The first Global Parliamentary Meeting on HIV/AIDS was spearheaded by the IPU Advisory Group on HIV/AIDS, a group of parliamentarians active in the HIV/AIDS field that was set up in 2006, and was timed to coincide with World AIDS Day.
This landmark event was designed to enlist the full force of the world's legislatures in the fight against the AIDS pandemic, in which parliaments are crucial stakeholders. There have been a number of national and regional parliamentary initiatives in this area but never before have the world’s parliaments been convened to jointly discuss the part they have to play in responding to the crisis.
Under the World AIDS Day theme of Leadership, the Meeting is designed to tackle some of the crucial issues that members of parliament face while performing their legislative, budgetary, oversight and advocacy functions in connection with HIV/AIDS. It brought together specialists from all over the world who shared their expertise in discussion sessions with representatives of national parliaments.
The Manila Meeting saw the launch and discussion of Taking action against HIV and AIDS, a new handbook for parliamentarians. The handbook devotes its largest section to some of the most important legal and policy issues that governments have to address as they scale up access to prevention, treatment, care and support. The objective is to assist parliamentarians to become leaders, take action and make decisions on HIV-related law and policy reform.
The Global Meeting also looked at universal access and the question of affordability of drugs. Delegates were given an opportunity to discuss an IPU position paper designed to help parliaments legislate in this difficult area.