Post-MDG discussions, both formal and informal, have been happening in the region. Formal dialogues have been led by the UN. It was on the agenda of the 1st Expanded Development Partners’ meeting organised by UNAIDS and in the various Asia-Pacific Inter-Agency Task Teams. Prior to the recent Civil Society Parallel meeting in Bali, participants from regional networks funded by UNAIDS attended briefings informed by consultations with various regional organisations, including the Alliance.
The organising committees around ICAAP 11 are becoming a hub for informal exchanges. The sub-themes approved by the Community Program Committee (CPC), of which I am a member, reflected concerns about the Post-MDG agenda – from dwindling resources to lack of political will and commitment to sustainability. In these conversations, I championed the need to act proactively in the matter of HIV integration and contributed to shaping the ideas around sustaining community action. Albeit limited, I have started to engage with a few Alliance Linking Organisations in the region and other regional groupings on Post-MDG matters.
Of the many priority concerns that have been identified, there are two that seem to strongly engage civil society leaders.
The first is integrating HIV. Where will HIV be in a new Post-MDG framework? Can future HIV integration go beyond health? How will HIV fit and can it be integrated into one or more of the health and non-health issues that have the best chances of landing in the next set of global development goals? How can we proactively define, shape and influence the what, the where and the how of Post-MDG integration? How can we move forward in identifying what would be the most beneficial integration to ensure that the gains from country and global responses are not lost? If civil society does not take a proactive stance soon, HIV integration will be defined by others, with civil society and communities having no choice but to accept and follow.
The second is sustaining community action. With the withdrawal of donors from middle-income countries, we need to build partnerships with public and private sectors, and learn to mobilise resources from new and diverse non-governmental income sources. At this moment, a number of governments have favoured heavy spending on treatment, and rightly so. However, without equitable spending on prevention, care and support, which are mostly undertaken by the communities themselves and by NGOs who serve key populations, some of the gains in the fight against HIV could see a reversal.
It is vital that civil society actors in the Asia-Pacific region continue to engage in the Post-MDG debates. Now is the time to think innovatively if we are to achieve a sustainable HIV response post-2015.