U.S. Must Collaborate With U.N. To Achieve Goals of AIDS Initiative, Policy Analysis Says
The United States will not meet the goals of its five-year, $15 billion Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief without a "full and effective partnership" with the United Nations, J. Stephen Morrison, director of the Africa Program of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Todd Summers, president of Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm Progressive Health Partners, write in a Washington Quarterly policy analysis. The United Nations is "uniquely qualified" to help the United States find solutions to the two "critical challenges" that could jeopardize the success of the EPAR, Morrison and Summers say. First, the United States must convince other wealthy members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to commit more financial resources and support to the fight against AIDS, the authors write. The U.N. system is "best positioned" to leverage such commitments, according to Morrison and Summers. Second, the United States must form partnerships with competent institutions within developing countries in order to "bring order and coherence to proliferating individualized initiatives," Morrison and Summers say. With its ability to coordinate and provide technical support for programs, the United Nations will be essential in "bringing stability, coherence, cooperation and efficiency both to local and external responses" to AIDS, according to Morrison and Summers. However, the EPAR will redirect U.S. AIDS funding almost entirely through bilateral channels, making little use of U.N. agencies, a sign that the Bush administration has "failed to recognize the centrality of the U.N., both in terms of mobilizing other forms of support and of advancing in-country implementation," the authors state.
Therefore, the United Nations must "assert more aggressively its comparative advantages," making its priorities "tied more closely to U.S. priorities" and "systematically enhancing" the performance of its various agencies, Morrison and Summers say. In addition, the United States must engage public health experts in its foreign embassies, tie public health concerns more closely into the formulation of foreign policy and more closely coordinate efforts with U.N. agencies, they write. Morrison and Summers conclude that taking these "feasible and affordable" steps will "give the United States the best prospect of creating the in-country mechanisms in Africa and elsewhere that will be essential" to achieving its goals in the fight against AIDS (Morrison/Summers, Washington Quarterly, Autumn 2003).