UNAIDS PCB NGO Delegation and International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD) express satisfaction at the decision of the Global Fund Board to include Round 5 in the Transitional Funding Mechanism
The NGO Delegation and INPUD are both delighted at the news that the Global Fund Board has made an exception to the technical guidance that defines which established Global Fund programmes are eligible for inclusion in the Transitional Funding Mechanism (TFM).
Without this technical amendment the situation for people who inject drugs in Russia would have been disastrous. Global Fund Round 5 has been the largest single piece of Global Fund investment for HIV prevention services for people who inject drugs in Russia. It provides services to almost 150,000 people who inject drugs with access needle and syringe programmes and other critical HIV services.
Round 5 also supports other key populations (mostly sex workers, people who use drugs and prisoners), it supports 48 community-based NGOs, and contributes much to the strengthening of institutional capacity and sustainability of the pioneering harm reduction services and HIV prevention agencies in Russia.
Pavel Aksenov Executive Director of the Russian Harm Reduction Network (ESVERO) stated that:
“Disruption of the Round 5 HIV Programme in Russia till 2014 would have meant the inevitable loss of the major part of essential harm reduction services supported by the Global Fund in the country in 2004-2011. The opportunity to bid to the Transitional Funding Mechanism gives us a way to secure the key stronghold of harm reduction in the country incurred by the rights and interests of key affected populations.”
The NGO Delegation also highlighted the potential risk to the UNAIDS Strategy given that Russia is one of the 20 countries identified in the UNAIDS Strategy. Mat Southwell, UNAIDS PCB NGO Delegate for Europe noted, “Russia is a priority country in the UNAIDS Strategy and one of the epicenters of the HIV epidemic among people who inject drugs in Europe. The inclusion of Round 5 in the Transitional Funding Mechanism is an important advocacy gain.”
INPUD has been highlighting concerns about Russia’s drug policy through its coordinated World AIDS Day actions and through Irina Teplinskaya’s powerful intervention at the December 2011 UNAIDS board meeting.
Eliot Ross Albers, Executive Director of INPUD, has stated that INPUD has “an ongoing commitment, and intention to continue highlighting the repressive nature of Russian drug policy and to underlining the intrinsic links between that policy and the relentless growth of HIV amongst injecting drug users”.
The NGO Delegation and INPUD congratulate the Global Fund Board for their receptiveness to feedback from civil society and to allowing Round 5 entry into the Transitional Funding Mechanism.