Items filtered by date: Thursday, 13 December 2018

13 December 2018 - From Iran to Azerbaijan: countries exchange best practices on harm reduction for people who use drugs

Iran has a concentrated HIV epidemic with a low prevalence of less than 0.1% in the general population but a high prevalence among most at-risk populations, particularly people who inject drugs.

UNDP works with the government and the Global Fund to fight HIV, TB and Malaria to implement activities focused on reaching this vulnerable group, which includes a Peer Education Programme in prisons.

To share best practice, a study-tour was organised from 10-15 November 2018 for a delegation from Republic of Azerbaijan.

The visit was overseen by the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) which provides support for the overall direction of the Global Fund grants in country and includes representatives from government, the private sector, technical partners, and representatives from civil society and communities living with the diseases.

In addition to exploring Iran’s best practices from the Harm Reduction Programme, the aim of the tour was to strengthen cooperation between the two countries and to share lessons learned from the implementation of the programme in Iran.

The delegation from Azerbaijan included representatives from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Justice who were accompanied by Iran’s CCM Coordinator, National Harm Reduction staff and staff from UNDP Iran HIV/AIDS Unit.

Through organizing meetings and daily visits for the delegation, the host country provided a thorough review of the programme in Iran, including meetings with national authorities and visits to centers providing services to people who use drugs. A platform was also created so that the members of the delegation could ask questions, raise concerns and better understand each countries approach.

The study tour included meetings with the CCM Vice Chair and with UNDP as the Principal Recipient of the Global Fund HIV grant. Meetings with Sub-Recipients of the Global Fund HIV grant and national related bodies were also organized in which each organization presented on the Harm Reduction Programmes being implemented in their settings. A meeting was also held with the representative of Drug Control Headquarters.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the tour included visits to the Center for Communicable Diseases Control, the Mental Health Social Health of Addiction Department, the Welfare Organization and the Prisons Organization which facilitated a visit to Hamedan Central Prison.

A de-briefing session was held on the final day of the tour with Joint UN Team on AIDS (JUNTA) who shared their views on HIV/AIDS and their supports towards Harm Reduction Programme. In this meeting, representatives from UNAIDS, UNDP, UNODC, UNHCR and UNIC were also present to respond to questions from the Azerbaijan delegation. 

The visit was a great success and a strong example of our commitment to sharing learning. This exchange provided an excellent opportunity for us to learn from each other’s contexts and we look forward to working together to reduce the HIV prevalence rate among people who use drugs in both countries.

  • Published in Drugs
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12 Dec 2018 - UNESCO organized the 8th Asian G-WADI meeting and 2nd International Drought Initiative (IDI) expert group meeting

UNESCO in collaboration with the Regional Centre on Urban Water Management (RCUWM) under auspices of UNESCO, Khorasan Razavi Regional Water Authority and Ferdowsi University of Mashhad organized the 8th Asian G-WADI meeting and 2nd International Drought Initiative (IDI) expert group meeting in Mashhad from 10 to 12 December 2018.

Over 25 experts from the Asian G-WADI network and the International Drought Initiative (IDI) shared their knowledge and experience in adaptation to water scarcity and new advances in drought management. The three-day event brought together around 100 participants from Iran as well as other countries of the world such as Afghanistan, China, France, India, Mongolia, Oman, Thailand, Slovenia, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. Representatives from international organizations active in the field of drought management such as the Integrated Drought Management Programme (IDMP) and the Global Water Partnership (GWP) were also present in the meeting.  

The meeting was opened by Dr. Mohammad Kafi, the dean of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad and Mr. Mohammad Alaee, the Director of Khorasan Razavi Regional Water Authority followed by a welcome message by Mr. Alexander Leicht, the Officer-in-Charge of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office. 

Dr. Kafi stressed the importance of collaboration between all scientific organizations to develop new approaches in adaptation to water scarcity in arid areas. The importance of collaborative approaches to achieve the adaptation plans objectives also emphasized by Mr. Alaee.

“Freshwater is an important resource for human health. According to the latest research, the global demand for water has been increasing at a rate of about 1% per year as a function of economic growth and changing consumption patterns, among other factors. The demand will continue to grow significantly over the next two decades, and so will the associated challenges.  It is therefore indeed timely to share our experiences in water management in countries which are facing particular challenges and to jointly explore solutions to water scarcity.” stated by Mr. Alexander Leicht during his remarks. He thanked the Ministry of Energy of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO for their continued support and for the excellent cooperation between Iran and UNESCO in the various domains of natural sciences.

The objectives of the three-day event were to increase regional cooperation for adaptation to water scarcity in arid and semi-arid zones as well as developing synergies between active programmes in the field of drought management.

The Asian G-WADI Network was established as far back as March 2005 by representatives from Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan to respond to the urgent need for regional co-operation for the sustainable development of arid and semi-arid zones.

The International Drought Initiative (IDI) was approved at the 19th session of the International Hydrological Programme (IHP_ Intergovernmental Council in July 2010, in Paris, upon a proposal from Iran. The Regional Centre on Urban Water Management (RCUWM) in Tehran hosts the Secretariat of the Initiative. The Initiative provides a platform for networking and the dissemination of knowledge and information among stakeholders that are working to address droughts.

For more information about UNESCO IDI please see: https://en.unesco.org/themes/water-security/hydrology/programmes/droughts

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