the pharmaceutical industry.

22. The final decision on the content of the round tables shall be made by the States members of the General Assembly during the preparatory process of the special session.

23. The round tables shall be organized in an open-ended format, open to Member States and observers, and to those entities of the United Nations system, including programmes, funds, the specialized agencies and regional commissions, which have specific expertise in the subject matter of the special session and which are represented at the highest level, as well as those civil society actors, including organizations of people living with HIV/AIDS, non-governmental organizations and private sector representatives, which are accredited to participate in the special session and its preparatory process.

24. Further organizational arrangements, including the round tables, shall be elaborated during the preparatory process.

C. Outcome document of the special session

25. The special session shall consider and adopt a Declaration of Commitment on the HIV/AIDS pandemic to be elaborated and agreed upon during the preparatory process of the special session, and which shall build on the report of the Secretary-General and other background documents as may be deemed necessary. The report of the Secretary-General shall address, but not be restricted to, the issues defined in resolution 55/13.

26. The special session may also consider other relevant documentation, for example documents from various regional and subregional meetings on HIV/ AIDS which have been made available to the preparatory process of the special session by the respective organizations and bodies, as well as inputs from the civil society organizations, as deemed necessary and feasible by the Member States during the preparatory process. Given the short time frame leading up to the special session, meetings of regional bodies and organizations already scheduled will be crucial for this purpose.

27. The Office of the President of the General Assembly, with the assistance of the two facilitators and the UNAIDS secretariat as the substantive secretariat, shall prepare the first draft of the Declaration to be discussed among Member States and finally agreed upon by the General Assembly before the special session.

D. Funding

28. Resolution 55/13 stresses the importance of the full and active participation of all States, including the least developed countries, in the preparatory consultations in order to provide substantive input to the special session. Measures are being taken by the Secretary-General to establish a trust fund for voluntary contributions. Governments are invited to make appropriate voluntary contributions to this trust fund.

29. In order to assure adequate consultation with relevant civil society actors, as well as their participation in the preparatory process and the special session itself, the UNAIDS secretariat shall seek ad hoc extra-voluntary contributions for this purpose.

E. Preparatory process of the special session

Documentation

30. In order to facilitate and focus the preparatory consultations, the Secretary-General shall, in accordance with resolution 55/13, present a comprehensive report. The report will be made available to Member States not later than 20 February 2001. Programme of work

31. The tentative outline of the work programme and timetable of the preparatory process is contained in the annex to the present conference room paper.

32. Resolution 55/13 decided to convene, within the framework of the preparatory process of the special session, open-ended informal consultations of the plenary. They will serve as the main negotiating body in the preparatory process of the special session. The consultations shall be chaired by the President of the General Assembly. Member States and observers are invited to participate in the consultations.

33. Two substantive sessions of the open-ended informal consultations of the plenary shall be convened from 26 February to 2 March and from 23 to 27 April 2001. In accordance with resolution 55/13, these consultations shall submit proposals for final decision by the General Assembly.

34. During the two sessions of the open-ended consultations of the plenary, interactive panel discussions with civil society actors may be organized.

35. The President of the General Assembly intends to convene the first meeting of the open-ended informal consultations of the plenary on Friday, 15 December 2000, in the morning, to introduce the present conference room paper (parts I and II). It is expected that the conference room paper will be debated further in an informal/informal setting, facilitated by the two facilitators, starting in mid-January 2001.

36. It is expected that, on the basis of the Secretary-General's report, an "issues paper" on possible elements of the Declaration of Commitment will be made available to the Member States and observers before the February/March 2001 session of the open-ended informal consultations of the plenary. A short meeting of the informal consultations shall be organized on about 20 February 2001 to introduce the issues paper.

37. The February/March 2001 session of the open-ended consultations of the plenary shall focus on a discussion of the Secretary-General's report and the issues paper.

38. The first draft outline of the Declaration of Commitment shall be submitted to the Member States and observers by 12 March 2001, and a short meeting of the open-ended informal consultations of the plenary shall be convened at that time to introduce it.

39. The session of the open-ended consultations of the plenary in April 2001 shall focus on the draft Declaration of Commitment, which shall be discussed in informal/informals during March-April 2001.

40. To ensure an effective process, existing electronic networks, including those of regional NGO networks, shall be used to obtain inputs from civil society actors.

F. Awareness raising

41. In resolution 55/13 the General Assembly calls for an extensive public awareness campaign to be launched by the Secretary-General. To that end, the Department of Public Information and the UNAIDS secretariat have established a collaborative relationship. A fact sheet, including key dates and contact information, was disseminated by the Department in early December, including at the second African Development Forum in 2000 and at events marking World AIDS Day. Resolution 55/13 shall be brought to the attention of all Governments, relevant specialized agencies and programmes of the United Nations, international financial and trade institutions, other intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and other relevant civil society actors, as well as the business sector, including pharmaceutical companies.

42. As requested in resolution 55/13, the Secretary-General shall also aim to ensure an effective and coordinated United Nations system-wide response to preparations for the special session and, through the information programme carried out in cooperation with the UNAIDS secretariat, to raise global HIV/AIDS awareness, particularly in the most affected countries, while also building broad international support for the special session and its goals. It shall also build awareness of the need to put into action the Declaration of Commitment.

43. The Department of Public Information and the UNAIDS secretariat are in the process of developing a public information strategy for the special session, including advocacy and media messages. The principal web sites will include those of the special session and UNAIDS: www.un.org/ga/aids and www.unaids.org.

II. Recommendations on the involvement of civil society actors in the preparatory process and the special session

A. Accreditation

44. As recognized in resolution 55/13, the contribution of civil society actors in the response to the epidemic of HIV/AIDS at all levels is significant. In this regard, the resolution underlines the need for the active involvement of civil society actors in the preparatory process and the special session.

45. Resolution 55/13 defines three categories of civil society actors:

(a) Those which enjoy consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, in accordance with Council resolution 1996/31 of 25 July 1996;

(b) Those which are members of the Programme Coordination Board of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS;

(c) Those which are approved from the list, prepared by the Executive Director of UNAIDS, for consideration by Member States, on a non-objection basis during the preparatory process, for final decision by the General Assembly. This list will essentially include associations of people living with HIV/AIDS, non-governmental organizations and the business sector, including pharmaceutical companies, along with relevant background information on those entities. The required background information will be based on the criteria outlined in Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/31. In addition, evidence of recognized work in the area of HIV/AIDS, including at the community level, and previous experience in regional and/or global events will be taken into account. Preference will be given to those groups which are already affiliated with the UNAIDS secretariat or its co-sponsoring organizations. An appropriate level and balance of representation from each geographic region shall be ensured.

46. The list shall be submitted to Member States not later than 15 February 2001. The decision on category (c) and on the form of the involvement of these civil society actors shall be taken by the end of February 2001, to expedite the preparatory process and to allow more time for a substantive discussion during the first session of the open-ended informal consultations of the plenary in February/March 2001.

B. Form of the involvement of civil society actors


The President of the General Assembly makes the following recommendations:

47. Civil society actors in categories (a) to (c) shall be allowed to attend those meetings of the February/ March 2001 session of the open-ended informal consultations of the plenary, at which the Secretary-General's report is being discussed.

48. As suggested in paragraph 18 above, representatives of categories (a) to (c) representing civil society actors with particular relevance to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, people living with HIV/AIDS and the private sector shall be invited to participate in the debate in the plenary of the special session.

49. Member States should include representatives of civil society actors, people living with HIV/AIDS or representatives of their associations, and representatives of private sector in their national delegations to the special session.

50. In order to allow a maximum possible input by civil society actors and a wide geographic coverage, efforts should be undertaken by the UNAIDS secretariat and the Department of Public Information to establish an interactive electronic discussion forum. Summaries of inputs from those discussions would be made available to the preparatory process as informal inputs.

51. Outcomes of relevant events of civil society shall be used as platforms for input to the preparatory process and the special session, as well as to the outcome document. A list of such events is already being updated and will be included in the web site of the special session.

52. Special efforts shall be made to engage young people's organizations in the preparatory process. Dissemination of information on HIV/AIDS should be targeted to young people, who are at the greatest risk of contracting HIV.

53. Outside the period of the two sessions of the open-ended consultations of the plenary, additional interactive panel discussions with civil society actors may be organized.

Annex

Key steps and time frame for the intergovernmental process (December 2000-June 2001)

6 December 2000: Appointment of the two facilitators by the President of the General Assembly

Mid-December 2000: Circulation of a conference room paper (HIV/AIDS/CRP.1) on the organizational arrangements of the special session (part I) and the recommendations by the President of the General Assembly (resolution 55/13, para. 14) regarding civil society actors (part II)

15 December 2000: Open-ended informal consultations of the plenary on the status and process of preparations of the special session

17 January - mid-February 2001:
Open-ended informal/informals of the plenary on the conference room paper (part I) and the President's recommendations (part II), as well as on the list of other relevant civil society actors (resolution 55/13, para. 13 (b))

End February 2001: Decision by the plenary of the General Assembly on the organizational arrangements and participation of civil society actors

20 February 2001: Circulation of the report of the Secretary-General and the "issues paper" on emerging issues, trends and elements to facilitate the elaboration of the Declaration of Commitment

26 February-2 March 2001: Open-ended informal consultations of the plenary on the report of the Secretary-General and on the issues for consideration in the Declaration of Commitment

13 March 2001: Circulation of the first draft outline of the Declaration of Commitment

March/April 2001: Open-ended informal/informals of the plenary on the first draft outline of the Declaration of Commitment and elaboration of the draft Declaration

23-27 April 2001: Open-ended informal consultations of the plenary on the draft Declaration of Commitment

Beginning of May 2001: Draft decision on the recommendation by the General Assembly to the special session on the Declaration of Commitment; open-ended informal/informals of the plenary to be organized if the need arises

May 2001: Plenary meeting of the General Assembly to decide on the recommendation of the General Assembly to the special session

25-27 June 2001: Special session on HIV/AIDS