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					 Inter-Agency Task Team on

HIV/AIDS and the World of Work




   Overview of
HIV/AIDS personnel
  policies in the
  UN workplace



    First Meeting of the IATT and the
             world of work,
           28th October 2002,
               ILO, Geneva
                          Contents


I.     Background

II.    Purpose

III.   Policy framework

       A. UNGASS Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS

       B. ILO code of practice on HIV/AIDS and the world of work

       C. Other relevant documents

IV.    Inventory of personnel policies

V.     Methodology

       A. Qualitative or quantitative approach?

       B. Rapid Assessment

       C. Sources of information

VI.    Feedback loop

VII.   Other CCO action areas and further work

VIII. Questions for discussion




                                                                   1
I.      Background

In the decade since the UN personnel policy was endorsed in 1991, UN agencies
have taken steps to address the impact of HIV/AIDS in their workplace, including
participating in inter-agency initiatives. UNAIDS cosponsors recently renewed their
commitment to scaling up the response to HIV/AIDS in the UN workplace based on
the common principles and guidelines in the ILO code of practice on HIV/AIDS and
the world of work. 1

The Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, agreed upon by the UN General
Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS in June 2001, marked a watershed in
concern about the social and economic impact of HIV/AIDS. The tripartite ILO code,
also launched at UNGASS, provides a policy instrument for achieving the goals and
targets set out under the Declaration, and establishes guidelines for addressing
HIV/AIDS in the world of work.

The view that the UN system should not only be a model of best practice in
addressing HIV/AIDS within its broader mandate2, but also within the context of the
UN workplace, has been reflected in the conclusions of recent inter-agency meetings.

The Inter-Agency Advisory Group on HIV/A DS (IAAG), meeting 10-11 April 2002,
agreed on the urgent need to accelerate the response to HIV/AIDS and
recommended that the ILO code of practice be used as a minimum standard in the
UN workplace. 3 As a body comprised of representatives of 48 UN system
organizations, the IAAG underscored the breadth of the support in the UN system for
further action in this area.

Heads of agencies attending a Meeting of the Committee of Cosponsoring
Organizations (CCO), 12 April, endorsed the IAGG recommendations and agreed
upon a number of concrete measures concerning UN staff and their dependants
living with HIV/AIDS:

     1. to conduct a comprehensive review of compliance with the ILO code of
        practice on HIV/AIDS and the world of work;

     2. to conduct a survey of the numbers and categories of staff not covered by
        health insurance schemes;

     3. to appoint HIV/AIDS focal points within Human Resources departments; and

     4. to include HIV/AIDS in key senior management meetings.



1
  Report of the Nineteenth Meeting of the Committee of Cosponsoring Organizations (CCO), 12 April
2002, Rome, Chapter III. UN Staff and their dependants living with HIV/AIDS.
2
  UN System Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS, 2001/2005, sets out mandate and activities of UN system
organizations in the area of HIV/AIDS.
3
  Background paper prepared by ILO on “HIV/AIDS in the UN workplace” for the Inter-Agency Advisory
Group on HIV/AIDS, Eighteenth meeting, Rome, 10-11, 2002.


                                                                                                2
The UNAIDS report to the Twentieth meeting of the CCO in Washington, 15-16
October 2002, provided an update of cosponsors progress in meeting their
commitments,4 and noted that the review of compliance with the ILO code of practice
will take place in the context of the IATT, which includes the UN workplace as one of
its focus areas.


II.    Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an outline and methodology of the compliance
report on HIV/AIDS personnel policies to be conducted in the UN workplace.

The paper presents a basis for discussion on the expected outcome of this activity,
its contribution to the other CCO action areas and the overall goal of the IATT. It is
intended to stimulate dialogue on issues and constraints in implementing HIV/AIDS
personnel policies in the UN workplace and how these could be addressed within the
framework of the ILO code of practice. The paper also highlights avenues for
reinforcing other ongoing initiatives in the UN workplace such as the Learning Skills
Needs Assessment and the ACTION programme.


III.   Policy framework

The policy framework is based on the goals and targets established in the UN
Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, and reflects the international workplace
guidelines on HIV/AIDS established in the ILO code of practice. It draws upon other
relevant policies and guidelines related to HIV/AIDS as appropriate.


A.     United Nations Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS

The UNGASS Declaration of Commitment is premised on a multi-sectoral response,
and thus underscores the need for inter-agency cooperation in the area of HIV/AIDS
prevention, care and support. The Declaration highlights the importance of policies
that alleviate the social and economic impact of the epidemic and sets targets for
workplace based action.

Section 49:

By the year 2005, strengthen the response to HIV/AIDS in the world of work by
establishing and implementing prevention and care programmes in public, private
and informal work sectors, and take measures to provide a supportive workplace
environment for people living with HIV/AIDS.




4
  UNAIDS, “UN staff and their Dependants living with HIV/AIDS”, agenda item 6, Twentieth meeting of
the CCO, Washington, 15-16 October 2002. The paper also points out outstanding issues in relation to
each of these four areas, and they do need not be repeated here.


                                                                                                  3
Section 69:

By 2003, develop a national level and policy framework that protects in the workplace
the rights and dignity of persons living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, in consultation
with representatives of employers and workers, taking account of established
international guidelines on HIV/AIDS in the workplace.


B.       ILO code of practice on HIV/AIDS and the world of work

The ILO code establishes a comprehensive rights-based approach to HIV/AIDS that
stem from a set of common principles and guidelines. The code establishes non-
discrimination on the basis of HIV status as necessary for the protection of human
rights, and requires all workplaces to have a HIV/AIDS policy, including the following
components:

     1. Prevention through information, education and training;

     2. Protection of the rights of those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS; and

     3. Care and support for staff and their dependants.

The ILO code promotes dialogue between representatives of staff and management,
relevant workplace bodies such as safety and health committees, people living with
HIV/AIDS, and the local community in the development, implementation and
monitoring of HIV/AIDS policies.


C.       Other relevant documents

Other relevant policy documents and guidance material include:

        UN system personnel policy on HIV/AIDS (1991);

        Key steps in establishing local HIV/AIDS care and support for UN staff and
         their dependants, UNAIDS (July 2000);

        Guidance Note (1) for the United Nations Resident Coordinator System: on
         HIV/AIDS in the UN workplace; and

        Guidance Note (2) for the United Nations Resident Coordinator System:
         Towards a multi-sectoral response to HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS (October 2000).




                                                                                      4
IV.    Inventory of personnel policies

Recent surveys5 show that all cosponsors address HIV/AIDS in their workplaces to
varying degrees and participate in inter-agency initiatives on HIV/AIDS. What is not
known is how commensurable these activities are with the principles and guidelines
in the ILO code of practice, adopted by the CCO as the common standard for the UN
workplace.

The information available6 confirms that some agencies have relatively well-
developed HIV/AIDS programmes that visible at the field level as well as
headquarters, with examples of best practices in certain areas. Other agencies are
yet to fully internalise policies and implement them systematically. The uneven
progress points to the existence of constraints on the effectiveness of a common
system response to HIV/AIDS in the UN workplace.

Although all cosponsors report that they have HIV/AIDS focal points, in practice, the
role and level of responsibility may still be unclear in some workplaces, especially in
organizations lacking experience or technical capacity in this area. The lack of
information available on other aspects of the workplace relevant to HIV/AIDS, for
instance, on staff health, occupational safety and health, and health insurance
coverage, also suggests a lacuna in implementation, even among agencies who
have a formal policy of non-discrimination.

Moreover, implementation within agencies, as well as between agencies can give
rise to the perception of differential treatment, as some field offices are more “activist”
than others in implementing HIV/AIDS policies. This underscores the importance of
discretionary factors, such as the role of an HIV/AIDS expert or committed individual
in a given workplace. However, the different capacities of workplaces to implement
HIV/AIDS policies also points to the need for investment in human resources and
adequate staff training to ensure HIV/AIDS information, education, care and support
are available to all staff.

The perception of disparate treatment and availability of benefits raises the question
as to whether an “implementation gap” exists between headquarters and field staff. It
has been noted that issues and constraints in implementing HIV/AIDS policies are
often most keenly apparent at the field level.7 For instance, the ability to redeem
entitlement to full reimbursement of medical costs and access to care and support
services is more likely to be negatively affected by discretionary factors such as
currency fluctuations and availability of local expertise.



5
  Table 1: Update on activities of UNAIDS cosponsors, UNAIDS (April 2002) prepared for the
Eighteenth Meeting of the Inter-Agency Advisory Group on HIV/AIDS, Rome, 10-11, April 2002, and
UN staff and their dependants living with HIV/AIDS, Nineteenth Meeting of the Committee of
Cosponsoring Organizations (CCO), Rome, 12 April 2002; UN staff and their dependants living with
HIV/AIDS: Update on actions taken since CCO of April 2002, presented as an information item at the
Twentieth Meeting of the Committee of Cosponsoring Organizations (CCO), Washington, 15-16
October, 2002.
6
  Referred to above.
7
  Ulrich Vogel, Evaluation of the Implementation of the ILO Personnel Policy on HIV/AIDS, Harare,
Zimbabwe, Mission Report (December 2001).


                                                                                                     5
V.       Methodology

A.       Qualitative or quantitative approach?

The methodology used for gathering information on HIV/AIDS personnel policies in
the UN workplace and assessing compliance with the ILO code of practice will focus
mainly on an analysis of qualitative data. There are several reasons for this:

        Other UN agencies and UNAIDS are currently carrying out surveys related to
         HIV/AIDS in the UN workplace and there is a need to avoid duplication (and
         the data collected from these surveys may be used by the IATT) 8;

        The comparatively short time frame and financial constraints means that
         scientific statistical methods of data collection is not feasible;

        Often quantitative information is not the most revealing source of information
         and can even be misleading, especially due to the sensitive nature of the
         information;

        Survey “fatigue” among staff who may have many other responsibilities and do
         not have the time to make investigations and complete a complex survey
         accurately; and

        The need for a tailored approach that can be adapted to local circumstances
         suitable for information gathering in small as well as large workplaces and
         especially in field offices.

Qualitative data collection is particularly useful as it allows for an analysis of
subjective factors as well as objective factors. This is critical as effective
implementation of personnel policies not only depends on the existence of objective
factors, such as whether or not there is an official policy in place. The effective
implementation of policies usually depends on subjective factors such as the extent
to which human rights, such as the right to representation in decision-making in the
workplace and gender equality, are respected.


B.       Rapid Assessment

The methodology used for information gathering will be based on a rapid assessment
to enable the compliance report to be completed in a relatively short period of time
using qualitative data.9

It is intended that the rapid assessment will respond to (i) the need for qualitative
research capable of generating essential information on HIV/AIDS personnel policies

8
  Learning Needs Assessment and ACTION are two examples of ongoing surveys on HIV/AIDS in the
UN workplace.
9
  This approach adapts the Rapid Assessment methodology used by ILO-UNICEF in the area of child
labour. See Investigating Child Labour, Guidelines for Rapid Assessment, A field Manual, Draft,
January 2000.


                                                                                              6
in a specific workplace setting; (ii) allow for a comparative analysis with the ILO code
of practice; and (iii) provide to the extent possible reliable results in an often sensitive
environment where staff may deny that HIV/AIDS is a problem or may feel inclined to
put „the best face forward” of the organization rather than provide the most accurate
information.

The rapid assessment method will use several data collecting strategies in order to
achieve an understanding of the issues and constraints relevant to implementation
and compliance with the ILO code. The rapid assessment is expected to last no more
than three months. It should yield findings which are useful mainly for analytical
purposes, including identifying gaps and avenues for compliance with the ILO code in
UN workplaces.


C.       Sources of information

A varied range of sources will be used to gather information and conduct a report on
compliance of HIV/AIDS personnel policies in the UN workplace with the ILO code of
practice. For example:


        Existing information, published and unpublished work such as studies and
         mission reports. The results of ongoing work carried out by UNAIDS under the
         ACTION programme and the results of surveys such the Learning Needs
         Assessment surveys and feedback from workshops. Other ongoing initiatives
         currently being implemented in the field (including the lessons learnt from
         previous initiatives) and innovative examples of work and best practices drawn
         agencies and organizations in the UN system, such as the UNDP “We Care”
         programme, the Word Bank, and the UINCEF “Caring 4 Us”, among others.

        Discussions with knowledgeable individuals and organizations, including
         consultants and experts in the area, NGOs, trade unions, managers, women‟s
         organizations.

        In-depth discussions with key informants, such as people living with or
         affected by HIV/AIDS (with informed consent and in accordance with rules of
         confidentiality), human resource personnel, dependants (where appropriate),
         other staff members.

        Observations and visual information, for example of the physical workplace
         environment, posters etc.

        Individual interviews and conversations, both formal and informal, for example
         with the UN resident coordinator, UN theme groups, members of the inter-
         agency Human Resource Group.

        Group interviews involving small groups, may be informal, or more formal,
         such as with a staff union, UN theme group, health and safety committee, and
         may be conducted by teleconference.



                                                                                          7
      Short questionnaires on the process of development, implementation and
       impact of HIV/AIDS personnel policies targeted to specialised audiences such
       as HIV/AIDS focal points or human resource managers. It may be useful to get
       the perceptions of success and failure concerning HIV/AIDS activities to date
       from these key players.



VI.    Feedback loop

The methods of work of the IATT are necessarily consultative. A feedback loop will
be built into the conduct of the report through updates provided to IATT members at
meetings and through ongoing electronic communication. Feedback is especially
important at the initial stages of the report in order to ensure that that it reflects the
goals of the IATT and the inputs and consensus of the IATT members. As the report
developments it will be important to keep in contact with key informants to share
information and findings, as well as to ensure that there is no duplication of activities.


VII. Other CCO action areas and further work

The IATT report will contribute to the achievement of the four CCO recommendations
and other areas of work envisaged by the IATT. An improved understanding of the
issues and constraints affecting medical insurance coverage and the role of
occupational safety and health services will help identify avenues for improving
access to care and treatment, as recommended by the IAAG, and may provide
further activities for the IATT. Such findings should compliment the ongoing work on
HIV/AIDS in the UN workplace being carried out by the Human Resource Group.

The report will also form an important part of the advocacy activities of the IATT and
promote the fulfilment of the CCO recommendation concerning the inclusion of
HIV/AIDS on the agenda of senior management meetings.

In addition, the report may be utilised by the joint ILO/UNAIDS Meeting on Best
Practices in the workplace (Geneva, October 2003). The aim of the Meeting will be to
highlight best practices and consider how to measure effective progress towards
attainment of the UNGASS targets and goals.


VIII. Questions for discussion

Some key Questions for discussion and follow up after the first meeting of the IATT:

          1. What is the “UN workplace”? Does it include UN staff in non-regular
             workplaces eg. peace keeping forces?

          2. Who is a “UN staff member” for the purposes of the report? What about
             external contractors, precarious workers and other categories of staff
             who may be excluded?



                                                                                        8
3. Who is a “dependant”? Do we adopt the official definition or the de facto
   status?

4. How long should the report be?

5. Who will read it?

6. What will be the follow up to the report?




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