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UNAIDS, DPKO release practical lessons about security, AIDS in conflict and post-conflict settings

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Overview and background

Leadership of the Security Council

The Security Council has played a leading role in raising global awareness of the links between AIDS and security. Through landmark resolutions 1308 in 2000 and 1983 in 2011, the Security Council has galvanized global action to integrate HIV responses in uniformed services. In this regard, the UN has led by example, addressing HIV as an integral component of its own peacekeeping missions in diverse settings.

These Resolutions emphasize that societal instability can exacerbate the spread of HIV and, if left unchecked, threaten international peace and security. The Security Council called on UNAIDS and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) to implement HIV-specific strategies and programmes in UN peacekeeping missions.

The Resolutions also highlight the need to leverage the potential of peacekeepers to combat sexual and gender-based violence and called for integration of HIV and SGBV prevention in demobilization, disarmament and reintegration processes and security sector reforms.

United Nations partnerships to address the epidemic’s security dimensions

To implement the directives of the Security Council, UNAIDS and DPKO entered into a landmark cooperative agreement in 2001. This unique collaboration sparked the imagination of programme planners, practitioners and scholars, encouraging innovation and strengthening the evidence base for action on AIDS and security.

Today, HIV is being comprehensively integrated in all United Nations peacekeeping operations. UNAIDS/DPKO HIV/AIDS units have forged strong working partnerships with other aspects of peacekeeping missions, including in areas of gender; demobilization, disarmament and reintegration; and security sector reform. The UNAIDS/DPKO collaboration on AIDS has leveraged the strengths and expertise of other UN partners, including UNFPA, UN Women, the UN High Commissioner on Refugees, UNDP,

The effects of conflict are often especially acute for women and girls. In many settings, widespread sexual violence has been used as a tool of warfare, increasing gender inequalities and contributing to the spread of HIV.

In conflict and post-conflict settings, women (including many with children) often confront the choice between starving to death in devastated local communities or entering refugee camps where rape and sexual violence may be endemic.