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Workshop on the finalization of the Guideline on HIV interventions in African Union Peace Support Operations 5-9th October 2015,

By African Union Commission (AUC)
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INVITATION TO REPRESENTATIVES OF THE MEDIA

What: Opening Ceremony of the Workshop on the finalization of the Guideline on HIV interventions in the African Union Peace Support Operations. Who: African Union Commission, Medical Services Directorate and Peace Security Department.

When: 6th October 2015 from 9.00 A.M

Where: Desalegn Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Objectives:

i. To finalize the draft guideline on HIV interventions in AU Peace Support Operations

ii. To discuss the processes involved and strategize on how to fast track the adoption of the document

iii. To develop an action Plan for its implementation

Expected Outcomes:

i. A finalized guideline on HIV interventions in AU Peace Support Operations

ii. A plan on how the guideline will be made operational and implemented

Participants:

• African Union Commission (AUC) Peace and Security Department (PSD), AUC Medical Services Directorate (MSD), AUC Social Affairs Department, Division , AUC Directorate for Women, Gender and Development ,AUC office of the Legal Counsel.

• African Union Mission in Somalia(AMISOM)

• UN Office to AU

• UNAMID

• UNSOA

• Directors of Medical Services of TCCs(Burundi, Uganda, Ethiopia Djibouti, Kenya and Sierra Leone), PCC's(Nigeria, Ghana and Uganda) and Somalia.

• RECs/RMs(ECOWAS, ECCAS,SADC,UMA,IGAD,COMESA,EAC)

• Partners(ILOAIDS, WHOAU,UNAIDS,UNDPKO,USDOD)

Background: Reference is made to the African Union previous binding documents including the Abuja declaration where by the Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Union (OAU) declared their deep concern about rapid spread of HIV, inspite of serious efforts to control and also recognized that the epidemics constitute not only a major health crisis, but also an exceptional threat to Africa's developmental stability, social cohesion and political stability among others. Thus, the head of states and Governments are committed to intensify the fight against HIV and AIDS.

The AUC strategic plan also defines the unique role that the African Union will play in accelerating action to combat HIV/ AIDS by comparative advantage as a region - wide and democratic institution expressing the will of member countries. The objective of the plan include to establish the AUC as a leading voice on HIV AIDS in and for the region and to strengthen the AUC's regional activities, and mitigate the impact of the epidemic through a work place policy and programme for the AUC's own staff and their families. Hence the AU HIV and AIDS Workplace Policy was adopted by the AU Commission in April 2009 and launched in December 2011.

The Promotion of peace, security and stability on the continent is among the main objectives of the African Union. AU's involvement in peace support operations is now close to a decade in the role of observation or other interventions in grave circumstances, to prevent escalation of conflict, in peace keeping and peace building missions including post conflict resolution, disarmament and demobilization. Both the Peace Support Operations Personnel and the displaced civilian population of the host nations especially women; are vulnerable and can be adversely affected by HIV/AIDS.

However despite this situation, the AU Peace Support service lacks a uniform guideline to be followed by the entire Troop (TCCs), Police Contributing Countries (PCCs) and Civilian Personnel. The result is lack of a coordinated system to address HIV issues and protect military, police and civilian personnel including the host communities where the Mission is situated.

As part of the initiative to implement the AU HIV and AIDS work place policy and address these concerns, the AUC hosted a Joint Consultative Workshop on HIV interventions in AU PSOs in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 7th to 10th October 2013.

This workshop brought together all stakeholders and Partners who discussed in depth and made proposals on how HIV should be managed in AU PSOs. The result of this workshop was a draft protocol that took into consideration the vulnerabilities and rights of the PSOs personnel (uniformed and civilian) and host communities and peculiarities of the African people and their culture.

As this draft protocol was not finalized a workshop is planned to enable the AUC to finalize the draft guideline and develop an action plan for its implementation, subject to approval.