HIV/AIDS has become part of the permanent
condition in human settlements around
the world especially in Africa and Asia.
The highest incidence of HIV/AIDS is in
cities and towns. There is growing consensus
that strategies to reduce HIV/AIDS must
go beyond health interventions because
of its severe social consequences. The
disease exacerbates poverty, creates orphans,
marginalises people and stigmatises those
afflicted and their families. It has also
weakened the ability of local urban institutions
to deliver services because so many employees
are affected at every level of society.
It is for this reason that last year,
UN-HABITAT established a new initiative
to involve local governments in the struggle.
Local governments are the authorities
best placed to lead, mobilise and co-ordinate
a wider response at the local level in
the fight against HIV/AIDS. The initiative
forms part of the Urban Management Programme
(UMP). The UMPs overall aim is to develop
and apply urban management knowledge and
to promote inclusive urban governance
to alleviate poverty, improve environmental
conditions and enhance economic growth
in urban areas.
UN-HABITAT, through its urban mandate,
is ideally placed in the UN system to
take on HIV/AIDS using its wide network
of partners, particularly at the municipal
level in towns and cities around the world.
City administrations are often ill-equipped
to manage local strategies because of
fragmentation of services, weak administrative
processes and poor dialogue between civil
society, local and national government.