Posts Tagged 'HIV/AIDS'

A Whole-of-Government Approach to Trade

Whitehouse-tpp-image-web-520px
President Obama’s groundbreaking December 2011 Presidential Memorandum calls for a cross-agency, whole-of-government approach to addressing LGBT human and civil rights shortcomings abroad. That effort surely will be a legacy of his presidency. But has the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiation honored that approach?

For several weeks, the Council for Global Equality has engaged the Administration on our concerns about the draft trade deal. We worry that the heightened intellectual property rights (IPR) restrictions being negotiated, and championed by the U.S., could make it harder for poorer signatory countries to access affordable HIV/AIDS and other life-saving communicable disease medicines in order to respond effectively to legitimate health care crises. We also find it troublesome that, as far as we can determine, the negotiations have minimized any discussion of the human rights situations in prospective signatory countries, including the treatment of LGBT individuals – issues bound to impact any long-term growth in bilateral relations, including in the trade arena.

We know, of course, that this is a trade deal, not a human rights pact. We know too that trade can be beneficial, not only to U.S. corporations, but to the populations of many other countries. But surely we can do a better job of reflecting our values and human rights priorities, even in the context of global trade.

We deeply believe in a whole-of-government approach – one in which all government foreign affairs agencies frame their individual substantive goals in such a way as to support overarching national purposes. Certainly that was implicit in the President’s 2011 Executive Order. It was even more explicit in former Secretary Clinton’s creation of a Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), to marry more closely the policy goals and programmatic tools of the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development.   (We engaged former Congressman Tom Perriello on the latter, and were happy to see some of our focus on LGBT-fair policies included in the most recent QDDR.)

In the same sense, trade pacts, like other national instruments, should align with broad national policies. That is where our concerns with TPP lie. By letter, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has signaled U.S. support for flexibility in the IPR applications on life-saving pharmaceuticals needed to win the global war against HIV/AIDS.   We hope the commitment to the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health means that the U.S. will not pursue so-called “TRIPS-Plus” provisions in this context. Without concrete trip-wire mechanisms to ensure the flexibility that the Doha Declaration suggests, the strengthened IPR protections in the current draft TPP agreement are out of sync with our country’s humanitarian goals, as embodied most notably in our life-saving PEPFAR programs. The Trade Representative also points to the importance of regular engagement with TPP signatory countries on human rights issues. We appreciate this approach, and we look forward to concrete pledges that these concerns will be addressed as part of this and future trade agreements, consistent with the whole-of-government approach that is a hallmark of good governance.

As the House of Representatives takes up debate on the Administration’s request for fast-track authority, we hope it will make clear that USTR must stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the State Department in making clear that public health takes precedence, and that human rights shortfalls only erode our ability to sustain any long-term growth in bilateral trade. Perhaps a case can be made that an eventual TPP trade agreement may be in our national interests – but not if our national commitment to fair treatment, inclusion and humanitarian values is cheapened by the result.

Let your voice be heard on HIV and the Post-2015 development agenda

unaidslogoFrom UNAIDS

The international community is talking a lot about what development will look like post the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. Of great concern to UNAIDS/us is making sure that HIV, and the response to it, remain a central feature in the Post-2015 agenda. Why? Because the global HIV epidemic remains one of the world’s leading causes of early death and is both a driver and consequence of inequality and social injustice. The AIDS response has also been a pioneer and pathfinder on many fronts, and the innovation, dynamism, community leadership and global solidarity that characterizes the AIDS movement can make critical contributions to doing health and development differently in the Post-2015 era.

To capture your voices and views on how AIDS and health should be reflected Post-2015, UNAIDS is hosting an online and open-to-all conversation that will be moderated by nine individuals with long-standing experience in HIV and health. This online conversation will run for two weeks, between 21 January to 3 February.

To participate, visit http://www.worldwewant2015.org/health and start sharing your thoughts on the following three thematic questions up for discussion:

1: The unfinished HIV agenda: How is the HIV epidemic, and responses to it, relevant to the new Post-2015 health agenda in your community, nation, region or sector?

2: AIDS, health and development: What are the key factors that account for the significant progress seen in the AIDS response and how can these factors be applied to doing health and development differently?

3: Decision-making and accountability: What changes to systems of decision-making, monitoring, evaluation and accountability are needed to guide efforts towards the end of the HIV epidemic in the Post-2015 development agenda?

A Consultation Report will emerge from the e-discussion.  It will be shared broadly and also used in these specific ways:

  • The Report will influence the discussion and outcomes of the High-Level Health Thematic meeting (5-6 March in Botswana).  In particular, it will inform the Health Thematic synthesis paper.
  • It will be sent to the UNAIDS-LANCET Commission as a primary resource.
  • It will be used to write editorials and blogs, including those by the UNAIDS Executive Director and e-Consultation Moderators.
  • Participants will be encouraged to share the Report widely through their networks.

Presidential Proclamation–Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release  May 31, 2011

Presidential Proclamation–Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month

——-
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

The story of America’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community is the story of our fathers and sons, our mothers and daughters, and our friends and neighbors who continue the task of making our country a more perfect Union. It is a story about the struggle to realize the great American promise that all people can live with dignity and fairness under the law. Each June, we commemorate the courageous individuals who have fought to achieve this promise for LGBT Americans, and we rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Since taking office, my Administration has made significant progress towards achieving equality for LGBT Americans. Last December, I was proud to sign the repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. With this repeal, gay and lesbian Americans will be able to serve openly in our Armed Forces for the first time in our Nation’s history. Our national security will be strengthened and the heroic contributions these Americans make to our military, and have made throughout our history, will be fully recognized. Continue reading ‘Presidential Proclamation–Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month’


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