Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Providing Access to Preventive Commodities at UNESCO Headquarters

While attending the 28th Meeting of the Committee of Cosponsoring Organisations (CCO) of UNAIDS in New York, UNESCO’s Director-General Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura announced his decision to accept a recommendation of UNESCO’s Workplace Committee on HIV and AIDS to install preventive commodity dispensers in the premises of UNESCO Headquarters.

The announcement comes as part of UNESCO’s commitment to strengthen knowledge on HIV and AIDS among all of its employees, ensure staff is familiar with the United Nation’s HIV and AIDS workplace policies, and implement a policy of zero tolerance for stigma and discrimination in the workplace.

The Director-General also reported at the CCO meeting on progress made to date on training staff in order to give them knowledge and skills for responding to HIV and AIDS in their professional and private lives. Since the launch of the campaign to sensitize UNESCO personnel on HIV and AIDS, eleven percent of HQ staff have attended the orientation sessions.

UNESCO has an explicit program against HIV/AIDS.

Comment: Like the search for peace, the battle against this epidemic must begin in the minds of men and women. It is important that members of UNESCO's focus sectors -- education, science, culture and communications -- be sensitized to the magnitude of the problem and their role in its solution. Thus it is important that UNESCO itself begin by sensitizing its own staff. JAD

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