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