Statement by India delivered during the 43rd Programme Coordinating Board Meeting of UNAIDS on Agenda Item 3 by Ambassador Mr. Rajiv K. Chander, Permanent Representative (WHO HQs, 11-13 December, 2018)

Statement by India delivered during the 43rd Programme Coordinating Board Meeting of UNAIDS on Agenda Item 3 by Ambassador Mr. Rajiv K. Chander, Permanent Representative (WHO HQs, 11-13 December, 2018) 

Thank you, Madam Chair. 

1. We take note of the Independent Expert Panel’s (IEP) Report and welcome the UNAIDS Management response to it containing five key action areas. 

2. We appreciate the Executive Director’s open-mindedness and forward looking approach to the panel’s recommendations which was established by the PCB at his very own request. We thank him for his able leadership during the last decade to lead change within UNAIDS. We wish him continued success till the end of his tenure. 

3. UNAIDS is in safe hands. We do not believe UNAIDS to be in crisis. It continues to fulfil its mandate by playing a unique and significant role in coordinating a global response to HIV/AIDS and has been a valuable partner in our own national efforts. 

4. We believe that every workplace should be a model, free from harassment, bullying and abuse including within UNAIDS. UNAIDS is the first and only UN entity, among the 66 entities participating, to have achieved full compliance with all 15 performance indicators of the UN System-Wide Action Plan (UN-SWAP) on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. As an organization, it has been a champion and leader of the gender agenda.

5. We urge the Bureau to work by consensus and not resort to the use of the Inter-sessional decision making or voting procedure except in a very exceptional circumstance. The bureau should leave important substantive issues, especially where consensus is lacking and which can wait, for decision making by the full membership of the PCB, whenever it meets.

6. It is unfortunate that a consensus did not emerge within the small membership of the bureau, necessitating a vote by the board. Not much purpose has been served by inter-sessional decision surrounding the limited or public release of the panel’s report before its full consideration by the board. A panel which was set up the board should logically have reported back to the board. To invoke the inter-sessional decision making procedure through voting days before the actual session was in the least unnecessary and misguided. India would not favor any divisive tendencies. We are strongly of the view that work in multilateral settings should be based on cooperation and not confrontation.

Madam Chair,

7. The IEP was established to provide forward looking comprehensive set of prioritized measures to enable the UNAIDS Secretariat and, as appropriate, the wider UN System to effectively prevent and address harassment, including sexual harassment; sexual exploitation and abuse; bullying and abuse of power in the workplace through a management response.

8. It is clearly beyond the remit of the terms of reference of the IEP and the PCB to sit in judgement over the continuation of the leadership.

9. There is a need to avoid micro-management and interference in the independent internal workings of the organization.

10. Accountability of UNAIDS to the PCB has more to do with fulfillment of its mandate. In this regard, it may be worth mentioning that the IEP acknowledges the success of the substantive programmes run by UNAIDS. We take note of the statement of the staff association.

11. We request Member States to examine the panel’s constructive recommendations and broadly guide the management to implement it.

Thank you.

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