The joint program is entitled: “Strengthening and integrating national policies and programmes addressing gender-based violence, harmful use of alcohol and infectious diseases.”
UNDP, WHO and civil society partners FORUT and Movendi are implementing a Joint Programme to strengthen and align national policy frameworks for the harmful use of alcohol, gender-based violence, and infectious diseases.
The Joint Programme has been undertaken in 12 countries in Africa and Eastern Europe, with multistakeholder delegations being trained on the issues, then designing and implementing country road maps that aim to ensure that the policy frameworks for each of the three issues take account of the risks and impacts of each other. Each country delegation comprises government, civil society and UN agencies to address the issues in an integrated manner.
The Joint Programme hypothesized that taking an integrated approach to all three issues – and strengthening national alcohol policies in particular – would result in significantly improved outcomes for health and development.
By convening a diverse range of stakeholders who can influence policies – ministries of health, ministries of finance, law enforcement, UN organizations, civil society and academics – to sensitize them to the multiple interactions of gender-based violence, the harmful use of alcohol and HIV and TB, and then having them implement at country level an agreed road map, the participating countries can achieve the dual goals of strengthening their health policies and integrating programmes addressing the three issues.
Programme experience to date has demonstrated that all 12 participating countries consider the alignment of these policy frameworks to be a matter of priority. Nine of the countries have established multistakeholder working groups to endorse and implement their country road maps. UNDP, WHO and other partners are providing technical assistance as they work towards fuller integration.
Of the three issues, national policies on alcohol are the least developed. Of the nine countries participating in Africa, only one had in place a national policy on alcohol. And that one policy did not take into account the linkages between alcohol and GBV or HIV. In most of the other countries a national alcohol plan was stuck in draft form, often after intervention by non-health sectors or the alcohol industry. The Joint Programme plans to support implementation in the 12 existing countries while expanding to another 18 countries in 2015-2016.