Text from the NGO Delegation to the UNAIDS PCB
UNAIDS is now in the process of developing its next Strategy for 2021 and beyond. The timeline for developing the Strategy was supposed to have started early this year, but it was hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has now been extended to accommodate a longer consultation period to ensure a full and more meaningful engagement of all stakeholders in the process. These details are reflected in the PCB Paper “UNAIDS Strategy Beyond 2021” which is posted to the UNAIDS website.
In order to determine the new goalposts and targets, it is important to take stock and review the existing strategy, UNAIDS 2016-2021 Strategy. This consultation process will involve interviews, focus group discussions and an online survey that will culminate in a multi-stakeholder consultation no later than September 2020.
As a first step in engaging communities and civil society more widely, we invite you to respond to the Online Survey. This 15-20 minute survey is an opportunity to obtain perspectives on how UNAIDS is reaching its goal to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Is the current strategy successful or not? Did it effect change? What should have been done better? Where should the next Strategy be headed? Your perspectives on these themes will help inform and shape the content of the next Strategy, so that it is more responsive, inclusive, progressive and bold in the goals and targets it will set for the global HIV response beyond 2021.
The Drug Policy Network in South East Europe Board held a regular board meeting in Skopje from 28 to 28 September 2019. All 7 Board members and Executive Director participated.
Significant part of the meeting was dedicated to developing DPNSEE strategic plan. Using the results of the Strategic workshop held in May, the Board worked on the text of a stagey document which will be shared with the member organisations for consultations, to be completed at the General Assembly.
The Board discussed activities held in between the two meetings and projects which are being implemented or planned for the future.
The tentative days for the annual General Assembly are 16 to 18 December 2019. The Assembly will be held in Belgrade.
The Board proposes that all member organisations should re-affirm their acceptance of the DPNSEE Mission and Vision and formally sign it.
The Board was informed about critical situations of harm reduction services in Bulgaria and Bosnia Herzegovina and discussed potential ways to help member organisations.
Following the proposal from the General Assembly held in last December, Drug Policy Network South East Europe held a Strategic Workshop from 14 to 17 May 2019. The workshop was held in the Student Resort on Avala Mountain, nearby Belgrade.
At the Assembly, DPNSEE has analysed achievement of aims and objectives of the strategic plan adopted in 2016 and indicated in which way and by which activities the priorities will be followed in the next years. Now, the aim of the Workshop was to continue this process and define DPNSEE strategic priorities, goals and targets for the forthcoming period.
Representatives of all member organisations were invited to participate in the Workshop. 21 participants from 9 countries of the region gathered for a three-day workshop and worked in cooperation. The consultant which helped us to design the Workshop, facilitate work and structure the outcomes was Raminta Štuikyte.
In preparations for the Workshop, DPNSEE member organisations were invited to fill in a survey to present their situation and needs. In addition, a survey was offered to a variety of partners, from national drug agencies to regional and international organisations, to help us understand better the situation and trends in a wider context. The feedback was an important input for the Workshop.
Five priority areas were identified (working titles):
- Optimisation of services
- Financial sustainability
- Regulating drugs
- Human rights
- Strengthening the network
For each of them, small groups were discussing questions: What kind of changes you want to see? What Network could do? (types of activities, partnerships…) Which are the priority countries for the issue from the region? Which member organisations could take the lead? Which are potential sources of funding? What should we do in the first two years.
Results of the Workshop are being processed and will be offered to all the member organisations for further development. Following the Workshop, we shall continue strategic work so that the new Strategic Plan is adopted at the annual General Assembly planned for the end of 2019.
Recent National HIV in Serbia expired in 2015 and since then there were no initiatives to design a new one. Finally, this autumn, with revival of the activities around potential Global Fund project support, the Ministry of Health started a process of building a new HIV Strategy.
The process is quite fast – it started in early November with the deadline for the draft set at the end of 2017. A working group of five people was appointed, including one representative of the civil society. Each of the working group members was leading the process of producing the text in one of the priority areas: 1) Prevention, 2) Medical treatment and support to people living with HIV, 3) Stigma and discrimination, 4) Quality standards and 5) Strategic information.
In each of the subgroups, a dialogue between various stakeholders, governmental, civil society, academia and people living with HIV, was productive in analysing the situation and proposing new aims, measures and activities. DPNSEE and member organisations representatives participated actively in this endeavour. And success was achieved: the final meeting of the expert group, held on 25 December 2017, resulted in producing the final draft of the Strategy and the Action plan 2018 – 2021 for implementing it!
Even though the process short and the task challenging, we hope that the result will lay ground for a comprehensive and effective respond to HIV in Serbia.