Global meeting of mayors on ending AIDS in cities holds in New York

The Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, and the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, have convened a meeting in New York, United States of America, in collaboration with UNAIDS and the Fast-Track cities partners, UN-Habitat and the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC), on ending the AIDS epidemic in cities by 2030.

The meeting, made possible by the MAC AIDS Fund, was held at the New York Public Library on 6 June, ahead of the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS, which is to take place at the United Nations Headquarters from 8 to 10 June.

“Today offers a unique opportunity to partner and explore how we can work together to educate, treat and prevent the spread of HIV, and here in New York City we echo those efforts through our work, which has allocated US$ 23 million in new HIV prevention and health-care programmes,” said the Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio. “We are deeply proud of this work, but we must do more—I commend Mayor Hidalgo and the other mayors of great cities involved for their partnership in the global response to HIV.”

The cities event highlighted the essential leadership role that cities play in responding to HIV. Around 30 mayors from around the globe attended the event to discuss how they are getting on the Fast-Track to end AIDS in cities. They also shared how smart cities are implementing urban innovations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Later in the day, the mayors, UNAIDS and invited guests convened for The Problem Solvers: Cities on the Front Lines of HIV/AIDS, an Atlantic forum, presented by the MAC AIDS Fund and UNAIDS. The gathering provided an opportunity to take a closer look at the opportunities and challenges cities face in ending AIDS through a series of panels and conversations with mayors and urban leaders, health experts and advocates.

Mayor Hidalgo was unable to attend the event in New York because of the emergency situation in Paris following heavy flooding, but sent a strong message of support.

“We all share the same certainty: we no longer have the right to stand by and watch as HIV worsens when solutions exist. And because the solutions exist, we no longer have any excuse for inaction,” said the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo. “Political will is at the forefront of responding to AIDS and I stand firmly to say: Paris is committed to ending the AIDS epidemic.”

Mayor Hidalgo was represented at the event by two deputy mayors, Patrick Klugman and Bernard Jomier.

Cities are at the front of the response to HIV and other health and equity challenges and are uniquely positioned to take transformative action. City leaders are already driving innovation and social transformation through ambitious responses to global challenges such as climate change and sustainable development.

"More than half of the world's population currently lives in cities,” said the UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel SidibĂ©. “City leadership on HIV is essential if the world is to achieve the Fast-Track Targets and end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.”

On World AIDS Day 2014, the Mayor of Paris welcomed 26 mayors from around the world, who signed a declaration to end the AIDS epidemic in their cities. In signing the 2014 Paris Declaration, the mayors committed to putting their cities on the Fast-Track to ending the AIDS epidemic through a set of commitments. Those commitments include achieving the UNAIDS 90–90–90 treatment target, which will result in 90% of people living with HIV knowing their HIV status, 90% of people who know their HIV-positive status on antiretroviral treatment and 90% of people on treatment with suppressed viral loads. Since the end of 2014, more than 200 cities around the world have signed the Paris Declaration and are addressing the significant disparities in access to basic services, social justice and economic opportunity towards ending the AIDS epidemic.

“Fast-Track cities are accelerating their local AIDS responses toward the goal of ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030,” said the IAPAC President/Chief Executive Officer, JosĂ© M. Zuniga. “Our collaborative city-specific approach and real-time data generation afford us a precise understanding of gaps in city responses, which we are helping to address through targeted strategies to increase HIV testing, prevention, treatment and care.”

The event in New York provided an opportunity to share knowledge and draw on experiences from around the world. It brought together numerous partners, including the private sector, foundations and civil society. The opening session of the cities event was moderated by businessman and philanthropist Alexandre Mars of the Epic Foundation.

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