We, as a diverse group of young people globally, would like to thank the President of the General Assembly along with the Co-Facilitators of the upcoming High-Level Meeting on HIV and AIDS for sharing the zero draft of the Political Declaration.
Within the zero draft, we welcome the strong messages of supporting and empowering communities and community-led responses, and in particular, welcome the recognition of key populations in all their diversity. This is a positive step in the right direction in acknowledging the vital role of key population and community-led response to an effective HIV response.
However, as young people, we express our reservation at the lack of positive obligations to implement wider systemic change that was identified and demanded by young people as a means to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. We are concerned that there is no mention of climate change and climate justice, one of the key issues facing our generation, driving disasters and creating humanitarian situations, that continues to exacerbate existing inequalities and hamper progress within the HIV response.
We are also concerned that we repeatedly see the idea of “build back better”. As young people, we are reminding decision makers that the system we have is not fit for purpose. Radical political action and commitments are needed if we are to avoid missing the 2030 goal of ending AIDS and the wider agenda for sustainable development. We call for change, not more of the same.
We call on member states to actively and meaningfully engage young people in negotiations to drive progressive and radical systemic reform that will allow for accelerated action to ends AIDS by 2030.