So just what have INPUD been doing for this last year. They do manage to keep up quarterly reports the last year but sadly that has coincided with me taking 8 months out of the year – alas I’m just catching up on things – probably just like you since the blog’s have been far and few between lately! Though, more lately! We are starting up again on the blog so guys and dolls – bear with me!
So, just looking over the ED report August-November_2012 Executive Director, Eliot Albers, I notice it is packed with projects, peer work, lobbying and work , work, work – including a new board (all PUD’s*), just sworn in a few months back – each one will introduce themselves right here my friends, with a piccy so you can see the very person who is the users advocate at these various international tables. (Of course its only sometimes boardmembers, there are many other INPUD members who do work on a global level too. Like me for example -but it really works because of everyone working from the grassroots – which we ALL do, no matter what posh table we sometimes might sit at, trying to find agreED report August-November_2012ement! (PS – this is edited, but should still give you a good insight into the document. click this link below to read it in its entirety, written by the Chief Exec, Eliot Albers.
Anyway, the document is 10 pages long, to long to print here or for many of us to read on the go – so – Im going to read it for you – provide a brief summery and give you the link to the full document. If you want to know just what INPUD is about, whether you want to be a member, help out, donate, network etc, this will help give some background.
ED report August-November_2012 (follow this previous link for document in full)
INPUD Executive Director’s Report to the Membership;
Eliot Ross Albers, August to November 2012
That I am now writing this, my fourth, quarterly report indicates the fact that I have completed my first year in this extraordinary job. It has been a collective effort, and the result of many years of hard work and preparation. We have come from being a dream in the minds of countless dedicated drug user activists into a project existing month to month, to a fully funded organization with three staff, members on all continents, and growing regional networks.
We have become an essential partner, and are regarded as the voice of the drug using community in the fields of harm reduction, human rights, HIV, Hepatitis C, drug law reform and more. We are on the brink now of a new phase in our development as we begin the transformation into a legally constituted independent entity – for the first time ever, our community has earned itself, with considerable struggle, a place at the table, in all fora, where the issues that impact so dramatically on our lives are discussed.
Work has been progressing on three principal levels:
a) Through representation at a number of international meetings where significant issues impacting on our community’s lives have been discussed, as well as through the writing of two extensive bids for different funding streams;
b) Through delivering ongoing technical support, most notably to the network that was seeded in Kenya by the workshop that we delivered in June; as well as by the delivery of a capacity building workshop to the Indian Drug Users’ Forum;
c) Through the development of internal systems and procedures, which was marked most visibly by the preparation of a successful face to face Board meeting in London.
Given the extent of the global financial crisis it should come as no surprise that there have been serious ramifications for the harm reduction, and HIV fields.
The most evident ways in which this impact has manifested itself has been two-fold; the first has been a heated discussion about the adoption of a new ‘Strategic Investment Framework’ (SIF) for the HIV response;
The second has been through the massive restructuring of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), and the eventual unveiling of a new funding model. Both of these new models have elicited widespread discussion, and some considerable concern, amongst HIV activists including key affected population networks. (those affected by such viruses etc ed)
The ‘strategic investment framework’ (SIF) first emerged in a paper in the medical journal The Lancet in June last year, since which time it has sparked a global conversation. Whilst no international agency has yet claimed ownership of the framework, many of its authors work for UN agencies (including UNAIDS,
the Global Fund, WHO and UNICEF) and there are signs that it is beginning to be implemented in a number of African countries.The SIF places great emphasis on what it calls ‘critical enablers’ amongst which community mobilization and human rights are listed. INPUD members from across Asia, as well as Dean (Asia) and Alex (Russia) from the Board, and I (Northern Europe) attended what was billed as a ‘civil society consultation’ on the strategic investment framework in concentrated epidemics.
NOTE: This is by no means the full picture – many ‘civil society orgs’ – (or in other words groups, charities, orgs, activists who work on the ground empowering/aiding/ the local population and not for ( but hopefully alongside) the governments they work within or deal with, just like INPUD!) -, so many civil society orgs or NGO’s -were very unhappy with the framework suggested – as usual it appeared that the consultation was a consultation ‘after the decisions had been pretty much made -the usual political loopholes we encounter – find out why in Eliots quarterly report. -Erin
So who is responsible for implementing the strategic investment framework? Whilst UNAIDS have published a document on it, none of their representatives present clearly stated that the SIF is now UNAIDS policy, the same applies for the Global Fund. So the question remains: who implements the strategic investment framework?
NOTE: More detail in the report.Ed
The 2nd Major Development to affect INPUD’s work and our community
The second major development has been the massive shake up within the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria subsequent to the catastrophic cancellation of Round 11. Since the cancellation a new funding model has been in development and a series of community consultations have been held in which INPUD has participated.
INPUD has, along with our key harm reduction and drug policy partners, been lobbying the Global Fund Secretariat to express our concerns about the multiple ways in which the restructuring of the fund might negatively impact on its status as the world’s leading funder of harm reduction programs up until now.
In a letter that we co-wrote to the new ED of the Global Fund, we expressed our concern that “one unintended consequence of the changes has been to weaken the Secretariat’s capacity in terms of harm reduction: the internal ‘harm reduction working group’ is no longer functioning, a number of key staff have left the organisation, and the Civil Society Partnerships Team has been disbanded. At this important time for the Global Fund, as it looks to revise and improve its funding mechanisms and operations, we are keen to ensure that full attention is given to the issues of drug injecting, drug policy and harm reduction – reflecting their importance to the global HIV response”. In the letter, that was co-written by us with IDPC, EHRN, HRI, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, and YouthRise.
NOTE: 4 Specific requests were made – see the quarterly document. Page 4.We have had a response to this letter in which we have been invited to have a meeting with key members of the HIV Committee and are in the process of working on an agenda for the meeting.
One other area of global advocacy in which we have been particularly busy has been around articulating our concerns with developments in UNODC (UN Office of Drugs and Crime) since the Russian Fedotov came in to the role of Executive Director.
Since last December, we, along with key partners, have attempted to engage Fedotov in a discussion to articulate our concerns around the lack of leadership within UNODC on harm reduction, needle and syringe programs and OST (Opiate Substitution Treatment); and the lack of any attempt at systematic engagement with civil society –
…..There has been an obvious (Ed)………de-prioritising (of) harm reduction and the scaling up of proven HIV prevention measures such as NSPs and OST. This is most graphically represented by the clear signs that the HIV
unit will be closed when its present head, Christian Kroll, retires at the end of the year, and instead HIV issues will be dealt with by the drug dependence treatment team, or more precisely the ‘Global Challenges Department’, under the leadership of Gilberto Gerra, the latter being entirely committed to a brain disease model of drug use. For UNODC not to have a distinct HIV unit is a potential catastrophe, given that two out of three new HIV infections outside of sub-Saharan Africa is attributable to the use of
contaminated syringes.This issue will come to a head at next month’s UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) where it will be raised on the floor.
Whilst all of this advocacy work has been going on, the INPUD Secretariat has devoted a considerable amount of time writing and submitting two different bids for core funding from two different funders. (NOTE: Fingers crossed – more details in the report. Ed)
NOTE: (While INPUD is still awaiting news from the first bid…ed)
The second bid to be submitted was an application to the Open Society Foundation’s Global Drug Policy Programme. This bid, entitled Sustaining INPUD – Resource Mobilisation, Campaigning Capacity and Secretariat Development was for three core areas of our work:
1. Global Advocacy. The focus of this aspect of the bid was on international advocacy on public health, drug treatment, drug law reform, and human rights.
2. Capacity Development. This proposal will help consolidate our organizational development work by formalising and strengthening alliances with key partners, extending staff and volunteer capacity, and continuing to build communication and campaigning systems.
3. Network Development. This part of the bid is concerned with building INPUD membership and extending the organisation’s operating languages, designing a virtual mechanism for electing and developing a new Board, and moving the organization towards independent incorporation.
I am delighted to be able to announce that this application for funding was successful and so gives us the confidence in knowing that we can continue to do the work that we have been entrusted to do. What most pleased us about the decision was that in addition to the Global Drug Policy Programme, the bid was half funded by the International Harm Reduction Development Programme within OSF. This latter is a new
funding stream for us and having the support of this programme gives us the ability to develop a drug user oriented approach to harm reduction.
Technical Support – INPUD in Africa! Welcome KeNPUD!
Since the delivery of the capacity building workshop in Nairobi to a small group of injecting drug users, INPUD has been providing intensive ongoing technical support to the network, the Kenyan Network of People who Use Drugs (KeNPUD). This technical support has seen the network grow to become one that is now legally registered in Kenya, and has been on technical, political, and personal levels. Whilst the
network is still looking for office space, its energetic membership has been holding regular meetings in a football field, and has become a vital partner in the growing harm reduction, and drug policy debate in the country; as such, it is serving as a pioneer on the continent. INPUD plans to return to Nairobi to carry out further training in the near future, and to help the burgeoning network to clearly identify its advocacy priorities and develop its strategic plan. It is also planned that the network will expand to reach out to the coastal region. In addition to this work in Kenya we have been in discussion with Médecins du Monde in Tanzania, where we also delivered a capacity building workshop earlier in the year, they have invited us to return to deliver more workshops and training, again with a view to forming a network. With
groups established in both Kenya and Tanzania, it is hoped that an East African regional network can be formed.
NOTE: It is worth reading page 7,8 for more information on the African peer work, it’s a really interesting development and good for the people who use drugs – ed
Fighting Against Death and Torture
As part of the CAHR programme that INPUD is involved in, we have been supporting the Indian Drug Users’ Forum (IDUF) in its development and assisted it in the hiring of a coordinator. To deepen relationships, I was invited to go to Delhi to deliver a capacity building workshop. The event, which was well attended by drug user activists from all over India, as well as activists from Bhutan and Nepal, was a successful galvanizing event. We took the opportunity of the workshop to prioritise the issue of ill
treatment and occasional deaths in unregulated “deaddiction” centres which are rife in India.
The Indian case…..are very different to that in South East Asia, where the systematic use of detention camps, supported by local governments, is well documented (Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and China are notable examples), in that these are not government run but private businesses. They are no less an affront to human dignity and in
breach of all human rights standards. IDUF will keep an eye on the issue and see what it can do to see that such facilities are shut down.
Two of INPUD’s key objectives for the year came together in November when we
1) held a face to face Board meeting in London;
2) finalized agreement on the way forward to taking INPUD further along the road to independence as a legally registered entity. The Board meeting was an enormous logistical task, - bringing together 10 people from 7 different countries. The meeting achieved all that it set out to do… One of the most important outcomes of the meeting was that the Board approved of the work that I had been doing to prepare us for incorporation as a legal entity in the UK….. as all three staff members are based here, and we have been advised that the process would be relatively easy to accomplish; we have hired legal and financial experts to guide us through the process of incorporation
and hope to have it completed shortly after the new year.
It will be an extremely exciting development for us as a network, as for the first time we will have a legally independent international drug users’ network, funded and staffed, and totally dedicated to our common objectives and values.
A great deal of work has been ongoing to establish internal working methods, project management systems, and better contact databases, as well as to develop a new user friendly website so that we can improve communication with members, partner organizations, and the wider world; the new website will not just be more visually attractive but will include an array of interactive features so that INPUD can act as a clearing house for information from the world of drug user activism.
INPUD members have been active at the Harm Reduction Coalition’s recent conference in Portland, Oregon, including at the pre-conference meeting of drug user unions; at the October summit of African leaders where drug policy and harm reduction were on the agenda; we have also been involved, and participated, in a GNP+ consultation on the implementation of their Global Advocacy Agenda, other members are currently taking part in a consultation for Key Populations living with HIV that GNP+ is in
Following the successful launch at the Kolkata Sex Worker Freedom Festival of WHO
Guidance on Prevention of Viral Hepatitis B and C Among People who Use Drugs, INPUD has been invited to send a member to sit on a new WHO Guideline Development Group to develop WHO Standard Guidelines for Screening, Care and Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis C Virus (HCV); WHO have also invited us to send a representative to the first meeting of a project to develop guidelines on substance use in pregnancy.
In my last report I mentioned that we had produced information in response to the
reappearance on the market of anthrax-contaminated heroin; subsequent to the publication of our booklet and materials, further deaths have occurred and new information has come to light, as a consequence we felt it to be our duty to issue an augmented information pack, this is now available online and we encourage members to disseminate it in their networks as widely as possible.
One of the highlights of the last few months was the founding conference,
in Salvador, Brazil of our Latin American network, the Latin American Network of People who Use Drugs (LANPUD). Latin America continues to be one of the principal battle grounds of the war on drug users, and its ravages are apparent in the many thousands killed in Mexico and across the continent in battles between governments and traffickers. At the same time, a growing number of serving Latin American heads of state are speaking out more and more stridently against the ‘war’ and are calling for
As usual, I am sure that I have left a lot out, but I hope that this gives you an overview of the work that we have been doing, and inspires you to stay involved in, and become more active in your network. We will only grow stronger if we, as the staff team, know what you are doing in your countries and regions, at the same time I will continue to provide you with regular updates on the progress that we are collectively
Do try and read the quarterly report, there is so much going on and if any particular part interests you and your user organisation, let us know and we can do an interview of investigation/report for the blog or elsewhere. Erin
Here is the link to the Quarterly INPUD report from Aug – Nov 2012