Over the years, the participation of the civil society on monitoring the international policies of AIDS has increased. The follow-up of the commitments agreed by the governments in 2001, in the United Nations, has been the main outstanding aspect out of this process. In this perspective, after the experience in Brazil, the UNGASS-AIDS Forums have already began in Africa, Asia and Latin America aiming to integrate international discussions to the local issues and to strength the policies of sexual and reproductive health in the “four corners of the world”.
Africa – Uganda was the first country to hold the III UNGASS-AIDS Forum, in Kampala, between the 4th and 5th of June. Thirty-six members of people living with HIV networks, NGOs and government ministries (Gender and Development and Health) were there to discuss strategies of advocacy for the monitoring of the government’s commitments to reduce the AIDS epidemic and to improve the public policies on sexual and reproductive rights.
The outcome was an advocacy plan to be implemented between July/2009 and August/2010, using lobby, communication and networking as tools. Besides, the project intends to develop a research in the country focusing on violence against women and on sexual, reproductive and health education.
The city of Cape Town was chosen to hold the III South Africa Forum, on June 8th and 9th. The meeting, in the house of MOSAIC (a NGO) had two days of intense discussions about health and sexual and reproductive rights, with the participation of 20 Health, Women, HIV/AIDS and GLB movement organizations. An advocacy plan was also drawn, pointing out some issues as cervical cancer, abortion and sterilization. The cold from the beginning of the winter in the country wasn’t enough to cool down the temperature of the discussions and working plans!
In Kenya, the III UNGASS-AIDS Forum took place in Nairobi, on the 7th and 8th of July, with the participation of 40 organizations. The goal to strengthen the monitoring of the public policies of sexual and reproductive health drove the coordination of the forum to invest in communication – the KBC TV prepared a program about the UNGASS Forum and a radio program entitled “Afya ya Usazi” about reproductive health. Members of Uganda’s project participated in the meeting to help with the process. The relation with the media has been fairly explored in the country as a support of the project actions.
Asia – The debates about the monitoring of the sexual and reproductive goals in Asia have advanced a lot. Thailand’s Government, in partnership with the Thailand NGO Coalition on AIDS (TNCA), held the XII National Seminar on Aids, between the 28th and 30th of March, in Bangkok and included in some of the sessions the UNGASS-AIDS theme. Symposiums, workshops, community spaces and campaign activities were some of the actions of the Seminar, which gathered approximately 850 NGOs. Many of the information were disseminated through communication channels.
One of the sessions was dedicated to present the study done in 2008 by the Thailand UNGASS-AIDS Forum and coordinated by the Raksthai Foundation. This study, incorporated to the Country Report sent to UNAIDS in 2008, focused on the vertical transmission (mother-to-child). From this study, the government informed it will do a deeper research for 2010.
In Indonesia, the II UNGASS-AIDS Forum took place in Jakarta, between the 28th and the 30th of May. These two days were very productive with the definition of important working strategies to the country, among them, the elaboration of the Country Report, to be sent to UNAIDS, in partnership with the National Commission of AIDS and the gathering of qualitative data to write a civil society report on women sexual and reproductive health.
The Indonesia UNGASS-AIDS Forum, coordinated by JOTHI, held in June/July meetings with the National Commission of AIDS aiming to monitor the country’s answer to de Declaration of Commitments signed in the High Level Meeting of UNGASS, in 2001, New York.
Latin America – The Latin American forums have begun at the end of July. Uruguay is the first country to discuss the monitoring of targets, making the III UNGASS Forum on the days 31st of July and 01st of August. Argentina, Brazil, Belize, Nicaragua and Peru are in the process of organization. In parallel, the state, municipal and regional Forums in Brazil are already happening – the state of Paraiba was the first, the event took place on August 6th.