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.
UNESCO’s Workplace Committee on HIV and AIDS is chaired by the Deputy Director of HRM, and is composed of representatives from the unit responsible for HIV and AIDS coordination, from HRM and the Medical Service, programme sectors, Central Services and the two Staff Associations. The Committee unanimously recommended to the Director-General that in addition to providing access to information and skills for the prevention of HIV and encouraging support for people living with HIV, UNESCO should also give its personnel easy and discreet access to male condoms. Fourteen dispensers will be installed in selected locations, seven of which will be multi-product dispensers also selling female hygiene products. The effort will be self-sustained through sales of the commodities, which will cover maintenance costs. The dispensers are expected to be installed and fully operational prior to World AIDS Day on 1 December 2006.
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 sensitise UNESCO personnel on HIV and AIDS, eleven percent of HQ staff have attended the orientation sessions. The Director-General reiterated his expectations, cited in his message dated February 2006 to UNESCO Staff on HIV and AIDS in the workplace, that all UNESCO staff including senior managers, ADGs and Directors should take part in the orientation sessions which are being organised on a voluntary basis. He indicated that a new round of training sessions is being offered and promoted, with special efforts planned on World AIDS Day.