Intervention on agenda item 4 – UNAID Unified Budget, Results and Accountability Framework (UBRAF)
Delivered by Alexandra (Sasha) Volgina, Europe NGO Delegate
I want to thank regional director of my region for the report and to stress that role of regional office grew during last years, but as well let me share some of concerns. We appreciate your fundraising efforts but we insist you make sure you are staying independent and don’t forget your advocacy agenda.
As written in the Conference Room Paper on UNAIDS Engagement with Civil Society which reports on case studies in 3 countries and regions, “Possibly the strongest theme which emerged from the three studies was the urgent need for UNAIDS to further engage with civil society to address decreased international funding for HIV.
The GF left Russia in 2010 – it lead to stock outs of ARVs all around the country, services were closing…, During the Board of GF and Vienna conference we advocated hard, may be someone here remember the opening speech I have made with my colleague from Ukraine. That resulted in extension of GF services project in Russia and gave a chance to prisoners and migrants – who were given ARVs through GF funding. But nothing can be done for PLH who were not in prison and were Russian citizens. We didn’t have any funds to advocate.
The GF project was run together with government – that means no advocacy. We managed to take 40 000 $ from GF– it was a hard task, as it is not possible of course to make direct action and run advocacy campaigns using GF funding, officially we were making trainings in advocacy. We managed to raise 30 000 additional to that funds. We monitored ARVs stock outs in more than 20 cities of Russia and we conducted 38 direct actions and press- conferences.
I was very very very pregnant, on 7th month, when I have made speech in the Russian Parliament special health committee. The prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation where we had been sending our data on stock outs had found a violation from side of the Ministry of Health. ARVs returned into the country. It took us 5 months and 70 000 dollars – I think it is cost-effective. We were able to return of treatment to the country in this short timeframe and for this small amount of money. We created a movement – Patients in Control. A year later we were given Red Ribbon Award in Washington. –
But all this would not have happened if we had not been able to obtaine from the GF project 40000 on advocacy – which was really hard task and high risk.
Now GF is leaving our region. In the past year we had stock out in Belarus. There were threats of stock-out in Moldova and Kazakhstan, and there was a repeatedly critical situation in Ukraine. Typically, the presence of GF in the countries saves situation – The Government can borrow the pills, they can ask for help. I know better than anyone in this room what can happen when the GF will leave my region completely, I have gone through that situation.
And I know that if we do not have the money to advocate no one will even notice the catastrophe. And certainly no one will not be able to return ARVs during the next stock outs. I put all of my energy now to prevent such situations from happening in other countries of region, to fight for domestic funding, to advocate towards pharma and address IP issues, to ensure transition plans exist and work. But we still are out of money. There are extremely limited resources for working on advocacy in our region, for helping communities of people affected by the epidemic work toward positive change. Thus, it is really critical for civil society engagement to be at the center of the programming and spending for HIV and we hope that the next UBRAF will strongly reflect this.
We are effective. We know our job. We are willing to work – we need resources allocated for that. I do hope that my second pregnancy will go without such huge catastrophe as it was in 2010, I do hope that we will have fund to prevent such situation– I do hope so.