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The Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI)

Survey of legislative efforts to combat HIV/AIDS in the southern Africa development community (SADC) region
Inquйrito sobre os esforзos legislativos para combater o HIV/SIDA na regiгo da comunidade de desenvolvimento da Бfrica austral (SADC)

The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI)
The Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF)

November 2004

SARPN acknowledges the NDI website as the source of this document
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In many of the newly established democracies in southern Africa, political leaders are working to develop more effective national responses to the HIV/AIDS crisis. Despite such efforts, a number of countries still lack adequate legislation, policies, and coordinated responses to effectively diminish the impact of the epidemic. In their roles as legislators, advocates, and resource mobilizers, members of parliament have the capacity to significantly influence HIV/AIDS and related human rights issues at local, national, and regional levels. Because the HIV/AIDS pandemic crosses sovereign boundaries, the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) has begun to promote the role of parliaments in combating HIV/AIDS as one of the Forum’s priorities. During a strategic planning workshop in Namibia, in February 2002, SADC PF members developed a SADC PF Plan of Action on the Role of Parliaments in Combating HIV/AIDS for legislatures to follow in addressing the pandemic. The plan, which was adopted at the Forum’s biannual plenary assembly in Angola, in April 2002, calls for legislators to play a leading role in promoting awareness about the disease and in building consensus to develop cost-effective and sustainable solutions to the challenges HIV/AIDS presents to governments in the southern Africa region. The adopted SADC PF Plan of Action seeks to raise the profile of the anti-AIDS drive to a regional level and infusing a governance perspective to the campaign so that it becomes a permanent and commonly shared regional agenda. To improve national governments’ response capabilities to the HIV/AIDS crisis, particularly within legislatures, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), in partnership with the SADC PF, conducted an assessment of existing national HIV/AIDS plans, policies and legislation in the Southern Africa region.

For the HIV/AIDS survey, the NDI and SADC PF assessment team travelled to SADC member parliaments to obtain information about current efforts by political leaders and members of parliament to address the immediate and long-term consequences of the epidemic. In each country, the assessment team gathered documents about national legislation and strategic plans on HIV/AIDS; interviewed members of parliament, representatives from health ministries, and NGO leaders to ascertain what actions they had taken to combat the crisis; and compiled comparative information about national responses, implementation, and monitoring activities. The findings from the survey and the collected documents will be entered into a database that is located on the SADC PF website: The database is meant to provide easily accessible technical information and expertise on HIV/AIDS that will serve as a resource for members of parliament on best practices from countries in the region.

The assessment team conducted interviews and collected documents in the following countries: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Ninety-two key informant interviews were completed with representatives from parliament, ministries of health, national AIDS coordinating agencies, NGOs, and the private sector. In each of the three different response sections, there are similar response headings in order to contrast and compare the perceptions and responses of those from parliament, government, and civil society on certain key issues. The observations expressed in this report about national responses to HIV/AIDS are based on the interviews with key informants and do not reflect the views of either NDI or the SADC PF.

As part of the assessment, NDI and the SADC PF asked key respondents in each country to identify legislators who were particularly involved in promoting national responses to the HIV/AIDS crisis. These lawmakers will be invited to form the core of a regional network of parliamentarians who regularly share information and ideas about national action plans, strategies, and legislation to enable them to respond more fully to the challenges generated by the pandemic. Such a network will assist in promoting increased awareness about the crisis and will provide support to legislators in their efforts to respond more effectively to the threat that HIV/AIDS poses to all facets of development.

The factors most frequently mentioned by interview respondents as impediments to more robust HIV/AIDS interventions were stigma, fear, discrimination, lack of political will, corruption, inadequate financial resources, scarce human resources, and insufficient education. Priority needs to be given to education for citizens about prevention, care, and treatment in order to reduce the stigma and fear associated with HIV/AIDS and to encourage widespread participation in voluntary testing. Although varying degrees of political commitment exist in the countries, the implementation, coordination, and monitoring of HIV/AIDS responses should be strengthened in SADC countries. Parliamentarians need to have better access to comparative information about HIV/AIDS. Advocacy efforts should be expanded for HIV/AIDS programs and policies to meet the needs and concerns of their constituents, who are grappling with the social, economic, and health issues surrounding the epidemic.

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Em muitas das democracias estabelecidas recentemente na Бfrica Austral, os dirigentes polнticos estгo a trabalhar no sentido de desenvolverem respostas nacionais mais eficazes а crise do HIV/SIDA. Apesar de tais esforзos, a vбrios paнses ainda faltam legislaзгo, polнticas, e respostas coordenadas adequadas para diminuir o impacto da epidemia com eficбcia. No seu papel de legisladores, defensores, e mobilizadores de recursos, os deputados tкm capacidade para influenciar significativamente as questхes relacionadas com o HIV/SIDA e direitos humanos relacionados com a doenзa a nнvel local, nacional, e regional. Visto que a pandemia do HIV/SIDA atravessa fronteiras soberanas, o Fуrum Parlamentar da Comunidade de Desenvolvimento da Бfrica Austral (FP da SADC) comeзou a promover o papel dos parlamentos no combate contra o HIV/SIDA como uma das prioridades do Fуrum. Durante um seminбrio de planeamento estratйgico realizado na Namнbia, em Fevereiro de 2002, os membros do FP da SADC desenvolveram um Plano de Acзгo sobre o Papel dos Parlamentos no Combate ao HIV/SIDA que as legislaturas deviam seguir quando abordassem a pandemia. O plano, que foi adoptado na assembleia plenбria bianual do Fуrum em Angola, em Abril de 2002, exorta os legisladores a dsesempenharem um papel de lideranзa na promoзгo da informaзгo sobre a doenзa e na formaзгo de um consenso no sentido de se desenvolverem soluзхes sustentбveis e eficazes do ponto de vista do custo para os desafios que o HIV/SIDA coloca aos governos na regiгo da Бfrica Austral. O Plano de Acзгo do FP adoptado procura aumentar o perfil do esforзo contra a SIDA a nнvel regional para que se transforme numa agenda regional permanente e partilhada em comum. Para melhorar as capacidades de resposta dos governos nacionais а crise do HIV/SIDA, particularmente no вmbito dos parlamentos, o Instituto Democrбtico para os Assuntos Internacionais (NDI), em parceria com o FP da SADC, efectuou uma avaliaзгo dos planos, polнticas e legislaзгo nacionais existentes na regiгo da Бfrica Austral no que diz respeito ao HIV/SIDA.

Para o inquйrito sobre o HIV/SIDA, a equipa de avaliaзгo do NDI e do FP da SADC PF visitaram os Parlamentos Membros da SADC a fim de obter informaзгo sobre as actuais diligкncias efectuadas por dirigentes polнticos e deputados no sentido de abordarem as consequкncias imediatas e a longo prazo da epidemia. Em cada paнs, a equipa de avaliaзгo reuniu documentos sobre a legislaзгo nacional e planos estratйgicos sobre o HIV/SIDA, entrevistou deputados, representantes dos ministйrios de saъde, e dirigentes das ONGs com vista a determinar que acзхes tinham tomado para combater a crise; e compilou informaзхes comparativas sobre as respostas, implementaзгo, e actividades de monitorizaзгo nacionais. Os resultados do inquйrito e os documentos coligidos serгo introduzidos numa base de dados situada no website do FP da SADC: Й intenзгo da equipa que a base de dados proporcione informaзхes tйcnicas e conhecimentos facilmente acessнveis sobre o HIV/SIDA que funcionem como um recurso destinado aos deputados sobre as boas prбticas dos paнses na regiгo.

A equipa de avaliaзгo realizou entrevistas e coligiu documentos nos seguintes paнses: Angola, Botswana, Lesoto, Malawi, Maurнcias, Moзambique, Namнbia, Бfrica do Sul, Tanzania, Zambia, e Zimbabwe. Levaram-se a cabo noventa e duas entrevistas informativas chave com representantes de parlamentos, ministйrios de saъde, agкncias de coordenaзгo nacional contra a SIDA, ONGs, e o sector privado. Em cada uma das trкs secзхes de respostas diferentes, hб rubricas semelhantes para que se possam contrastar e comparar as percepзхes e respostas dos indivнduos oriundos dos parlamentos, do governo, e da sociedade civil sobre certas questхes chave. As observaзхes expressas neste relatуrio sobre respostas nacionais ao HIV/SIDA baseiam-se nas entrevistas com informadores chave e nгo reflectem as opiniхes quer do NDI quer do FP da SADC.

Como parte da avaliaзгo, o NDI e o FP da SADC pediram a entrevistados chave em cada paнs que identificassem legisladores que estivessem especialmente envolvidos na promoзгo de respostas nacionais а crise do HIV/SIDA. Estes legisladores serгo convidados a formar o nъcleo de uma rede nacional de deputados que partilham informaзхes e idйias regularmente sobre planos de acзгo, estratйgias, e legislaзгo regionais com vista a permitir-lhes responder de forma mais capaz aos desafios gerados pela pandemia. Tal rede deverб auxiliar a promover o aumento do conhecimento sobre a crise e proporcionar apoio aos legisladores nos seus esforзos de responder mais eficazmente а ameaзa que o HIV/SIDA coloca a todos os aspectos do desenvolvimento.

Os factores que foram mencionados mais frequentemente pelos entrevistados como constituindo obstбculos a intervenзхes mais vigorosas sobre o HIV/SIDA foram o estigma, o receio, a discriminaзгo, a falta de vontade polнtica, a corrupзгo, os recursos financeiros insuficientes, os recursos humanos escassos, e a educaзгo deficiente. Й necessбrio priorizar a educaзгo dos cidadгos sobre prevenзгo, apoio, e tratamento a fim de reduzir o estigma e o receio associados ao HIV/SIDA e a encorajar uma partipaзгo alargada na realizaзгo de testes voluntбrios. Embora existam nos paнses diversos graus de empenhamento polнtico, a implementaзгo, coordenaзгo, e monitorizaзгo das respostas ao HIV/SIDA devem ser reforзadas nos paнses da SADC. Os deputados necessitam de ter um melhor acesso a informaзхes comparativas sobre o HIV/SIDA. Devem expandirse os esforзos de defesa dos programas e das polнticas de HIV/SIDA a fim de satisfazer as necessidades e as preocupaзхes dos seus eleitores, que se debatem com os problemas sociais, econуmicos, e sanitбrios associados а epidemia.

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