The defining call of the 2030 Agenda is ‘to leave no one behind’ and to reduce inequalities within and between countries – it is, in large measure, an ‘Agenda for Equality and Non-Discrimination’. The 2030 Agenda reinforces the UN system’s existing mandate on human rights, including the principles of equality and non-discrimination.
Inequalities are not only related to income and wealth. Other kinds of inequalities include, inter alia, inequalities in opportunities and outcomes in relation to education, health, food security, employment, housing, health services and economic resources.
Evidence shows that disparities in health outcomes tend to mirror inequities in broader society. This illustrates the interdependence of health and development. Gender inequalities, for example, including unequal power relations and discriminatory gender-based norms, stereotypes and practices, are a strong driver of poor health outcomes for women and adolescent girls with adolescent girls being at alarmingly high risk of acquiring HIV.
Many drivers of social exclusion, such as stigma, discrimination, criminalization and marginalization, limit access to HIV, health and other basic services and increase health risks for the most vulnerable people, such as men who have sex with men, transgender people and sex workers. The data is stark: Key populations in the context of HIV - including men who have sex with men, sex workers, people who inject drugs and transgender people – and their partners are at high risk for HIV and account for between 40% and 50% of all new HIV infections worldwide.
Cities and urban areas bear a large share of the HIV burden, particularly in Africa and Asia. Cities are places where the risk of HIV may be heightened for some populations, especially young men, poor women and girls and those marginalized by ethnic, gender and sexual differences.
Proposed Guiding Questions
- In the context of HIV and health, who is being left behind and why? What are the main challenges and gaps? What are the opportunities for addressing these gaps?
- What contribution can UNDP make in this area?