Global trade union bodies last Friday adopted a plan of action to press for greater government action on HIV/AIDS, including a strategy to make leaders of G8 countries live up to promises made at last July's Gleneagles Summit in the United Kingdom.
"Last July's G8 outcomes gave real hope that the world's richest countries are prepared to take stronger action on HIV/AIDS, and we will be campaigning to make sure they take the next step at their 2006 Summit in Russia", said Alan Leather of the Public Services International, who chairs the steering group of the Global Unions HIV-AIDS programme. At Gleneagles, G8 leaders called for a mechanism to ensure progress on development issues from one Summit to the next, including ensuring universal access to HIV treatment through strengthening health care capacity and reducing the price of drugs and testing. "The establishment of a permanent G8 working group on HIV-AIDS is central to this. These governments need to heed the call of employers, trade unions and others in civil society to set this working group up," said Leather. "We now want them to follow through on their commitment to deal with the damage which they admit has been inflicted on health and education sectors, and to see to the training of health care workers," he added. Earlier this month, Global Unions took the first steps towards mobilizing support for decisive G8 action by assembling trade union leaders with UNAIDS and WHO officials from six of the most HIV/AIDS-affected African countries on the "3 by 5" initiative, which has aimed to provide treatment to 3 million people by the end of 2005. National meetings in each of the six countries by the end of this year will help deliver a clear political message to those who are preparing the next G8 Summit. HIV/AIDS Country Profiles Released: The global trade union bodies are also releasing comprehensive country-by-country profiles on HIV/AIDS, which will serve as a tool to monitor progress on HIV/AIDS-related indicators in every nation in the world. The profiles are available at: http://www.global-unions.org/pdf/ohsewpT_4a.EN.pdf (Beware this is a large document that could take some time to appear on your screen) "We have taken to heart the G8 call for an ongoing monitoring mechanism", said Leather. "With assistance from UNAIDS, we have created an innovative information and organizing tool never seen before by the HIV/AIDS community". "These profiles will provide the basis for partnerships for action between trade unions, employers, the ILO, UNAIDS, WHO and the World AIDS Campaign. Trade unions around the world will be able to use them on a national level as a framework for action in their work with others, to build support for HIV/AIDS programmes and actions". "Our aim is to inspire the support of as many people and organisations as possible in time for the next G8, which will undoubtedly have a lasting effect on our fight against HIV/AIDS". The Global Unions partnership includes the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC) and the ten Global Union Federations (GUFs), which together represent more than 150 million workers. Together with a number of national centres, they have played a key role in drafting and approving the ILO Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS and the world of work. For more information: Alan Leather Public Services International (PSI) Ferney Voltaire, France Tel: (334) 5040 6464 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.global-unions.org