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United Nations

Policy workshop on HIV/AIDS and family well-being

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Windhoek, Namibia, 28 - 30 January 2004

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Background

  1. The Policy Workshop was organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and hosted by the Government of Namibia, National Planning Commission Secretariat. It was held at Windhoek, Namibia.

  2. The purpose of the workshop was to bring together representatives of governments and non-governmental organizations as well as academic experts and practitioners from various countries in southern Africa to discuss the impact of HIV/AIDS on families in the region, to consider how families and communities are coping with the disease, and to contribute to the development of a strategic policy framework to assist Governments to strengthen the capacity of families and family networks to cope. In order to compare experience across regions, a participant from Eastern Europe was also invited to the workshop.

  3. The workshop was organized in the light of outcomes of recently-held international conferences, in particular the special sessions of the United Nations General Assembly on HIV/AIDS (New York, 25-27 June 2001) and on social development (Geneva, 26 June-1 July 2000). The workshop also promoted the achievement of the development goals of the United Nations Millennium Declaration: Goal # 6 relates to combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases (Target 7: -By 2015, to have halted and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS-). HIV/AIDS is seriously affecting progress toward reaching the other MDGs, including the goals to reduce income poverty, reach universal primary education, achieve gender equality, reduce hunger, and improve child health.

  4. In addition to participants from the host country, Namibia, international participants in the workshop came from Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Ukraine, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

  5. During the Workshop, discussions focused on:

    1. Exploring the effects of HIV/AIDS on family and family networks, changing generational roles, and related social integration issues;

    2. Identifying coping mechanisms at different societal levels to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS on the family;

    3. Reviewing existing policies and programmes to determine whether they respond to the needs of families affected by HIV/AIDS;

    4. Drafting a policy framework and recommendations for addressing family issues and changing intergenerational roles in HIV/AIDS policies and strategies;

    5. Identifying further capacity-building needs and knowledge gaps for follow-up activities.




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