International Aids Conference 2016

Faith in Action at AIDS 2016 – Spread the News!

10 March 2016

Planning for the 21st International AIDS Conference (1822 July 2016 – Durban, South Africa), is in full swing, and the AIDS 2016 conference promises to be an intense networking, learning, and advocacy experience for all.

The World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (WCC-EAA) has now re-launched, where information on faith-based activities at AIDS 2016, including the Interfaith Pre-conference, is being shared. The website will be updated regularly, with new information also highlighted through Facebook and Twitter (@e_alliance).

Together we can increase the visibility and positive impact of the faith-based response to HIV by actively participating in AIDS 2016 – physically in Durban and virtually through all our communication channels.

Please share your news about AIDS 2016 with us – new resources, articles, and activities being planned for AIDS 2016 – which can be added to the website. Send your news to Sara Speicher at

Place a link on your website to, and share the link with your network to highlight coordinated faith-based activities.

If you are on Twitter, use the hashtag #FaithAIDS2016 to share your activities, resources and news.

Participate in the Interfaith Pre-Conference – consider leading a workshop, exhibit materials, or just plan on engaging in the rich networking and learning experience.

Plan on communicating the events and issues at AIDS 2016 through your networks. News releases, blogs, resources, photos and video will be available in advance and during the conference for your use.

Latest news on Faith in Action: AIDS 2016

Interfaith pre-conference

The interfaith pre-conference will be held 16-17 July. The venue will be announced soon, with the goal to have the pre-conference close to the main conference venue so that people can stay in the same accommodation for both.

If you need accommodation, this should be booked through the main conference organizers at

Global and local organizing committees established

The Global Organizing Committee was appointed by the WCC-EAA International Reference Group in January 2016. The GOC plans the Interfaith Pre-Conference and sets the overall direction, priorities, policies and related planning for faith-based activities coordinated and supported by the WCC-EAA.

The Local Host Committee was formed in 2015 and has helped enormously in the initial planning for AIDS 2016. The LOC plans and facilitates the logistical aspects of global faith-based participation in AIDS 2016, including the pre-conference, and facilitates South African-based interfaith input and advocacy during conference.

Committee members are listed at

The WCC-EAA is very grateful for the commitment and willingness of GOC and LHC members to contribute their time and expertise to make faith-based participation at AIDS 2016 meaningful and effective.

Interfaith Prayer Room and Chaplains Programme

The WCC-EAA is working with conference organizers to provide an interfaith prayer room during the main conference. Ten chaplains from different faiths have been selected to lead services and provide pastoral counseling on request.

Ecumenical Media Team

A small, professional communications team will cover faith-based activities and issues at AIDS 2016. Follow the coverage at
If you have any questions, please contact

Nonceba Ravuku (Ecumenical and Interfaith Consultant for AIDS 2016),

Francesca Merico (WCC-EAA HIV Campaign Coordinator),

African Governments Colluding With Land Grabbers

African governments colluding with land-grabbers at the expense of the poor

Scores of Church related Organisations operating in SADC region have criticised the African governments for betraying people by allowing massive land grabbing by foreign multi-national companies. Church leaders and activists from six SADC countries (Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, DRC, South Africa and Angola) who met in Durban from 16 to 18 October singled out national elites and African governments as the major actors in land- grabbing. They felt that lax laws were allowing the rich foreign corporates to displace the poor to pave way for mining, game reserves, golf estates and agricultural activities in pursuit of their own profits. The Durban based Catholic Cardinal Wilfred Napier, who was part of the workshop lamented that the poor people seem to have lost importance in eyes of their governments and the corporates. He said they only gain prominence during election times and are conveniently forgotten immediately thereafter.

One of the common issues which continued to emerge from presentations of participating countries is the governments’ slow pace or reluctance to protect people’s land rights. Most countries experience cases where ordinary people were given short to long term land leases that are subject to cancellations. While in other circles Zimbabwe has been commended for giving land to the poor through its fast track programme, the question of land tenure security is still contentious.

The 30 participants shared experiences showing that tenure systems in all Southern African countries are open to abuse and misuse by political elites, multi-corporates and traditional authorities. In Zambia local communities are being displaced to make way for mining activities, eg Solwezi district.

The participants strongly urged church leaders to redistribute church land and seek experts to offer advice on use of church land for food production and job creation. Bad governance and greed seem to have taken over in the distribution of God’s given natural resources. Speaking during the same land summit Methodist Bishop and Chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council Mike Vorster

called upon the South African government to abandon the willing buyer and willing seller land policy. Bishop Vorster said the policy was trying to balance two contrasting interests of the white landowners and the landless black majority, a situation he described as unworkable. The Church organisations resolved to lobby African governments to depoliticise and de-commodify land. As they plan massive mass mobilisation and campaigns in the entire SADC region, the group appeals to African parliaments to come up with laws that protect land owners, promote land rights and to criminalise massive land grabbing.

For any further inquiries please contact us on the details provided below.

Bishop Mike Vorster

Chairman of KwaZulu Natal Christian Council

072 4773618/0837353003