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June 2016

ICW Reflections on the 2016 HLM on ending AIDS


On June 8, 2016, after weeks of negotiations, the United Nations officially adopted the 2016 Political Declaration on Ending AIDS at the High Level Meeting on Ending AIDS in New York City.

ICW joins other members of civil society in expressing disappointment in the final Political Declaration, and to call for a forward-looking agenda to end the HIV epidemic that reflects the needs and rights of key populations, including transgender people, sex workers, people who use drugs, prisoners, and men who have sex with men.

In response to the official document’s shortcomings, civil society has released a Shadow declaration to set out a vision for global commitments that would advance human rights for all, including key populations.

Ms. Souhaila Bensaid ICW-ISC representative for MENA at the HLM

Despite these disappointments, the official Political Declaration does include some positive outcomes for women and girls living with HIV. As a result of tremendous advocacy from civil society, including ICW advocates, the final document includes strong language focused on gender-based violence and HIV, stigma and discrimination, meaningful stakeholder participation including women living with HIV, and commitments to financing and accountability.

ICW in action at the HLM!


Prior to the HLM, ICW engaged in extensive advocacy and lobbying activities to elevate the voices and priorities of women living with HIV.

ICW Member Consultation: ICW conducted a consultation with our members around the world, including meetings, reviewing regional positions, one-on-one dialogues, and an online survey of its members to understand better what women living with HIV wanted to see prioritized in the HLM Outcome Document and in country commitments.

The consultation process was an important avenue to hear the voices and perspectives of women living with HIV from around the world. Read the outcomes here.

HLM Lobby Week: ICW monitored the Political Declaration negotiations and engaged with our partners from 30 different civil society organizations in an intensive lobbying week May 16-20 to meet with UN Missions and Member State representatives to ensure that leaders know What Women Living with HIV Want!

With the coalition’s collective efforts, members were able to meet with 26 different governments, at times attending as regional blocs and other as a unified front, to collectively inform governments on the coalition’s key priorities and to educate them further on how to address contentious issues throughout HLM negotiations.

Among these key priorities, sex work, financing, gender-based violence, comprehensive sexuality education, key populations including young key populations, harm reduction programming, adolescent girls and young women, and sexual and reproductive health and rights composed the main recurring themes in these discussions. In addition to mission meetings, advocates attended informal negotiations to monitor the nature of ongoing negotiations.

ICW was out in full force at the UN Civil Society Hearing: ICW members and advocates representing women living with HIV in all our diversity were selected to present critical perspectives during the recent Civil Society Hearing (CSH). Marama Pala, ICW Ag. Chair played a key role as co-chair of the Stakeholder Task Force. Speakers included L'Orangelis Thomas Negron, Maurine Murenga, Teresia Otieno, Morolake Odetoyinbo, and Svitlana Moroz, each of whom gave powerful presentations on the lived experiences of women living with HIV, the human rights of women living with HIV, and on the critical importance of the HLM to women living with HIV.

The CSH took stock of the various aspects of the HIV response through 5 interactive panels on subjects ranging from financing and who is being left behind in the AIDS response, to innovation and the importance of partnerships.

Participants exchanged views on key priorities for the HLM, while underscoring best practices on the ground, and highlighting the special challenges faced by civil society organizations.The CSH can be viewed here. 

L'Orangelis Thomas ICW-ISC young women representative during her presentation at the HLM

Despite the frustration with the final declaration ICW wants to celebrate the tireless work of all our advocates and civil society partners and dedication prior to and during the High Level Meeting on Ending AIDS together, we were highly visible and mobilized, speaking in over 10 sessions, 2 protests, dozens of meetings with partners and stakeholders, and two side events: a panel discussing HIV criminalization and gender, as a celebration of the achievements of networks of women living with HIV and an interactive discussion under the #WhatWomenWant campaign.

Thank you to our partners AVAC, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, the Sero Project, the What Would an HIV Doula Do Collective and Athena Network for their support and friendship in those events.

During her speech at UNAIDS side event “Breaking the silos: Integrated services for adolescent girls and young women,” member L’Orangelis Thomas Negron stated, “We must push for a comprehensive education on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and to ensure access for every woman, young woman, adolescents and girls, in all our diversity, including Key Populations. This services and education must be free of stigma, discrimination and religious.Coming here to share my experiences and stories, without having concrete compromises and actions, is tokenism. Governments don't get to use the pain of people living with HIV to do what is right.”

ICW ISC Member Teresia Njoki Otieno emphasized the need for implementation of the Political Declaration, stating,“The Declaration is just a piece of paper until we use accountability and monitoring processes led by women living with HIV to hold governments accountable.”

Participants at the 'In sisterhood – a celebration of women living with HIV' side event.

Global Office

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PO Box 7228 Postal Code 00100
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Kenyan Based Staff

Rebecca Matheson – Global Director

Velvine Jobiese – Administrative Assistant

Florence Anam – Advocacy and Communications Manager

Maurine Murenga – Global Fund Coordinator

Rose Adem – Finance Manager

Virtual Staff

Toronto, Canada

Jessica Whitbread – Community Relations & Mobilization Manager

Washington, DC, US

Sophie Brion – Human Rights Attorney

Washington, DC, US

Katie Filous – Legal Fellow

Kampala, Uganda

Margret Happy – Communications and Advocacy Officer

Regional Coordinators

ICW AP: Sita Shahi


ICW WA: Assumpta Reginald


ICW NA: Deloris Dockrey

ICW MENA: Rita Wahab

ICW C: Olive Edwards

ICW LA: Arely Cano

ICW CA: Francine Nganhale

ICW ECA: Sveta Moroz

International Steering

Asia Pacific

Norlela Mohktar, Malaysia

Marama Pala, New Zealand,

Acting Chair

Central Africa

Fetia Donatienne, Democratic Republic of Congo


Althea Cohen, Jamaica

East Africa

Teresia Njoki Otieno, Kenya

Europe and Central Asia

Olena Stryzak, Ukraine

Zhenya Mailyan

Latin America

Ruth Mery Linares Hidalgo, Costa Rica

Hilda Esquivel, Mexico

Middle East and North Africa

Souhaila Bensaid, Tunisia

North America

Deloris Dockrey, USA,


Marvelous Mucenje, Canada

Southern Africa

Thembi Mkambule

Global Chair

West Africa

Monisola Elizabeth Ajiboye, Nigeria

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