Ford Foundation, New York
At the Ford Foundation in New York on June 6th, 2008, FEIM and GESTOS held the presentation of the report “Monitoring the UNGASS Goals on Sexual and Reproductive Health” prepared by NGOs in 16 countries. The report on the project “Strategies from the South: Building Synergies in HIV/AIDS and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights” was also launched and was distributed in both Spanish and English.
Barbara Klugman, Senior Program Officer in Education, Sexuality and Religion at the Ford Foundation, gave the welcoming and made a brief introduction highlighting the new challenges that have arisen in the field of sexual and reproductive health upon incorporating HIV/AIDS।
Later, Mabel Bianco, President of FEIM and Coordinator of the project “Strategies from the South”, spoke about the strengths and potentials of the alliance between sectors that do not traditionally work together: the women’s movement and HIV/AIDS activists. She also shared experiences of working jointly with different areas of the government and Civil Society. This was emphasized as a key factor, in order for Civil Society to become involved in both the design and monitoring of programs and the UNGASS process.
Dorothy Aken’ova, Executive Director of the NGO INCRESE in Nigeria, member of the international network AMANITARE and the African Regional Coordinator for the project “Strategies from the South”, spoke of the main challenges for joint advocacy work in Africa, outlining the principal problems.
Purnima Mane, Deputy Executive Director of UNFPA, spoke of how United Nations agencies have made efforts to work alongside community groups of women and PLWHA, in regards to how to guarantee these rights, especially for Women Living with HIV. She specifically mentioned the advances made last year after a meeting with GNP+ group worldwide.
Neelanjana Mukhia, Coordinator of the International Campaign “Women Won’t Wait. End HIV & Violence Against Women. NOW!” and International Women's Rights Policy and Campaign Coordinator for ActionAid International, made a presentation on the state of the art of violence against women and national AIDS plans, raising the main advocacy issues for UNGASS and later at the national level.
Near the end of the meeting Peter Piot, Director of UNAIDS, referred to the importance of the High Level Review Meeting and of Civil Society’s commitment. He celebrated the importance and the contribution of both projects to HIV/AIDS and work in Sexual and Reproductive Health. Later, a space for dialogue was opened up to those present, especially about what we were hoping would come out of the Review Meeting and about possible ways to strengthen alliances between the different Civil Society groups and United Nations agencies in order to sustain and reinforce that the governments and conservative groups hope to undermine it.
We would like to emphasize the significant regional diversity as well as the diversity in the areas of work of the participants.
Buenos Aires, June 2008