“Annie Lennox SING campaign, Vienna 2010 b” by Manfred Werner – Tsui – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Take a trip back to the fabulous summer of 2010, when thousands of activists marched at the International AIDS Conference, waved our beer steins in Stephansplatz to the sweet songs of Annie Lennox, and demanded Human Rights and HIV/AIDS, Now More Than Ever. That year, UNAIDS added ambitious human rights targets to its 2011-15 “Getting to Zero” strategy.
Now fast forward to 2015. The UNAIDS-Lancet Commission has once again called for ambitious human rights action to help bring an end to AIDS by 2030. As UNAIDS and The Global Fund craft new strategies for the next four years, it seems like a good time to ask – how are we doing?
From time to time, when the lunacy of life as Swiss bureaucrats gets to be too much for us, my partner and I hop a train to somewhere where the dinner options extend beyond new ways to melt cheese. Lyon is just a couple hours away from Geneva – and as a place to self-medicate by
overeating, it’s unbeatable. Even if you don’t want to fork over your life savings for a meal by Bocuse or one of his proteges, you can easily get a plate of local mushrooms cooked by people who mean it.
In Lyon, walk down the street from the train station for a bit and you’ll get smacked in the face by a view of the river or the Basilica, hovering gold on a hill top in the night sky. At night, the streets fill with young people hopping the bars and arguing about whatever it is they study at the local university.
Welcome! Until a few weeks ago, I was the senior human rights advisor at The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. There it was my job to put new policies and procedures in place to protect and promote human rights in the context of the three diseases, and to support country dialogue and grant-making in up to 140 countries eligible for Global Fund support (sometimes, it felt like all of them at once).
I’m no longer in eight meetings a day, and freed of the obligation to represent a $3-billion-a-year institution, I’m feeling a little gleeful, a bit like the Catalonian guy in this picture. Some occasional thoughts on health, human rights, travel and other topics will find their way here.