Establishment of the Eurasian Coalition on Male Health (ECOM)

Published: July 6, 2011

Preamble

On 21-23 June 2011, in Pattaya, Thailand, during an Inter-Regional Meeting of experts from Europe and
Asia, representatives from Eastern Europe and Central Asia committed to the establishment of a regional
mechanism aimed at achieving an enabling environment for effective response to the HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men, and transgender people in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. This mechanism is called the Eurasian Coalition on Male Health (ECOM).

Recommendations for the establishment of this mechanism were adopted during the Regional
Consultation: “Hidden epidemic: HIV, men who have sex with men, and transgender people in Eastern
Europe and Central Asia” held in Kiev, November, 22-24, 2010. ECOM will help support the
development of public health and community systems, as well as the development of an evidence base
for planning and evaluation of HIV-related prevention, treatment, care and support for men who have
sex with men (MSM) and transgender people (TG). The Coalition will work to develop strategic
information on the needs and vulnerabilities of MSM and TG, undertake capacity development for the
implementation of prevention and treatment of HIV infection among these groups, as well as promote
effective, evidence-informed practices based on respect for human rights.

Brief description of the meeting
The aim of the Inter-Regional Meeting, held on 21-23 June in Pattaya, Thailand, was to learn directly
from the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM*) how to develop a regional coordination
to respond to the HIV epidemic among MSM and TG in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia
(EECA). Technical and financial support for the meeting was provided by UNDP Asia-Pacific Regional
Centre, the UNDP Regional Centre for Europe and the CIS, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,
Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund).

The meeting was attended by experts working with MSM in the countries of the EECA, members of
APCOM, representatives of UNDP, WHO, UNAIDS, UNFPA and the Global Fund (for the list of the EECA
participants please see Annex).

Specific objectives for the Pattaya Inter-Regional Planning Meeting included:
• Sharing effective advocacy strategies employed by APCOM
• Developing a comprehensive understanding of the APCOM architecture and functional roles of
members
• Defining approaches employed by APCOM that could be replicated in the context of the Eastern
Europe and Central Asia and factors that would support or hinder implementation of such
model
• Review recommendations of the EECA 2010 Kiev Consultation “Hidden Epidemic: HIV, men
who have sex with men, and transgender people in Eastern Europe and Central Asia“
• Defining key advocacy priorities for the EECA region

On 23rd June, a meeting of EECA representatives took place. The new coordination mechanism was
called the Eurasian Coalition on Male Health (ECOM). Also, issues such as ECOM’s mission and target
audience, a possible structure for the Coalition, its principles and procedures of membership, key
partners and development plan for the next six months were discussed.

Main results of the meeting
The mission of ECOM is to create an enabling environment in which each MSM and transgender person
will have access to necessary sexual and reproductive health services, especially HIV-related
prevention, treatment, care and support, based on respect for human rights.
ECOM will develop as a Regional Coalition of organizations and networks, initiative groups and
individuals, all of whom share the mission of ECOM.

ECOM will be governed by a Board to be elected in early 2012. Prior to this, work will be guided by an
Interim Board, whose main tasks will be: development of the criteria for joining the coalition, engaging
prospective members of the Coalition, preparation and conducting transparent community elections
for Board representatives based on the principle of active community participation. Also, before the
end of 2011, the Interim Board will create information tools for the Coalition such as an email listserv
and website, and begin the process of resource mobilization.

Development of the Coalition will be supported by representatives of UNDP, WHO, UNFPA, UNAIDS, the
Global Fund and APCOM, as technical experts. Financial support on the initial stages of the Coalition
formation will be provided by UN agencies.

Contact Information
For more information, please contact the ECOM Interim Board.
E-mail: msmeurasia@gmail.com
Contact persons: Gennady Roshchupkin and Dzmitry Filippau.

Leave a Reply