Greetings superstars 🙂 As you may still be aware, UNAIDS made history, and you were part of it 🙂 by making the first online global youth strategy! 🙂 Now, here is another chance to contribute to UNAIDS. Read on, writes my superstar Mikaela Hildebrand1
Membership on the UNAIDS Youth Advisory Forum
Recognizing the importance of youth leadership and engagement in the HIV response, UNAIDS launched a unique, open and democratic online policy process, CrowdOutAIDS in October 2011. CrowdOutAIDS enabled more than 5000 young people around the world to take part in shaping UNAIDS’ youth agenda. As a result of the robust and informative discussions from CrowdOutAIDS, in April 2012, a set of recommendations for how to increase youth leadership in the AIDS response were presented to UNAIDS’ Executive Director Mr. Michel Sidibé.
The CrowdOutAIDS recommendations consist of six strategic priorities with related key actions. The recommendations aim to contribute to achieving the targets set in the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS by increasing youth leadership, ownership, and mobilization in the AIDS response by 2015, and beyond.
The CrowdOutAIDS recommendations covered a range of issues that young people have identified as priorities. One of the recommendations called for the UNAIDS Secretariat to establish a youth advisory body. In alignment with this recommendation, UNAIDS will establish a Youth Advisory Forum (“Advisory Forum”) and is currently seeking applications of interest for membership on this forum.
Mandate of the UNAIDS Youth Advisory Forum (“Advisory Forum”)
The UNAIDS Youth Advisory Forum is a mechanism for open dialogue and exchange between UNAIDS and the diverse youth constituency with the mandate to:
- Provide strategic advice to the UNAIDS Secretariat on policies and programmes related to young people and HIV.
- Update the UNAIDS Secretariat on emerging developments within the youth and HIV movements at local, regional and international levels.
- On a yearly basis, provide a short summary analysis including key recommendations and follow up actions to strengthen the UNAIDS Secretariat ability to work with and for young people in reference to advocacy and leadership within the global AIDS response, to be presented to and discussed with senior leadership within the UNAIDS Secretariat.
- Advice the UNAIDS Secretariat on effective strategies and tools to promote meaningful youth participation and leadership in the AIDS response at country, regional and global level for maximum impact.
- Foster partnerships between the UNAIDS Secretariat and key youth constituencies and movements, with an emphasis on connecting HIV to the broader health and development agendas.
- Shape and co-lead advocacy efforts together with the UNAIDS Secretariat to mobilize and inspire youth leadership in the AIDS response at country, regional and global level.
Membership of the Advisory Forum
The Membership of the Youth Advisory Forum includes 16 young people aged 15-29. Members will represent their respective organizations in the Forum. The membership of the Forum will be gender balanced, and members will be selected from the following regions:
- Asia Pacific
- East and Southern Africa
- Eastern Europe and Central Asia
- Latin America
- Middle East and North Africa
- North America and Western Europe
- West and Central Africa
At least two seats will be reserved for young people living with HIV and two seats will be reserved for young people among key populations at higher risk. On seat will be reserved for a member of the UNAIDS women living with HIV platform to ensure linkages. Up to five UNAIDS secretariat staff will be appointed as observers to ensure capacity building, mentorship and knowledge transfer.
Requirements and Responsibilities for Membership
Members should be actively involved in youth-led or youth-serving organizations and have access to youth networks within their regions. This includes young people from networks of people living with HIV, key populations and student/youth organizations focusing on health, human rights and social justice-related issues among others. In addition to advanced knowledge of one of the primary languages of the region represented, advanced knowledge of English is essential for membership on the Advisory Forum. Members must also have consistent access to the internet in order to participate in the Advisory Forum meetings (see “Responsibilities of Members” below for more information).
Members, in their roles both as Advisory Forum participants, are expected to uphold and promote a just, rights-based and evidence-informed HIV response.
Responsibilities of Members
- Meet online at least 4 times a year via an online platform specifically designed for the Advisory Forum.
- Contribute the experience and strategic thinking and diverse perspectives from the broader youth community working on AIDS.
- Contribute to the drafting and compilation of the annual summary analysis on UNAIDS’ engagement with young people.
- Be available for email discussion from UNAIDS Secretariat staff seeking advice from a youth-focused lens.
- Participate in an in-person meeting once a year, pending funding.
- Ensure ongoing communication and consultation with the youth constituency in their region, to inform the positions brought to the youth advisory forum
- Act with discretion on issues discussed within the Advisory Forum meetings, as sensitive, internal and sometimes confidential issues may be brought to the group for discussion.
Membership on the Advisory Forum is not remunerated. However, UNAIDS will cover expenses related to in-person meetings, contingent upon available funding.
Minimum Participation Requirements for Members
Although members serve on a voluntary basis and are not remunerated, they are expected to actively participate in Advisory Forum activities. Minimum participation requirements per year are:
- Response to at least 80% of requests for written feedback
- Attendance of at least 75% of online meetings or teleconferences.
Members who do not meet minimum requirements will be contacted to try to resolve any technical issues that may impede their participation, if possible. If UNAIDS does not receive a response from the member and/or if the member fails to improve participation, then the member will be removed from the Advisory Forum.
Term of Service
Membership to the Advisory Forum will be for a two (2) year term per member.
Instructions for Application
To express your interest to become a member of this forum, please submit an application including:
a) Your CV
b) A document of no more than 1000 words including a motivational statement and answers to the following questions:
- Outline up to five bullets with key advice you would give to UNAIDS on how we can work more effectively to remove social or legal barriers young people face in the AIDS response
- What are some of the strategies that you would use to share ideas and information with youth networks in your region?
- What are some of the strategies you would use to generate input and ideas from the youth networks in your region to contribute to the work of the forum?
(c) Contact information for three references for work relevant to youth leadership, participation and/or HIV/Health/Development.
Please send your complete application to Mikaela Hildebrand (hildebrandm [at] unaids [dot] org), with a copy to Nina Sun (sunn [at] unaids [dot] org) by 15 March 2013. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Young people living with HIV and young people among key populations at higher risk of HIV infection are particularly encouraged to apply.
Once applications have been received, UNAIDS will run a selection process together with an ad-hoc working group of representatives of global youth networks, to choose the most suitable candidates based on the above-mentioned membership criteria.
Download the call for applications here.
 “A youth reference group should be established to inform the UNAIDS Secretariat’s policy and programmes with young people. The reference group should also engage in and coordinate advocacy efforts at the global level to remove the social and legal barriers that block young people’s access to HIV-related services. It should be regionally and gender balanced, and representatives from young key populations at higher risk and young people living with HIV should be encouraged to apply. Members should be selected on a rotating basis. Clear selection criteria should be defined to ensure that the reference group truly represents the perspectives of a diverse youth constituency.” CrowdOutAIDS Strategy, page 17, available athttp://www.unaids.org/en/media/unaids/contentassets/documents/unaidspublication/2012/JC2338_CrowdOutAIDS_en.pdf