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Harm reduction advocacy programme with members of Indonesia's Parliament concludes

Jakarta (Indonesia), 20 January 2011
- On 14 December 2010, the National AIDS Commission and UNODC held the final roundtable event in a long-running series of a harm reduction advocacy programme with members of Parliament. This final roundtable focused on policy and on strategic steps that are needed to improve the quality of and access to services for drug users.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Marzuki Alie, Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives, mentioned that "in order to accelerate the national HIV programme's success, the House of Representatives and other stakeholders must work together". He also pointed out that "the most significant contribution that Parliament could make would be to increase the national budget on health, in order to sustain the HIV/AIDS programme''.

Other speakers included Mr. Indradi Thanos, Deputy of Law and Cooperation of the National Narcotic Board, Mr. Subuh, Director of Communicable Disease Control of the Ministry of Health and Dr. Nafsiah Mboi, Secretary of the National AIDS Commission. "The involvement of other agencies and cooperation across sectors is vital because the HIV/AIDS programme cannot be done solely by the Ministry of Health," said Mr. Subuh. In his address to the roundtable he added that "we cannot forget that policy synchronization and resource mobilization is important to scaling up the program; the 2009 programme coverage was 25 per cent which is far from the expected result".

Mr. Thanos supported the need for an increased national budget over the long term and the integration of HIV prevention work into other agencies' programmes. The important role of the National Narcotic Board was acknowledged with Mr. Alie's presentation calling on the Board to focus their budget strategically. Dr. Mboi underscored these points stating: "For progress to be achieved it is essential for parliamentarians to mainstream HIV/AIDS issues into the Regional Representative Council's priorities."

This meeting was the fourth such meeting for Parliamentarians in 2010. The first, on 20 May 2010, focused on the evidence base for harm reduction; highlighting recent studies in the field of harm reduction. The second roundtable, on 30 August 2010 addressed the components of the HIV programme, the regulatory environment and national budget support. On 11 October 2010, the third roundtable looked at HIV/AIDS responses among injecting drug users in prisons and the community from a health and human rights perspective.

The series of roundtable discussions with members of Parliament concluded by identifying the challenges in overcoming HIV/AIDS in the future:

  • Reducing dependency on foreign aid;
  • Increasing Government investment, particularly of local Government for AIDS prevention in general and injecting drug users in particular, in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals targets by 2015;
  • Enhancing coordination among HIV/AIDS service providers for injecting drug users and law enforcement in reducing supply / demand of narcotics in the community; and
  • Improving the provision of medical and social rehabilitation services for addicts by relevant departments.

90 people attended the last roundtable, including members of Parliament, parliamentary staff, community representatives, development and United Nations agencies. The series of roundtable discussions were carried out by the National AIDS Commission, the House of Representatives, the Regional Representatives Council, the Parliamentary Women's Caucus and UNODC with the support from the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) acceleration funds.