The AIDS, Security and Conflict Initiative (ASCI) is a global research initiative convened by the Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’ and the Social Science Research Council. ASCI is supported by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Australian Agency for International Development, the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNAIDS.
Starting in September 2006, ASCI began a process of research and mobilization bringing together an international network of researchers, policy makers and practitioners across geographic regions and specialist fields. ASCI aims to inform policy and programming by strengthening the evidence base and addressing critical gaps in knowledge across several areas:
- HIV/AIDS in military and uniformed services
- HIV/AIDS, humanitarian crises and post-conflict transitions
- HIV/AIDS and fragile states
- Cross cutting issues, including gender, data collection and measurement, and media representation
While the worst fears about threats posed by HIV/AIDS to peace and security have not been realized, neither have the myriad challenges posed by the pandemic been resolved. These include the recognized issues of managing HIV/AIDS within the military and peacekeeping operations. It also includes integrating AIDS policies and programmes into security sector reforms, policing and disarmament, demobilizaiton and reintegration activities. It includes the role of sexual violence in HIV transmission and the securitization of HIV/AIDS programmes and policies. Recognizing the complex relationship between HIV/AIDS and humanitarian crisis, ASCI will focus on the underlying drivers that exacerbate HIV rates in some situations while keeping it down in others, and it will assess how these drivers may increase HIV risks in post-conflict situations. ASCI is also concerned with the particular situations in which HIV/AIDS exacerbates state crisis and how, in these situations, HIV/AIDS policies and programmes are established and implemented.
ASCI’s agenda is to sharpen the analysis of these very real problems and recommend policy and programme oriented responses. ASCI will actively seek opportunities to learn from and contribute to debates across humanitarian, human rights and security arenas and, under the guidance of an expert reference group, will bring together existing research and commission new studies.
This is a crucial moment to accelerate understanding of a rapidly evolving field now catapulted onto the world agenda. ASCI’s contribution to this effort will be to offer new analyses of concrete challenges and to crystallize existing knowledge into more effective responses. For more information about ASCI, kindly contact firstname.lastname@example.org.