Promoting Community Leadership: Asia-Pacific Key Population’s involvement in COP/ROP22 towards improving HIV programs

By October 13, 2022 Advocacy, Publications, Regional

As PEPFAR programs enters a new fiscal year starting in October 2022, APCOM gears to prepare the Asia-Pacific key population communities and their representatives for Country Operational Plans/Regional Operational Plans (COP/ROP) 2023.

A Pathway to COP/ROP23?

Communities’ Lessons Learned and Recommendations arising from our engagements with PEPFAR Country Operational Plans/Regional Operational Plans (COP/ROP) 2022

The communities are irreplaceable. Key population’s involvement and participation in the processes designing and budgeting for national HIV responses are indispensable.

The COVID-19 pandemic made a huge impact to the processes which were significant to fight the existing HIV epidemic. The engagements with the key population communities were pushed to a very minimum, if not absent. There were no alternative mechanisms that were provided for communities’ engagements. The COP/ROP22 present a significant opportunity for civil society organizations and key populations to be meaningfully involved in all phases the country level processes, particularly for those who will be representing key populations.

The engagement of the key population with the COP is crucial to ensuring that the needs of their communities are appropriately addressed and budgeted.

#KeyPopAsiaCOP22 Roundup

The #KeyPopAsiaCOP22 is a series of data collection and consultation with key populations and their networks at the country and regional level. The main component of activity is the direct linking of key population networks and PEPFAR offices during the consultations.

Following on from last year’s COP/ROP21 Fact Sheet

Country Operational Plans 2022

The COP/ROP21 and COP/ROP22 Fact Sheets are few of the first summarized information about the PEPFAR Country Operational Plans developed with the primary purpose of enhancing key population’s and their representative’s understanding of the processes regularly practiced by PEPFAR. The fact sheets aim to assist in enabling meaningful engagements of key populations during the process.

Regional coordination and sub-regional consultations

The regional key population networks are the technical assistance providers to their respective country-based organisations. The COP/ROP21 serve as one of the platforms which strengthened the regional-national exchange of information through specific engagements. The collaborative effort of the regional networks produced a Regional Statement as a response to the approved ROP21 especially highlighting on the other issues of key population which remain unaddressed.

On the other hand, the #KeyPopAsiaCOP22 sub-regional consultations focused on key population engagement at the COP/ROP22 processes, the roles of the regional networks to increase the engagement at the country level, human rights and legal environment, regional sustainability in terms of advocacy for the continuous and community-led delivery of PrEP, HIVST and ART. APCOM organised 4 sub-regional consultations which convened key population-led organisations and stakeholders.

Regional observers in the national multi-stakeholder meetings

PEPFAR Operational Units (OUs) or country offices have allowed regional presence in the national multi-stakeholder meetings. The regional KP networks sat in as observers to note community engagement in the COP process. Information from the observation contributed to the regional approach especially to the regional strategy on sustainability in the delivery of HIV services as our input into the ROP22.

Broader involvement of KPs and communities

Through this online sounding board session, the communities shared their personal and professional experiences regarding their involvement in this process. The key population representatives were able to share the biggest challenges in engaging with the COP22-related discussions. They also assessed their own engagements during the COP22.

Analysis of PEPFAR Structure

Trends in PEPFAR Resources and Investment in Key Populations for Asia Region Program 

In contrast to PEPFAR’s progressive language and inclusive strategy in COP/ROP22, investments in Asian countries are flatlining or continuously decreasing. In order for key population and their networks to effectively participate in the development of their respective countries’ COP22, more detailed knowledge on investments is required. APCOM produced an analysis of COP/ROP budget which are approved and spent in Asian countries during COP/ROP21, and their allocated budget for COP/ROP22.


This context has given the phrase ‘nothing about us without us’ more meaning and power. The key population and PLHIV community, through their first-hand experience, possess the knowledge on what needs to be improved if we aim for wider access and quality of HIV services. Although the phrase may have been used countless times by advocates from key population and PLHIV community, it remains to be the mantra in the HIV advocacy to put the affected population in the middle of the response. This is very important because those who have first-hand lived experience must lead the way.

The lessons and experiences from the COP/ROP21 prompted for an early planning for COP/ROP22. APCOM, together with PEPFAR Asia and USAID RDMA, did a stock take of previous engagements and agreed the COP/ROP22 provides more opportunities for proactive and intensive engagements both at the regional and country level.

For the next COP/ROP23, the process of community engagement must begin at the earliest time or during the drafting of the COP/ROP23 Guidance. It is recommended that the PEPFAR Asia Coordination Unit (PARCU) continue its engagements with the key population networks even after the COP/ROP22 approval, consult with KP representatives in developing new strategies, and include them in the drafting of the new COP/ROP23 Guidelines.

Thank you to the following regional key population networks for their active collaboration:

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