As an UN agency and central to its mission, UNDP is committed to reducing inequality and promoting inclusion. UNDP works with partners to tackle stigma and discrimination and remove punitive laws to enable universal access to health and social services. Through its programs UNDP works to address current and future challenges across the three pillars of the UN’s work: peace and security, development, and human rights. Within these pillars UNDP has a specific focus on providing support around the globe in the area of Gender Equality, Human Rights and Legal Environments which interface with global health and other development sectors. To this end, UNDP through its headquarters, regional and country level offices:
For further information please refer to UNDP’s HIV, Health and Development Strategy 2016-2021: Connecting the Dots. The strategy elaborates UNDP’s work on HIV and health in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda).
At the global level UNDP provides leadership to the Global Commission on HIV and the Law convening on behalf of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). During 2010-2012, the Global Commission was established and undertook extensive research, consultation, analysis and deliberation to examine links between legal environments and HIV responses in respect to 6 focus areas of:
Since the release of the Commission’s comprehensive review and report in July 2012 the Commission has completed its work, UNDP now supports the follow up and stock taking phase. The Commission’s final report – HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights and Health and the comprehensive database of resources found on the Global Commission on HIV and the Law website are valuable resources.
UNDP strategically leads the implementation of the Global Commission’s report through the provision of country level Technical Assistance in facilitating and supporting Legal Environment Assessments and National Dialogues on HIV and the Law.
Legal Environment Assessments are national legal and policy frameworks that aim to identify and examine all of the important legal and human rights issues affecting a country.
National Dialogues on HIV and the Law are national stakeholder meetings where government, civil society and other partners share insights and experiences on HIV, law and human rights. The meetings create an environment in which those who influence, write and enforce laws, and those whose lives who are impacted by specific laws engage in a constructive dialogue with the aim of addressing HIV-related human rights issues. A few examples include the First National Symposium on HIV, Law and Human Rights in Kenya and the United States National Dialogue on the Criminalization of HIV Transition, Exposure and Non-disclosure: The Role of States and the Federal Government
Gender equality is a core component of UNDP’s work on HIV, health and development. It is central to the three pillars of UNDP’s ‘Strategic Plan: 2014–17’: sustainable development pathways, inclusive and effective democratic governance, and resilience-building. Furthermore, it underscores the reduction of inequalities and exclusion as central to sustainable human development as informed by outcomes of inclusive growth and universal access to basic services. This focus on gender equality is also aligned with UNDP’s role in the Joint UN Programme on AIDS, in which together with UNFPA and UN Women, UNDP jointly convenes inter-agency efforts to meet the HIV-related needs of women and girls and address gender-based violence.
Other gender-related initiatives in which UNDP provides a leadership role include:
The Global Gender and Economic Policy Management Initiative (GEPMI) which offers policy advisory support and provision of capacity strengthening activities. The initiative includes:
UNite to End Violence Against Women Campaign is an advocacy campaign that calls on governments, civil society, women’s organizations, men, young people, private sector, the media and the entire UN system to join forces in the goal of ending violence against women through:
As a response to the recommendations from the Global Commission on HIV and the Law Report; UNDP has supported a number of countries with undertaking Legal Environment Assessments (LEA). LEAs include reviewing and reforming a country’s laws and policies based on human rights and supporting an increase in the capacity to achieve enabling legal environments for effective HIV responses. Malawi is one of a number of countries which UNDP has supported to undertake a LEA.
In Malawi, and as lead up to the LEA in 2011, it was found that Malawi has constitutional law and a bill of rights that addresses equality and non-discrimination with mandates for the state to enact relevant laws and policies. However while People Living with HIV and key populations are accorded human rights and protected from discrimination; HIV and AIDS was not specifically listed as grounds for non-discrimination in the constitution and there was no HIV and AIDS legislation. As a response to this need, in 2011 the Department of Nutrition and HIV and AIDS (DNHA) and the Ministry of Justice in collaboration with UNDP, commissioned a LEA with the aim of assessing the extent to which the legal, regulatory and policy environment protects and promotes the rights of all people including people living with HIV and other key populations; and to determine what extent universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support is promoted in Malawi.
Between December 2011 and March 2012, a team of legal and public health experts conducted the assessment reviewing key relevant literature and conducting 66 Key Informant Interview and 21 Focus Group Discussion with national and district level stakeholders.
The assessment included:
Findings from the LEA
Five key findings came as a result of the assessment:
Recommendations from the LEA
A total of 16 key recommendations were made for the enactment of protective law in relation to HIV. The recommendations focused on the laws to protect and promote human rights and prohibit all forms of discrimination. Some of the specific focus areas included right-based approaches to HIV testing, prevention initiatives, as well as laws that define and specifically protect those who are vulnerable and key populations at higher risk of HIV exposure. The LEA also recommended a review of religious and cultural practices; as well as a review of penal laws that criminalize and impact on key populations. Lastly, recommendations were made to sign and ratify regional and human rights instruments, and move forward with measures to strengthen access to justice and law enforcement including access to legal support services as well as information and training on law and human rights.
Updates since the LEA