Bangkok, 22 February, 2018: A coalition of regional key population networks responding to the impact of HIV in Asia and the Pacific is calling for its members to be more involved in managing key grants from the internationally funded Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund).
Earlier this month, the Global Fund and UNAIDS co-hosted a regional consultation on the terms of references for the multi-country grant to support the sustainable scale-up of HIV services for key populations in South and East Asia. A similar process also took place in Latin America and Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and Middle East and North Africa region.
The leaders of the regional key population networks represented communities which are most affected by HIV in the region, such as men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers, people who use drugs, young people, and people living with HIV, including APCOM, the Asia Pacific Transgender Network, the Asia Pacific Network of People Living With HIV, the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers, the Asian Network of People Who Use Drugs, International Community of Women Living With HIV Asia Pacific, and Youth LEAD. These networks along with country representatives from Bhutan, Laos, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Timor-Leste, UN, Development and government partners, and principal recipients of the Global Fund grants attended the one day meeting to provide feedback on the terms of reference for the next round of the multi-country HIV projects.
Multi-country grants which are provided by the Global Fund are generally administered by a well-established international NGO or development agency selected by the Global Fund. The selected agency then contracts with community networks and other local organisations to deliver projects designed to achieve specific outcomes in specific countries or across the region more broadly.
While acknowledging the vital role that the Global Fund plays in the Asia Pacific HIV response, APCOM Executive Director Midnight Poonkasetwattana said the coalition of key population networks wants the terms of reference for its multi-country grants to enhance the participation of local community organisations in all relevant decision-making processes.
“Communities affected by HIV are best placed to determine the most effective way to respond to their needs, and I was impressed with the consultation as the Global Fund team were looking to meaningfully engaged with the communities.,” Mr Poonkasetwattana said.
In practice, Mr Poonkasetwattana said this means greater influence from relevant community organisations over the way that the Global Fund grant administration is allocated and managed.
“Without meaningful participation in this process, other agendas can cloud the delivery of programmes and the benefits of community ownership of local HIV responses can never be fully realized and sustained in the long term.”
APCOM’s HIV Ambassador J.V.R. Prasada Rao said: “As a process leading to the regional consultation, APCOM has closely involved the key populations to get their feedback on the thrust areas of the multi country grant. The majority of the community members have expressed that advocacy at the regional and country level is a high priority that should be addressed by the grant. APCOM has consistently demonstrated that it is the right platform for the communities to raise their voices for the voiceless and get their rightful place in the AIDS response,” Mr Rao said.
The coalition has developed a statement outlining its vision for a revised Terms of Reference for the Global Fund in relation to its multi-country HIV grants, the statement was delivered at the opening of the regional consultation on the terms of reference for the multi-country grant.
The statement is available here.