The Mandate, Role, and Functions of HIV/AIDS Section in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations
In recognition of the fact that conflict and post conflict environments are high risk areas for the spread of HIV, the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1308 (2000) established HIV/AIDS Sections in Peacekeeping Missions. The Resolution set out the obligation to provide awareness and prevention programmes for all peacekeeping personnel as well as to the host community, in order to reduce the risk of peacekeepers contracting or spreading HIV while carrying out their assignments.
- To implement Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) including awareness and prevention programmes to Mission personnel;
- To mainstream and integrate, in a coordinated manner, HIV and AIDS issues in missions’ mandates within the Spectrum of Peace and Security Activities;
- To incorporate HIV and AIDS into outreach projects for vulnerable communities, including protection of civilians, women, and girls;
- To incorporate comprehensive HIV prevention and AIDS impact mitigation, including voluntary and confidential counselling and testing programmes and campaigns for reduction of stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS, in implementation of mandated tasks and assistance for capacity building of national institutions, assist in the process of Security Sector Reform and the Disarmament Demobilisation and Reinsertion, and focus on Sexual Gender Based Violence, etc.), while highlighting areas of specific concern and needs of the vulnerable people and those living with HIV;
- To reduce HIV risk, vulnerability, and manage its impact on peacekeeping operations and on the host populations.
HIV/AIDS Section works within the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1308 [Internal], which consist of two closely related programmes of activities:
- The provision of awareness, prevention, and care programmes;
- Integrating HIV and AIDS issues in the Mission mandates;
- Condoms programming;
- Post Exposure Prophylaxis management.
This Section’s activities fall within the framework to reduce HIV risk and vulnerability and manage its impact on peacekeeping operations. This Section works with the vision of the DPKO’s approach to HIV and AIDS, which is guided by three key principles:
- Respect for human rights, non-discrimination, and non-stigmatization;
- Gender sensitivity;
- Partnership based on collaboration with the United Nations Country Team.
Community Outreach Programmes
The HIV/AIDS Section works in close collaboration with the National Programmes on AIDS PNLS and PNMLS to undertake capacity building aimed at empowering individuals, the vulnerable, and communities affected by HIV and AIDS. Support provided includes technical assistance through training and sensitization, capacity building, and direct advocacy for support of local communities in collaboration with the UN Agencies. The Section provide technical support to national security and defence forces through collaborative training arrangements with MONUSCO Military contingents and Police. The activities include:
- Assistance, when possible and participation in activities of NGOs and private organizations working within the field of HIV and AIDS.
- Integration of HIV and AIDS awareness activities and trainings into outreach projects for vulnerable communities, including women and children.
Although the awareness campaigns presented so far by HIV/AIDS Section have led to many more people knowing their HIV status through Voluntarily Confidential Counselling and Testing (VCCT), the Section is still facing severe challenges to fight against stigma and discrimination which are major barriers to effective HIV prevention in most communities.
Obviously there is no single best approach to HIV prevention, but the response from the HIV/AIDS section has been designed to fit the local and peacekeeping conditions and also the level of the epidemic in the area. The programmes are constructed to encourage open communication about AIDS and activities that show people the risk of infection, while at the same time combating stigma and discrimination related to HIV and AIDS. The Section is also creating more programmes that recognise the fact that people are continuing to do negative things and that they should be helped to do so safely.
Who our partners are?
HIV/AIDS Section works in close collaboration with various partners within and without
- Internal – UN Security Council Resolution 1308
- MONUSCO Military contingents;
- UN Police;
- Medical Section;
- Inter-Mission Training Centre;
- Public Information Division;
- MONUSCO components through Focal Points;
- All UN Agencies.
- External – UN Security Council Resolution 1983
- Programme National Multisectoriel de Lutte Contre le SIDA [PNMLS];
- Programme National de Lutte Contre le SIDA [PNLS];
- Local NGOs;
- International NGOs;
- Local Media Organizations.
The HIV/AIDS Section operates under the guidance of the NY – HQ DPKO Policy Adviser, who maintains global oversight on the activities of the HIV and AIDS in Peacekeeping Operations and provides overall direction for administrative, policy, and budget issues in field Missions. At Mission level, the Section falls under the direct supervision of the DSRSG.