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Cablegate: Unaids/Unocha Consultation On Hiv/Aids And

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

101323Z Dec 04

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 005344

SIPDIS

INFO AMEMBASSY GENEVA
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
AMEMBASSY ROME
AMEMBASSY DAKAR

USAID/DCHA/OFDA MMARX, SKHANDAGLE, CPRATT

ANTANANARIVO FOR YMALCION; GABORONE FOR TPIERCE; HARARE
FOR CBUZZARD; LILONGWE FOR KWIYO; LUANDA FOR ADWYER;
LUSAKA FOR WPENOYAR; MASERU FOR JDORNBURG, KALBRECHT;
MBABANE FOR SDORSEY; MAPUTO FOR SPOLAND, SBLISS; WINDHOEK
FOR TDOOLEY-JONES; GENEVA FOR KYLOH; DAKAR FOR OFDA/WARO;
NAIROBI FOR OFDA/ECARO; ROME FOR FODAG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OTRA SF
SUBJECT: UNAIDS/UNOCHA Consultation on HIV/AIDS and
Humanitarian Response in Africa 6-8 October 2004


Summary

1. The worldwide increase of natural disasters and
complex emergencies, complicated by rising cases of
HIV/AIDS continue to disproportionably affect sub-
Saharan Africa. Correspondingly, there is a growing
recognition that humanitarian action must respond
to this dual challenge. UNAIDS and OCHA regional
offices in Johannesburg organised a regional
technical consultation on "HIV/AIDS and
Humanitarian Response in Africa: Putting Theory
into Practice" from 6-8 October 2004 in
Johannesburg, South Africa. Over sixty people
attended representing U.N agencies, NGOs, donors
and others. USAID/OFDA and USAID's Regional
HIV/AIDS Program (RHAP) staff attended to learn how
OFDA could respond to HIV/AIDS in emergencies via
all sectors. After the consultation, OFDA staff
travelled to Lesotho to visit agricultural projects
that have HIV/AIDS components.

Background

2. Earlier this year, the U.N. Inter-Agency Standing
Committee's (IASC) published the "Guidelines for HIV/AIDS
Intervention in Emergencies Settings" to help individuals
and organizations in their efforts to address the special
needs of HIV-infected and HIV-affected people living in
emergency situations. The guidelines include activities
that should be accomplished in ten different sectors and
in three phases of an emergency: emergency preparedness;
minimum response (to be conducted in the acute phase);
and comprehensive response (conducted in the post-acute
phase).

3. In order to ensure effective implementation of the
Guidelines, the regional offices of UNAIDS and OCHA in
Johannesburg performed an HIV/AIDS mapping assessment in
southern Africa based on the IASC guidelines and
circulated the results to UN Country teams in the sub-
region. The aim was to: 1) raise awareness around
HIV/AIDS and humanitarian response; and 2) initiate an in-
country process of mapping existing HIV/AIDS related
interventions within humanitarian planning and
programming. Similar mapping exercises are planned for
West and East Africa.

4. Equipped with both leadership and practical
tools, the next step was to sponsor a regional
forum with the following objectives: 1) to share
and compile country and sub regional experiences on
policies, practices and lessons learned; 2) to
examine key technical issues around the
implementation of HIV/AIDS interventions in
humanitarian planning and programming; and 3) to
propose the establishment of an interagency
regional/sub-regional network to mobilize, support
and coordinate technical and financial support.
This technical consultation took place in October
and over sixty people attended representing U.N
agencies, NGOs, donors and others.
"HIV/AIDS and Humanitarian Response in Africa:
Putting Theory into Practice"

5. The consultation consisted of presentations and
discussions ranging from HIV/AIDS policy
considerations in humanitarian response, HIV/AIDS
in humanitarian planning, HIV/AIDS interventions in
humanitarian programming, the role of sub-regional
and regional coordination, and the identification
of a mechanism to implement the actions identified.

6. Discussions were held on numerous issues but
definitive answers were not always agreed upon. The
issue of low vs. high prevalence rates was raised
and whether the interventions should vary. For
example, HIV/AIDS in southern Africa is considered
by some to be "the" emergency. Most of the
countries in the region have HIV prevalence rates
of over 20%; and with HIV/AIDS further diminishing
people's coping strategies, the effect has erased
many of the developmental gains made over the last
30 years. Participants also noted that there were
different definitions of low and high prevalence
being used by various donor and UN agencies, and
that IASC Guidelines did not differentiate or
prioritize based on prevalence rates. Concerns
were also expressed over the effectiveness of
separating development and humanitarian agendas to
respond to HIV/AIDS given the limited response
through the Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) for
such activities. One issue that did have an answer
was the relationship between conflict and the
increase in HIV infections. The common assumption
was that this was true. However, Paul Spiegel, an
epidemiologist at UNHCR has found that the data
does not always support this assumption. This issue
highlighted the need for common indicators and
methodologies when collecting and analyzing data.

Consultation Conclusions and Outcomes

7. A process for information sharing on HIV/AIDS and
emergencies including tools, best practices, etc will be
explored through IRIN/Plus News. The IASC Task Force on
HIV/AIDS and Emergencies is encouraged to continue its
work and explore recommendations with regards to
preparedness planning and assessments. It was widely
believed that the IASC Task Force on HIV/AIDS and
Emergencies should be merged with the IASC Task Force on
Gender Based Violence and information sharing with
affected countries be strengthened.

8. Mobilizing resources can be accomplished by creating a
forum for donors to share policies and approaches that
will attempt to ensure harmonization on funding
eligibility for HIV/AIDS interventions in emergencies.

9. In conclusion, the meeting highlighted the
critical need to engage leadership within
governments and relevant organizations including
the UN and NGOs to address HIV/AIDS in emergency
settings and to refocus humanitarian response in
view of the spread and impact of HIV/AIDS.
Participants acknowledged the large amounts of
money being spent for HIV/AIDS by the President's
Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the
Global Fund for AIDS, TB, and Malaria (GFATM) and
World Bank Multi-Country HIV/AIDS Program (MAP),
as well as the need to get them involved in
HIV/AIDS in humanitarian response.

FRAZER

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