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UN HIV/AIDS PERSONNEL POLICY and THE UNDP “WE CARE” INITIATIVE IN THE WORK PLACE Milly Katana, Global Advisor JPO Regional Workshop, 25-29 Nov. 2002. 2. Background to “We Care” Initiative.

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UN HIV/AIDSPERSONNEL POLICY andTHE UNDP “WE CARE” INITIATIVE IN THE WORK PLACEMilly Katana, Global AdvisorJPO Regional Workshop, 25-29 Nov. 2002

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Background to “We Care” Initiative

  • UN HIV/AIDS Personnel Policy approved by the Executive Heads of all UN organizations, through the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC), in April 1991

  • The June 2001 UN General Assembly-Special Session on HIV/AIDS, calling for development of workplace policies that protect the rights and dignity of people living with HIV/AIDS in the workplace

UN HIV/AIDS Personnel Policy

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Why We Care Now?

  • The Spread of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic is Reversible

  • UN Agencies are advocating for Generating an Extraordinary Response:



    Gender sensitive

  • Response, with Results

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Why should the UN Care?

  • Because HIV/AIDS is a problem affecting the UN the same way it affects the rest of the community

  • Silence surrounding the epidemic is making it difficult in many countries for SMs and eligible dependants to benefit from existing care schemes

  • UNDP has a global mandate of creating an enabling environment for countries to effectively respond to HIV/AIDS

  • The enabling environment must, first and foremost, be created in the UN work place

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Why the Initiative?

  • The value UN places on its staff and other personnel to deliver its mandate

  • The commitment of the Administrator to fully support staff members and their dependants who are affected and living with HIV/AIDS

  • The opportunity to enhance the caring culture of UN for its staff who face serious situations that may impair them from performing their duties

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Aims of the “We Care” Initiative

  • To stimulate reflection and discussion on complex issues underlying the HIV/AIDS challenge so as to engage all SMs and other personnel in a common action that will support an HIV/AIDS competent workplace

  • To enhance capacity of UN country offices to support SMs and their dependants, with particular emphasis on access to care and treatment

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“We Care” Initiative: Objectives 1

  • To ensure full implementation of the UN Personnel Policy on HIV/AIDS and the ILO Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS in the world of Work

  • To ensure that all SMs and their dependants have at any given time 100% access to antiretroviral treatment

  • To facilitate access to adequate care, treatment and support to all SMs

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“We Care” Initiative: Objectives 2

  • To ensure that all SMs and their eligible dependants have access to voluntary confidential counseling and testing (VCT)

  • To enhance prevention through information, education and training so as to reduce personal vulnerability

  • To ensure protection of the rights of those affected by HIV/AIDS

  • To provide a supportive workplace environment free from discrimination and stigmatization of those affected and or living with HIV/AIDS

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Mode of Implementing the “We Care” Initiative

  • Phase 1:

    Formal Training for Staff in 18 countries

    Launch activities in 10 countries

    Phase 2:

    Assessment of performance of the initial 10 countries and expansion to an additional 10 countries

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Resources Available for Implementation

Specific Resources

  • The “We Care” Team

  • The “We Care” Project Manager

  • Provision for External Facilitators

  • The Global “We Care” Advisor

  • Budget of up to $30,000 for year 1 activities

    General Resources

  • The Office of Human Resources (OHR) Team in HQ

  • The Special Initiative on HIV/AIDS Team in the Bureau for Development Policy (BDP)

  • Expertise from all UN Agencies operating at Country Level

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UN HIV/AIDS Personnel Policy: Highlights

  • A. Information and education

  • B. Testing, counselling and confidentiality

  • C. Terms of appointment and service

  • D. Health insurance benefits

UN HIV/AIDS Personnel Policy

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Other UN Workplace Initiatives

  • Access, Care, Treatment and Inter-Organizational Needs (ACTION) financed by UNAIDS

  • Caring for Us-Financed by UNICEF

    Other efforts

  • Inter-agency Task Team on HIV/AIDS in the World of Work

  • Inter-agency Advisory Group on HIV/AIDS

  • UNAIDS Learning Strategy, etc

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Key themes of the ILO Code

  • Prevention of HIV/AIDS

  • Management and mitigation of the impact of HIV/AIDS in the workplace

  • Care and support of workers infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS

  • Elimination of stigma and discrimination on the basis of real or perceived HIV/AIDS status

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Overriding Principle in the Code of Practice

  • The key principle for implementation is applying the Rights-based approach to HIV/AIDS in the work place

  • It has 10 general principles

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Recognition of HIV/AIDS as a workplace issue


Gender equality

Health work environment

Social dialogue

Prohibition of screening for purposes of exclusion from employment


Continuation of employment


Care and support

10 Principles in the ILO Code

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Important Policy Issues to Remember-1

  • UN Staff living with HIV/AIDS are entitled to the same rights and opportunities as other staff with serious and life threatening illnesses

  • Health Insurance coverage is available for all eligible UN staff and their dependants regardless of HIV/AIDS Status

  • UN SMs and their dependants must be provided with up-to-date information to enable them to protect themselves and their dependants, and to cope with the presence of HIV/AIDS in their lives as well as within UN work environment

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Important Policy Issues to Remember-2

  • UN/UNDP does not oblige any SMs or other personnel living with HIV/AIDS to inform the organization or any of his/her colleagues of his/her status

  • No UNDP SMs and other personnel can be forced to take an HIV test

  • Confidential and Voluntary Counseling should be available to all UN/UNDP staff members and their dependents

  • All UN SMs and other personnel, together with their dependants should have access to a consistent supply of quality condoms

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Important Policy Issues to Remember-3

  • All UN SMs and other personnel must have access to disposable syringes and needles

  • All UN SMs and other personnel must have access to safe blood and plasma expanders

  • UN SMs and other personnel who are living with HIV/AIDS must not be subject to any form of stigmatization, harassment or discrimination, and have the right for their medical information to be kept confidential

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What’s there-1

  • Goodwill among top management to support staff

  • Basic information on HIV/AIDS

  • Efforts to raise the profile of HIV/AIDS not only among UN agencies but country wide

  • Formal training among some UN agencies in management of HIV/AIDS as a workplace issue

  • Inter-agency collaboration in workplace programs

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What’s there-2

  • Prevention technology support including condoms

  • Death in the staff ranks from HIV/AIDS

  • Staff members directly affected by HIV/AIDS

  • “Confidence” that enough intervention is in place

  • The MIP and Van Breda Schemes for Health Care

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What is missing-1

  • Trust and confidence among staff in top management and the institution to deal with HIV/AIDS

  • Clarity on what is available in terms of policy between HQs and COs

  • A deep appreciation of how HIV/AIDS affects UNDP as an institution

  • Denial among especially national SMs on the risks posed by HIV/AIDS on the UN workforce in the countries

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What is missing-2

  • Clarity on the difference between program support and in-house support to SMs and dependants

  • Delineating staff support to other agencies (not UNDP)

  • Actionable intentions for supporting SMs to build confidence in the organization

  • Active support to personnel who are not on a fixed-term arrangement with the organization

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What is missing-3

  • Time committed to staff development

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What is Possible-1

  • To match the goodwill and actions that support SMs and dependants to deal with HIV/AIDS

  • Alignment at all levels on issues of policy and practice

  • Resource Mobilization in-country for staff activities

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What is Possible-2

  • Generating a deeper understanding among SMs on HIV/AIDS and how it affects us in the UN

  • Engaging all SMs to integrate HIV/AIDS in their different work-lives/areas

  • Use of the UN RC system to support other workplaces in strengthening their interventions

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What is Possible-3

  • Assign some permanent SM the responsibility of staff welfare including HIV/AIDS

  • Having an AIDS competent UN workplace free from fear, stigma and discrimination

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Formal Training-18




Central African Republic











South Africa




10-Demonstration Countries-2002-3








South Africa



Additional 10 countries 2003-4


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Ivory Coast









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Way Forward

  • Continued support to the teams in the Initial 10 countries-Networking and capacity enhancement

  • Additional 10 countries-2003

  • By 2005, scale up the Initiative to all UN country Offices

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Selection of the Countries

  • Emphasis on the levels of prevalence

  • A balance on regions