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Live the Promise: HIV and AIDS campaign bulletin no. 1 / 2010

26. January 2010

    Religious Leadership in the Response to HIV


    Over 60 high level religious leaders, people living with HIV, and global leaders
    will gather in The Netherlands, 22-23 March, for a summit that aims to
    strengthen religious leadership in the response to HIV.
    Invitations were made based on nominations from religious and partner organizations,
    with careful attention to criteria set by the steering committee
    and ensuring religious diversity, geographical balance and gender representation.
    Among the participants are His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Art of
    Living Foundation; His Holiness Tep Vong, the Great Supreme Patriarch of
    Cambodia; His Holiness Abune Paulos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox
    Church; Archbishop John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria; The
    Most Reverend Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town; Rabbi David
    Rosen, American Jewish Committee; Sheik Mohammed Gemea, Al Azhar
    University; Rev. Dr. Olav Fyske Tveit, General Secretary, World Counci of
    Churches; Ms Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, General Secretary, World YWCA;
    and Mr. Michel Sidibé, Executive Director, UNAIDS.
    The Summit aims to promote understanding among high level religious
    leaders on the need for visible and affirmative engagement on HIV and AIDS
    and to mobilize their support for advocacy and action.
    The Summit is being planned by an Interfaith Steering Committee convened
    by the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance who is helping to coordinate the project
    along with Cordaid in The Netherlands. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign
    Affairs is an important contributor and supporter of the Summit. UNAIDS,
    INERELA+ and the World AIDS Campaign are collaborating partners represented
    on the steering committee.Financial Support is being provided by the Dutch and Swedish governments, European
    Council of Religious Leaders (WCRP), Cordaid, ICCO and Kerk in Actie,
    Prisma, AIDS Fonds, UNAIDS, World Vision International, American Jewish World
    Service, Marion and Stanley Bergman, and the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance.
    For more information on the Summit, www.e-alliance.ch/en/s/hivaids/

    Multi-Faith Pre-Conference to the International AIDS Conference

    A one-day multi-faith pre-conference will be held on 17 July 2010 at Technical
    University in Vienna. The pre-conference is designed to engage faithbased
    participants of the IAC in networking, skills building, and exploration
    of challenges posed by the HIV pandemic.
    A Global Multi-Faith Working Group is planning the event. Registration for
    the Multi-Faith Pre-Conference is 75.00 Euros, and includes lunch and coffee/
    tea breaks. More information about the pre-conference and a link to registration
    will soon be available at:
    As in past International AIDS Conferences, blocks of hotel rooms have been reserved
    for faith-based participants in a range of prices, and will be available soon
    on a first come, first served basis. For more information, or to reserve a room,
    visit: www.e-alliance.ch/en/s/hivaids/iac2010/local-arrangements/
    Important Deadlines for AIDS 2010
    As a reminder, the deadline for abstract submissions, skills building workshops,
    and scholarship applications is 10 February. Additionally, a late registration
    surcharge will be added after 24 February, so be sure to register early
    if you are planning to attend the International AIDS Conference.
    For more information about registering, submitting an abstract or scholarship
    application, discount flight bookings, and visa requirements for Austria
    visit: www.aids2010.org

    Update on Resource Mobilization for the Global Fund

    Replenishment for the Global Fund will be sought again in 2010. The first
    meeting in this replenishment round will be held in The Netherlands, 24-26
    March. The pledging meeting is scheduled for October 4-5, 2010 at the United
    Nations Headquarters in New York, where donors will announce their
    contributions for 2011-2013. It is important that the Global Fund remains
    on the agenda of all donors.
    Currently there is no money available to fund new programs in 2010, which is
    unique in the Global Fund history since it has always been able to fund at least
    one round of proposals per year. 2010 will be a pivotal year to finance the final stretch of the effort to reach the Millennium Development
    Goals (MDGs) and it is the Universal Access target year.
    What you can do: Advocates in northern countries can put
    pressure on their governments to participate in the replenishment
    process and increase their support of the Global
    Fund. Tell them that resources made available through the
    Global Fund have achieved impressive results and dramatic
    improvements in global health. Southern advocacy partners
    can provide a voice highlighting the benefits of the Global
    Fund on supporting progress towards the MDGs in their
    country and the need to continue this funding.
    More information on targeted advocacy campaigning for 2010
    leading up to the replenishment meeting will be available in
    future bulletins and action alerts. If you haven’t done so already,
    you can also sign on to the Declaration of the Global
    Campaign for Currency Transaction Levy for Health. More information
    is available at:

    Focus on: Solidarité Protestante

    Highlighting our strength as an alliance of members all
    over the world, each bulletin will feature campaign actions
    from a different member of the EAA.
    Solidarité Protestante is a small non-profit Belgian development
    and assistance organization based in Brussels. Seven staff
    implement medical, social and emergency response programs
    in Sub-Saharan Africa – Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic
    of Congo, Burkina Faso and Guinea – through partnerships
    with church-related and other organizations. They also are very
    active in raising awareness among church and youth groups in
    Belgium about the realities facing people living in Africa. Their
    medical programmes focus on HIV and AIDS, leprosy and TB.
    Johan Maertens spoke to the EAA about one of their recent successful
    campaigns focusing on AIDS medicines.
    What recent actions have you engaged in related
    to the Live the Promise campaign?
    During the run up to World AIDS Day in 2009, we organized
    Protestant churches and groups to support the ‘Make it Happen
    Campaign’ of Médecins Sans Frontières. The goal was
    to help realize the creation of the UNITAID Patent Pool for
    AIDS medicines. We designed a petition calling upon nine
    major pharmaceutical companies to support the creation of
    the Patent Pool in order to offer greater access to ARVs and
    affordable treatments.
    We were greatly inspired by the Children’s Letter Writing
    Campaign of the EAA. So we included in our petition a demand
    for new antiretroviral drugs adapted for the needs of
    children and newborn infants. The petition was distributed
    in local churches while church youth undertook a ‘Street
    Action’ on World AIDS Day in Brussels. There people were
    invited to sign a petition card submit it to designated red
    postal box. Over 1000 signatures were collected through
    both actions, which is a great response for us.
    Along with the petition, we also developed an ‘ARVs Game’
    with the aim to raise awareness of the problem of access to
    ARVs. One hundred seventy games were distributed in the
    churches. The games continue to be played today. They are
    an excellent way to engage and to make youth sensitive to
    the struggle against HIV and AIDS.
    What impact did this campaign have?
    On 14 December 2009, the UNITAID Board announced the
    creation of the Patent Pool for AIDS medicines. Through
    the MSF ‘Make it Happen Campaign’, 300,000 e-mails and
    letters were sent to CEOs and leaders in the pharmaceutical
    industry. The mass mobilization and support certainly
    played an important role in the decision to create the Patent
    Pool. In addition, the campaign offered the opportunity
    for people to feel more engaged in the fight against AIDS.
    Through the petition, they could do something.
    If other organizations wanted to have a similar action,
    what advice would you give?
    Develop easy-access tools such as postcards or games. We find it
    difficult to motivate people to write letters and therefore we preferred
    promoting a petition. Activities should be short, a 5 minute
    message or a 15 minute activity is sufficient and effective.
    For more information see:
    Solidarité Protestante : www.solidariteprotestante.be/
    The ARV Game (in French): www.e-alliance.ch/fr/s/hivaids/accessmeds/

    Patent Pools

    For some years now groups working to address the situation
    of persons living with HIV and AIDS, shareholders
    and health care staff have been calling for affordable, accessible
    and child-friendly pharmaceuticals for persons living
    with HIV to be available in resource poor countries.
    The response has ranged from charitable donations to the
    registration of drugs and the availability of generic formulations.
    Recently the Executive Board of UNITAID, a group
    committed to scaling up access to HIV and AIDS medicines
    in developing countries, has endorsed a voluntary “patent
    pool” for medicines which will focus on increasing access to
    newer antiretroviral (ARV) drugs and encouraging the development
    of adapted formulations.
    This concept is a new business model which would allow
    companies to voluntarily place those patents on drugs used
    in the US and European countries into a pool for generic
    manufacturers to produce the newer ARVs. Much still needs
    to be worked out for the pool to be a success. Some of these
    issues include:

    Governance - who will control and monitor the
    pool and what will the term of this license to produce
    the drug be?
    Quality control - who will assure quality of the
    formulations produced?
    Geographic scope - will the less poor developing
    countries be included?
    Breadth - should the pool accept all patents or
    only those relevant to the mission of the pool.

    There is also discussion about incentives for pharmaceutical
    companies to participate in the pool. Will there be a reward
    for innovators who place their patents into a pool?
    The EAA’s HIV and AIDS Strategy Group and Pharma working
    group will continue to monitor developments related to
    this proposal.

    Boehringer Ingelheim responds to children’s letters

    In early November, as part of the EAA’s Prescription for Life
    campaign, copies of letters from children around the world
    were sent to GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Abbott, Bristol Meyers
    Squibb, and Boehringer Ingelheim. On 24 November, the
    EAA received a reply from Boehringer Ingelheim.
    “We were impressed by the attached letters from Africans and
    Europeans alike expressing their compassion in an emotional
    manner, but also indicating interest and understanding in
    the pandemic…Let me assure you, that our company shares
    this concern and since years is reacting to the crisis in various
    ways,” the letter stated. “So far, more than 1.85 million
    mother/child pairs have benefited from the [VIRAMUNE Donation]
    programme in 170 projects in 60 countries in Africa,
    Asia, Latin America and Central/Eastern Europe.”

    Boehringer Ingelheim encourages people to visit their
    websites www.boehringer-ingelheim.com/wecare and
    www.boehringer-ingelheim.com/hiv for more information. The
    EAA’s Pharma Working Group is planning a follow-up meeting with
    BI during the 2010 International AIDS Conference in Vienna.

    Exhibit available on Children and HIVFor the past year, children around the world have been writingletters to governments and pharmaceutical companies encouragingthem to develop and make accessible appropriatetesting and treatment for infants and children living with HIV.An exhibit of nine panels features the letters of children, expresseswhat needs to be done, and encourages each of us tomake a difference. The panels have been displayed in the USat the United Nations Headquarters, Catholic Relief Services,and Union Theological Seminary.The exhibit is available for display at other organizations andevents. To view the panels, see: http://www.e-alliance.ch/en/s/hivaids/accountability/prescription-for-life-help-children-living-with-hiv/.
    Contact Sara Speicher at sspeicher@e-alliance




The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is a broad international network of churches and Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on food and HIV and AIDS. The Alliance is based in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, see http://www.e-alliance.ch/

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