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AIDS. 2008 Aug;22 Suppl 2:S105-111. doi: 10.1097/01.aids.0000327442.66656.01.

Accountability in the global response to HIV: measuring progress, driving change.

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International Treatment Preparedness Coalition, Maplewood, NJ, USA.


Accountability implies that institutions and individuals are answerable for their commitments and responsibilities. The concept of accountability is highly relevant in the global response to HIV/AIDS because governments, donors and other actors have often failed to keep their commitments to expand funding and service delivery levels. Many governments have not been held accountable for failing to address the HIV-related needs of their populations adequately. Accountability is about more than passing judgement. Effective accountability mechanisms can be powerful tools to improve service delivery by providing constructive assessments and motivating decision makers to avoid negative external critiques. An impressive variety of HIV-related accountability projects have emerged over the past few years, the most prominent being the ongoing monitoring of government compliance with the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) Declaration of Commitment. Other accountability efforts are essential in order to capture perspectives and priorities outside of governments and aid agencies. Many civil society-based accountability projects are now tracking HIV policy, service delivery and funding levels. We make several suggestions to increase the impact of accountability efforts, including connecting accountability to sustained advocacy, holding multiple actors accountable, continually assessing what measures of success will be most powerful in driving improved outcomes, and supporting and building the capacity of civil society monitoring efforts. We also suggest exploring how the International AIDS Conferences could serve as an expanded platform for accountability.

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