Business coalitions on AIDS (BCA) have emerged as an effective
platform for the private sector to respond to the HIV epidemic
and strengthen their corporate social responsibility efforts.
In order to take stock of progress made by BCAs in the Asia
Pacific region and to ensure that standards are upheld as
services are scaled up by BCAs, UNAIDS, the Asia Pacific Business
Coalition (APBCA) and the Asian Business Coalition on AIDS (ABCA)
organized a regional meeting of BCAs from the region in Bangkok,
Thailand on November 17-18 2009.
"The meeting of business coalitions in the Asia Pacific region
has been a tremendous opportunity for the coalitions to learn
from each other and find ways to enhance the private sector's
contribution in the AIDS response," said Stephen Grant, Asia
Pacific Business Coalition on AIDS Chief Executive Officer.
Over twenty participants gathered to discuss key issues around
the activities and services offered by BCAs in the region, the
challenges and opportunities they face as well as key
partnerships and relationships developed with national and
international stakeholders. Participants also analyzed the impact
and value of BCA, their business models (membership and funding
models), organizational structures and governance, and the
advocacy work they do.
Strengthening the private sector response to AIDS
Although some companies are already addressing HIV in the
workplace, others do not know how or what to do to start
mitigating risks. Business coalitions have emerged to fill this
gap and provide the private sector with tools and processes
needed to effectively address HIV in the workplace and
surrounding communities. The comprehensive business responses can
be seen in corporate policies for HIV management. Businesses
focus on prevention through peer education, provision of
antiretroviral treatment and support for affected staff and their
"People who are at the core of the epidemic include men who are
mobile and who practice sex with multiple partners. Many of them
are workers who are employed by thousands of businesses and
industrial establishments across Asia and the Pacific. Accessing
them through well planned workplace programmes is a good way to
counter the epidemic and business coalitions are well placed to
assume leadership in this area," said Prasada Rao, UNAIDS
Regional Director for Asia and Pacific.
Business responses can start within the workplace and respond
beyond to form mature partnerships with business, business
associations, and communities as well as governmental authorities
to form a private public partnership, which will enhance
society's efforts to combat the epidemic.
The workshop was attended by coalitions from Cambodia, Indonesia,
Malaysia, Myanmar, PNG, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, the
regional coalitions (Asia Pacific Business Coalition (APBCA) and
the Asian Business Coalition on AIDS (ABCA) as well as private
sector representatives from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal,
Philippines and Sri Lanka. The Asia Pacific Network of people
living with HIV/AIDS, the Global Fund, ILO, the Burnet Institute
(the leading medical research and public health Institutes in
Australia) and the HIV Alliance also participated.
One of the deliverables of the meeting will be a manual designed
to help BCAs set priorities and next steps. It will guide BCAs on
where to seek technical assistance (and what type) to address
hurdles, on how to ensure they promote sustainable programs in
support of the national AIDS response and target the most
vulnerable communities, etc.
The first established Business coalition on AIDS (BCA) was
launched in Thailand in 1993. Today, there are 47 coalitions
around the world that have emerged and four regional business
coalitions. In most countries in Asia Pacific, BCA now exist in
various forms and in different stages of development.
This second regional meeting was a follow up to the 2003 meeting
on BCAs which took place in Bali and brought together 55
participants from 11 countries - Cambodia, China, Fiji,
Indonesia, Kiribati, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, South Africa,
Thailand and Viet Nam.
Private sector -
Asia Pacific Business Coalition - http://www.apbca.com/
Asia Business Coalition - http://www.abconaids.org/