Indonesia: a year of great achievements

January 15, 2010

It seems this past year was a new start for the Indonesian civil society’s participation in the social control of public policies of AIDS, having the UNGASS-AIDS Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Health as a strong political tool. The first Forum was held in 2007, the second  in 2008 and, after almost three years later the UNGASS-AIDS Forum results are quite impressive.

Organized by JOHTI, the III Ungass AIDS Forum in 2009 had the participation of eleven civil society organizations from different parts of the country. According to the Forum’s coordinator, Aditya Wardhana, the partnership between the organizations and with the government became much stronger. “The National Aids Commission admitted the Forum as a new entity and they treat us as equal partners. We were involved in the Monitoring and Evaluation Program and also in other policy instances, as the National Strategic Plan on AIDS (NSP) for 2010-2014, Harm Reduction Regulation, Health Law Advocacy and Drugs Law Advocacy.” The Indonesia UNGASS Forum have actually joined the core writer team of the NSP and was also able, in partnership with the Advocacy Network for Health Law, to eliminate a law which criminalized the HIV transmission.

As another important outcome of this approximation, after the III Forum there was another meeting, promoted by the Indonesia UNGASS Forum, with the NAC secretary. “The secretary agreed that there is a need to develop a civil society report together with the government report in order to get a complete picture of AIDS response in Indonesia”, said Wardhana. In the end NAC also agreed that Indonesia UNGASS Forum will lead the National Composite Policy Index (NCPI) Part B of the Country Report, what is already happening now.

Great achievement among last year’s activity was also the 9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific, held in Bali, last August. Under the theme “Empowering people, strengthening networks”, the event was an opportunity for UNAGSS Forum and JOTHI to do some campaign to promote the UNGASS-AIDS and build partnership in Asia and the Pacific regarding its monitoring process.

Even though 2009 was a great year for the country, there are still some challenges to be overcome. Wardhana admits Indonesia needs a stronger civil society organization platform in order to actually become a government’s partner with equal conditions. If it happens, the Indonesia UNGASS Forum would certainly take a key position on the Civil Society AIDS


ASIA discusses the future of UNGASS

September 3, 2009

The 9th ICAAP (9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific) was held in Bali, Indonesia on August, 9th – 13th, 2009.  Under the theme “Empowering people, strengthening networks”, the event was officially opened by The President of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Hj. Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, followed by the speech of the UNAIDS Executive Director, Mr. Michel Sidibé whose speech called for the establishment of enabling environments and supportive social norms necessary to deliver a future generation free of HIV.

 The event, which takes places every two years, was also an opportunity for the UNGASS Forum and Jaringan Orang Terinfeksi HIV Indonesia (JOTHI) to do some campaign to promote UNGASS-AIDS and build stronger partnership in Asia and the Pacific due to its monitoring process.  For that, in the first three days, it was distributed an UNGASS-AIDS Forum flyer to people attending the Community Forum who didn’t acknowledged at all – not even those who are people living with HIV and other key affected population – what is the UNGASS Forum and how can it affect AIDS response in the country.

 UNGASS – During meeting, World AIDS Campaign, Gestos – Ford Foundation and UNAIDS supported a satellite session that aimed to initiate discussion at the country and regional level regarding the UNGASS monitoring process and civil society involvement. The panelist were UNGASS Community Forum from Thailand and Indonesia, representative from UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Asia and Pacific (RST/AP), representative from International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) and representative from Asia Pacific Coalition on AIDS Service Organization (APCASO).

Two of the most discussed topics in the session were: what will happen after the 2010, as it is the last “time target” mentioned in the UNGASS doc; and if UNGASS reporting process will be repositioned within MDG report process or if it will be recommitted.

Executive Summary

UNGASS-AIDS Forum Indonesia steps into High Gear

July 3, 2009

One of the quickest outcomes of the III UNGASS-AIDS Forum Indonesia, held in Jakarta on 28–30 May 2009, was the decision to establish a dialogue with the National AIDS Commission. The Forum was coordinated by JOTHI – Network of People Living with HIV. Fifteen civil society representatives discussed and agreed to:

(1) Significantly contribute to building up the country report in partnership with National AIDS Commission;

(2) Collect qualitative data and produce CS report on women’s sexual and reproductive health, advocating for its integration within the national report for UNGASS-AIDS 2010;

(3) Advocate National AIDS Commission for the Indonesian UNGASS Forum to lead the process of NCPI part B.

Rico Gustav addresses the UNGASS-AIDS Forum Indonesia.

Rico Gustav addresses the UNGASS-AIDS Forum Indonesia.

A request for a meeting has been submitted to National AIDS Commission, and the secretary of the commission herself has welcome the Indonesian UNGASS Forum. The meeting was held on 14 June 2009. The agenda of the meeting included:

(1) Introduction of the UNGASS Forum and its expanded members;

(2) Inform the NAC on the major points that the 3rd UNGASS-AIDS Forum has agreed on;

(3) Discuss strategies of which the Indonesian UNGASS Forum and National AIDS Commission can collaborate and coordinate in equal partnership, in the sense of monitoring country response to fulfill the Declaration of Commitment;

(4) Discuss challenges faced by UNGASS Forum and request National AIDS Commission’s assistance.

Results of the meeting with NAC

The NAC representatives, Mrs. Nafsiah and their person in charge on UNGASS Reporting, Mr. Kemal, supported the Indonesian Forum to make the UNGASS-AIDS concepts more down to earth so people in the grassroots level can understand and get familiarized with them. They also agreed to fund UNGASS-AIDS Forum Indonesia to lead the NCPI part B process. And possibly fund an UNGASS-AIDS Regional Forum at the ICAAP.

Furthermore, the Indonesian Forum constituency is developing the research framework based on the instruments and methodology Gestos that is being lead in the country by JOTHI. Besides investigating, the UNGASS-AIDS coalition is mostly responding to growing issues that are currently happening, and coordinating actions among members.

Additya Wardhana of JOTHI in the III UNGASS-AIDS Forum Indonesia

Aditya Wardhana of JOTHI at the III UNGASS-AIDS Forum, in Jakarta.

Just recently, there was information that one of the local government was going to issue a regulation that establishes that couples that are about to marry must be HIV free. This is a very urgent issue to advocate on. One more time, technocrats manage to violate human rights.

Meanwhile, Indonesia organized civil society also face a serious ARV shortage and the spread of disrespectful practices such as expired distribution of medicines. Aditya Wardhana, JOTHI coordinator for policy development and advocacy, said that giving patients just a few days’ supply of ARV was risky because the drug was handed out in unlabeled plastic bags that did not have expiration dates on them. “This is human lives we’re talking about,” he said. Just another way of showing in fact what numbers and statistics do not.