A highlight at the 8th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) was the launch of the Sri Lanka Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, which was initiated by the Standard Chartered Bank. The ILO, with other partners including the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the trade unions, partnered this initiative.
Building on the tripartite response to HIV put in place with the support of the ILO SHARE project in Sri Lanka, an important feature of the coalition is the inclusion of the Ministry of Labour and the trade union representatives as key members of the Steering Committee of the new coalition. Their involvement will ensure coordination and greater mobilization of the world of work actors in the country.
As stated in its pledge, the coalition aims to:
- Increase the number and diversity of companies committed to responding to the HIV epidemic.
- Increase business action against HIV with emphasis on each company implementing its own HIV workplace policies and programmes in collaboration with workers and their organizations.
- Utilize existing expertise in the National STD/AIDS Control Programme of the Ministry of Health, the guidelines provided within the ILO Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS and the world of work and other advisory organizations in Sri Lanka.
- Enhance and facilitate the use of companies’ core competencies, products and services with the main emphasis being on prevention.
- Use business power to provide advocacy and leadership among key stakeholders.