APCOM is excited to present its new Regional Advisory Group

By July 16, 2021 November 2nd, 2021 Newsroom, Publications, Regional

Bangkok, 16 July 2021

APCOM today announced its new Regional Advisory Group (RAG) members from across the region, which will serve for the next three years. The five in-coming RAG members are Bryan Choong from Singapore, Luc Stevens based in Thailand, Max Wahid from Fiji, Michael Liu from China, and Renier Bona from the Philippines.

Michael Liu Shenyang, China
Renier Bona Manila, the Philippines

“We’re very pleased to have new members on board particularly during the pandemic, to help steer APCOM in its next phase where, due to Covid-19, we’ll need to re-imagine many things but we would strongly maintain and deepen our community engagement and empowerment in the Asia Pacific region,”

Dédé Oetmono, current Chair of the RAG

The new RAG joins Surasak Chalermsri, Chair of the APCOM Foundation, and Midnight Poonkasetwattana, Executive Director who is ex-officio in the RAG. The RAG is APCOM’s steering and sounding board and the main governing body of APCOM. RAG members will, set out and approve the overall strategic direction of APCOM in order to achieve the vision and mission. The RAG will meet at least two times per year, and will work on an ad-hoc basis with APCOM. All RAG members are working on a pro-bono basis.

The new RAG comes with a variety and wealth of expertise and experience from across the region, including on HIV/AIDS, health, persons who use drugs, human rights, activism, advocacy, diversity and inclusion, partnership building, and human and resource mobilization. And the members come to APCOM with diverse educational and professional backgrounds from academia, the private sector and the humanitarian and development sector.

RAG Getting to Know Each Other webinar

“I am extremely excited that we have a new Regional Advisory Group who are great experts and colleagues of a very high calibre from across the region. They will be instrumental in ensuring that APCOM continues to innovate and push APCOM’s work forward in the region, in particular at this challenging time with a pandemic that will have repercussions for our community in years to come. With the advice from the RAG, I feel confident, that APCOM – with our community partners and other stakeholders – will be able to effectively implement solutions to improve the human rights, health and well-being of our communities and being an equal partner in finding solutions.” commented Surasak Chalermsir, Chair of APCOM Foundation.

APCOM is currently in the process of developing its new strategic plan in place of TENACITY: TENACITY leaving no one behind strategic framework, ensuring strong human rights of LGBTQI, and will take into account the effect of Covid-19 including the recent data from UNAIDS SEIZING THE MOMENT: Tackling entrenched inequalities to end epidemics:

  • Gay men and other men who have sex with men account for 44% of new HIV infections;
  • Young gay men and other men who have sex with men (15-24 years old) account for 52% of new HIV infections;
  • Half of key population living with HIV are not aware of their HIV status;
  • Only one quarter of gay men and other men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs in the region—and less than half of transgender people and female sex workers—receive the HIV prevention services they need;
  • Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) access is still limited;
  • The regions with the largest shares of the overall resource gap in low- and middle-income countries in 2019 were western and central Africa (32%), The Asia and the Pacific requires a large share – 26% – of the overall resource gap in low- and middle-income countries.

“As APCOM moves further in its second decade, we hope to see continued innovative programs to reduce new HIV infections, end AIDS and create an enabling environment for gay men, other MSM, and diverse SOGIESC people in Asia and the Pacific achieve better rights, health and well being.”

Bryan Choong

“I am looking forward to helping APCOM push boundaries as a key player in the HIV space, advise on inclusive sustainable development programming and fulfill its human-rights-based mission in Asia and the Pacific. I will support APCOM in putting youth empowerment, research and innovation at the core of its mission.”

Luc Stevens

“Being literal in every sense when we say – Leaving no one behind. Stronger interlinked communities and broader partner networks, to progress with human rights dialogue at every table!”

Max Wahid

“As one of the most prestigious regional networks, APCOM will be the leading force working with LGBTQIA+ groups, people living with HIV, and other key populations to voice out and create equal spaces for individual and rights-based organizations in Asia and the Pacific region. Meet the deepest community needs of the most marginalized group and continuously advocate for their human rights.”

Michael Lu

“The Asia and the Pacific region is a highly diverse region. Given this, focus should be where the barriers are seen to be more complex and more systematic. In areas where human rights situations are dismal, there is a need to go back to basics: human rights education, popularization, community organizing, and giving support to the amplification of the voices of the key populations.”

Renier Bona

For more information on APCOM’s new Regional Advisory Group, please visit www.apcom.org/about and click on “Our Governance” tab.

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