November 2007 Briefings on UN Activities

Briefing on UN activities – November 19th to 23rd 2007 UNAIDS: 2007 AIDS Epidemic Update Two main items retained our attention at the UN last week. First, UNAIDS released its report “2007 AIDS epidemic update”. Second, November 20th marked the 18th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which is the guiding document used by UNICEF. UNAIDS: 2007 AIDS Epidemic Update Funding UNAIDS has gathered enormous support over the past decade. Many UN agencies envy the attention it has received and quote it as an example of the momentum and support required to impact any given cause. Funding is crucial for any international endeavor taken on by a UN agency. Funding increases depending on the level of public support and the perceived number of people who would be impacted by a particular project or agency. Reliability of Statistics One would think that international agencies such as UNAIDS have developed a comprehensive process that insures reliable statistics. It seems this was not the case until this year. The opening statement of the report by UNAIDS states that “In 2007, advances in the methodology of estimations of HIV epidemics applied to an expanded range of country data have resulted in substantial changes in estimates of numbers of persons living with HIV worldwide. However the qualitative interpretation of the severity and implications of the pandemic has altered little.” The statement clearly demonstrates that UNAIDS fears its funding will be reduced proportionally to the greatly revised number of people infected. This also diminishes the credibility of reports produced by this UN agency. UNAIDS credits an in depth revision of the...