As joint owners of the national response to HIV/AIDS, civil society groups have called upon the government to take proactive steps to meaningfully involve civil society in all aspects of conceptualisation, design, planning and implementation of National AIDS Control Programme-IV. They also want the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) to put in place transparent mechanisms to inform civil society of the process in the run-up to the planning and development of NACP-IV.

In a memorandum, the civil society organisations have called for collaboration to ensure that the drafting of NACP-IV is transparent, inclusive and participatory.

The process of NACP-III conceptualisation, design and planning has been globally recognised for its inclusivity and transparency and its strategic integration of human rights in all its aspects, says the memorandum.

India is on the verge of developing NACP-IV that will define the national response over the next five years. Early indications are that there are no evident plans for consultation and involvement of civil society; the lack of transparency in constitution of working groups is a case in point. Moreover, there is no indication of wider consultation with civil society and community as was the case in the design of NACP-III. This is a disturbing trend as it ignores what has been learnt in the last five years of programming. “NACP-IV has to build on the gains of NACP-III and should not become a cut-and-paste job of the earlier strategy,” say the civil society groups.

“HIV/AIDS is not over. Addressing the epidemic remains an urgent priority. Civil society needs to be engaged as an active and meaningful partner in the response and not just a contractor in implementing the programme,” says a statement issued by the Centre for Advocacy and Research, Lawyers Collective, Mamta, the Naz Foundation (India) Trust, Humsafar Trust, Sharam and many other NGOs.

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