*Upcoming

Bridging the Divide: Operationalizing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Nexus

Bangkok, Thailand
Millennium Hilton Hotel
February 19, 2020 - February 21, 2020

About the event

The Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) on Reproductive Health in Crisis is excited to host its 18th convening in Bangkok, Thailand. Our meeting will open on the morning of 19 February 2020 and end at 5pm on 21 February 2020. Full days of side events will occur on 17-18 February 2020.

This year’s theme, Bridging the Divide: Operationalizing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Nexus, asks presenters to share findings and lessons learned from working on SRHR at the intersections of the humanitarian, development and peace sectors. The meeting aims to progress beyond rhetoric around the need for interlinkages across sectors in order to inform actionable next steps for the IAWG community.

The meeting has five sub-themes: localization, rights and equity, financing, cross-sectoral collaboration, and sustainability. Learn more about the sub-themes.

Photo by Rattap on Unsplash

Meeting Requirements

Complete the MISP Distance Learning Module

All participants are required to complete the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Module before the IAWG meeting. Please note that this module has been recently revised to align with the 2018 Inter-Agency Field Manual on Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Settings.

The MISP for SRH is a coordinated set of priority activities to be implemented at the onset of every emergency, and the module aims to increase humanitarian and development actors’ knowledge of the priority reproductive health services.

The revised module takes approximately 5-7 hours to complete. Scoring 80% or higher on the post-test will enable you to become certified in the MISP for SRH module. The module and post-test can be accessed here.

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VENUE & ACCOMODATIONS

Venue

Millennium Hilton Bangkok

All three days of our meeting will take place at the Millennium Hilton Bangkok (123 Charoennakorn Road, Klongsan, Bangkok, 10600, Thailand, +66 2 442 2000), which is located in the city center in Bangkok’s riverside district.

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Additional Hotels

In addition to the Millennium Hilton Bangkok (starting at 125 USD per night), the following recommended hotels are within walking distance to the venue. Kindly note that transportation will not be provided from hotels to the conference venue. Also, IAWG is not able to offer special rates for meeting participants. All accommodations are at market rates, so we encourage guests to book early.

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Transportation

Airports

There are two international airports in Bangkok.

Most travelers arriving on international airlines on long-haul flights will arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), which is located approximately 35 kilometers east of Bangkok with a direct highway link and rail connection to the city.

The Don Mueang Airport (DMK) is a smaller airport and handles short-haul flights.

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Taxis

An image with the name and address of the hotel in English and Thai for registrants to share with their taxi drivers.Travelers can hire a taxi at the Suvarnabhumi Airport and expect to be at the venue in approximately 45-60 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. This is the quickest route to the venue. All taxis leaving Suvarnabhumi Airport depart from a public taxi stand. Taxis are required to run the meter for the duration of your ride. There is a 50 THB surcharge on the meter when passengers are picked up at the airport. The taxi fare will likely be about 550 THB, excluding express way fees of 75 THB. Most taxis do not accept credit card and prefer cash payments. For your convenience, please print or save the hotel address in Thai to your phone for your taxi driver.

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Public Buses

There are also public buses and trains available for travelers to reach central Bangkok from the airport. The closest public transit stop is the Saphan Taksin BTS Skytrain Station, where participants can transfer to a complimentary Hilton shuttle boat that will take travelers directly to the hotel’s private pier.

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Rent a Car

Travelers may rent a car at Suvarnabhumi Airport by making a reservation with Avis, Budget, Asap Car Rental, or other car rental agencies.  Drivers must have an international driver’s permit, which must be carried at all times. Drivers should expect congested streets in urban areas, and the conditions of roads in rural areas can vary. Highway signs are mostly in Thai, while English signage marks main tourist destinations.

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Visas

NON-IMMIGRANT VISA

(most participants)

For most participants a non-immigrant visa is recommended. Some consulates issue Non-immigrant B type, while other consulates issue non-immigrant O type. Consult your Thai consulate/Embassy on this matter.

According to the website of Thai Consulate in New York, non-immigrant B will be issued to travelers “participating in an organizational/institutional meeting, training, workshop, etc.” The required documents include:

  1. Original and Copy of passport
  2. Copy of permanent residency card or visa of the country you are applying for Thai visa. For example, if you are not the US citizen but you are applying for the Thai visa at the Thai consulate in New York, please provide the copy of residency card in the US.
  3. Official letter from a company indicating the purpose of a business trip, the name of business party in Thailand, financial responsibility (if applicable) for the applicant’s business trip.
  4. Official letter from a company/organization/institution in Thailand, indicating the purpose of visit, mission, financial responsibility (if application) and address in Thailand
  5. Since UNFPA is not private sector, UNFPA could not provide company registration document, or the name list of shareholders. UNFPA is a UN agency.
  6. Confirmed air tickets and accommodation in Thailand
  7. In case of self-sponsored travel, applicant’s bank statement is required.
  8. Visa fee

Below is a list of selected nationalities with the recommended embassy to apply for a Thai visa:

Nationality Apply for Thai Visa at
Pakistan, Afghanistan Thai Embassy in Islamabad
Mongolia, China, DPRK Thai Embassy in Beijing
Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon Thai Embassy in Riyadh
Israel Thai Embassy in Tel Aviv
Kuwait Thai Embassy in Kuwait
Qatar Thai Embassy in Doha
Iran Thai Embassy in Tehran
Jordan, Iraq, Palestine Thai Embassy in Amman
Oman, Yemen Thai Embassy in Muscat
Bahrain Thai Embassy in Manama
UAE Thai Embassy in Abu Dhabi
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan Thai Embassy in Astana
South Africa, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Angola, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Malawi Thai Embassy in Pretoria
Egypt, Djibouti, Sudan, Etiopia, Eritrea Thai Embassy in Cairo
Senegal, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Gambia, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Togo, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Cape Verde, Liberia, Níger Thai Embassy in Dakar
Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Seychelles, Comoros, Somalia, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo Thai Embassy in Nairobi

It is strongly recommended that you check with your respective Thai Embassy before applying to ensure the most updated information.

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NON-IMMIGRANT VISA REQUIRING PRIOR AUTHORIZATION

(participants from Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea, Libya, Syria, and Yemen)

It should be noted that for certain nationalities – namely, Afghanistan, Iraq, DPRK (North Korea), Libya, Syria, and Yemen – participants must apply for prior authorization to apply for a visa from the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Prior authorization is an internal process within the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs in which Thai officials communicate to their regional embassies that a traveler can apply for a visa; there are no forms or additional paperwork associated with prior authorization. Meeting participants holding these nationalities are then required to apply for a Thai visa at the locations below:

Nationality Apply for Thai Visa at
Afghanistan Thai Embassy in Islamabad
Iraq Thai Embassy in Amman
DPRK Thai Embassy in Beijing
Libya Thai Embassy in Rome
Syria Thai Embassy in Riyadh
Yemen Thai Embassy in Muscat

If meeting participants of the above nationalities are working in other countries, they must provide copies of their residency cards or permits of the country they are residing to explain why they do not want to apply for their visa at the specific Thai Embassy listed above. For example, an applicant who holds a Nepali passport and wishes to apply for Thai visa at the Royal Thai Embassy in Hague must present a residency or permit in the Netherlands to justify the request. A thorough written justification must be provided if you cannot apply at the embassy listed above for any other reason (i.e. security concerns), approved at the discretion of the Thai MFA.

IAWG has partnered with UNFPA and UNDP in Bangkok to process prior authorization on behalf of meeting participants. Upon registration, participants requiring prior authorization will be asked to submit a copy of their passport and make an online payment of 97 USD to cover UN processing fees. Please note that this fee is in addition to any visa application fees.

It generally takes several weeks for prior authorization to be communicated with the Thai embassy/consulate at which you are applying for a visa. (Have questions about prior authorization? Please refer to our FAQ.) It is strongly advised that you wait to apply for your visa until prior authorization is obtained, in order to avoid visa denial and a lengthy reapplication process. As soon as IAWG receives notification that your prior authorization has been accepted, we will inform you immediately. We strongly advise that you prepare your visa application as fully as possible as you wait for your prior authorization notification.

In order to apply for Prior Authorization, you must follow the step-by-step directions below:

  1. Register for the IAWG 2020 meeting
    When you indicate that your nationality (listed above) requires prior authorization, you will receive a follow-up email from “iawg-meeting@wrcommission.org” that will ask you to upload and submit two documents:

    1. A scanned copy of your passport (face page only)
    2. Confirmation email that you have paid $97.00 for processing costs (please see step #2 for more)
  2. Make a payment of $97.00
    This payment can only be made via credit card; other forms of payment cannot be accepted. This fee covers processing costs that UNDP incurs in securing your prior authorization. This is not a visa fee, and there may be other fees association with getting your visa application.
  3. Wait several weeks for your prior authorization to be issued.
    We recommend that, while you wait, you should prepare your application as fully as possible so that, when prior authorization is received, you can apply immediately.
  4. When you receive prior authorization, you will get an email from “iawg-meeting@wrcommission.org” providing you with your official letter of invitation and an administrative note, which you can then use to submit your official visa application as soon as possible.
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VISA EXEMPTION & VISA ON ARRIVAL (VOA)

For participants who are extending their stay before or after the meeting for tourism purposes, there are several nationalities who may be able to obtain a visa exemption or visa on arrival. To check the nationality of passport holders who could obtain visa exemption and visa on arrival, please visit this link.

**Please note that we advise all meeting participants to obtain a non-immigrant visa, but ultimately the type of visa you apply for is at your own discretion.

Exemption

Applicants must have a confirmed return ticket to show that they are flying out of Thailand within 30 days of entry, as appropriate. Open tickets do not qualify.

You may be asked to show your flight ticket upon entering Thailand. If you do not possess a flight ticket to show you will be exiting Thailand within 30 days of entry, you will be most likely refused entry.

It will also be necessary to prove that you have funds of at least 10,000 THB per person during your stay in Thailand.

Visa On Arrival

Foreign visitors to Thailand traveling with passports issued by the following countries may apply for Visa on Arrival: Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

These visitors will be permitted to stay in Thailand for a maximum of 15 days. Extension of stay is not permitted. The visitors are required to submit:

  • Proof if confirmed onward tickets showing 15 days or less
  • One passport-size photograph (2” x 2”) full-face view, taken within six months
  • Visa fee of 1,000 Baht to be paid at the immigration checkpoints. Foreign currencies are not accepted.

Travelers can apply for their visa on arrival online at this link.

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HEALTH INFORMATION

Vaccinations

Thailand does not require health vaccinations upon entry. It is recommended that you visit the CDC’s Health Information for Travel in Thailand for further guidance and information about health-related considerations before you travel.

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Immunizations

You may be asked to produce history of immunizations for smallpox, cholera, and yellow fever if you’re coming from a known infected area listed below.

Angola

Benin

Bolivia

Brazil

Burkina Faso

Burundi

Cameroon

Central African Republic

Chad

Colombia

Congo

Congo Republic

Cote d’ Ivore

Ecuador

Equatorial Guinea

Ethiopia

French-Guiana

Gabon

Gambia

Ghana

Guinea-Bissau

Guinea

Guyana

Kenya

Liberia

Mali

Mauritania

Niger

Nigeria

Panama

Peru

Rwanda

Sao Tome & Principe

Senegal

Sierra Leone

Somalia

Sudan

Suriname

Tanzania

Togo

Trinidad and Tobago

Uganda

Venezuela

Argentina

Paraguay

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CURRENCY & BANKING

Currency

The currency in Thailand is the Thai Baht (THB), often expressed as ฿. Coins are available in 1, 2, 5, and 10 baht denominations. Bills are valued at 20, 50, 100, and 1,000 baht. Baht can be broken down in satang, though this is an increasingly rare currency type.

 

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ATMS & Exchange Rates

Travelers can withdraw baht from ATMs, which are readily available in Thailand and typically accept foreign cards. The banks and currency exchange centers usually accept traveler’s checks as well and often have higher exchange and withdrawal fees. Please communicate your travel plans to your bank to avoid fraud alerts.

Below are exchange rates, as of 12 November 2019. For up-to-date conversion rates, please consult OANDA.

  • 1 Euro = 33.43 THB
  • 1 Nigerian Nita = .08 THB
  • 1 Bangladeshi Taka = .35 THB
  • 1 U.S. Dollar = 30.30 THB
  • 1 Yemeni Rial = .12 THB
  • 1 Great British Pound = 38.88 THB
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Cash & Tipping

Cash transactions should be expected when paying for taxis, shopping in markets, and travelling outside of Bangkok. Most hotels and restaurants in Thai cities accept credit cards.

Tipping is not customary in Thailand. If there is a service charge, it will most likely be added to your transaction total.

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CULTURE & CLIMATE

Weather

Thailand is a tropical country with a warm and humid climate throughout the year.

February is considered the end of “winter” in Thailand and one of the mildest parts of the year. The average high is 33oC (91oF), and the average low hovers around 23oC (73oF). The sun shines for at least eight hours per day. Rainfall is minimal, as February begins the dry season.

Clothing that protects from sun exposure and a passing rain shower are recommended. Additionally, the conference spaces at the Millennium Bangkok Hotel are well air-conditioned, so you may want to pack a sweater or light jacket for meeting rooms.

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Language

Thai is the country’s official language and is spoken by most people in Thailand. Occasionally, the Thai language also referred to as the Siamese Language. There are countless regional accents and dialects of the Thai language.

Please see below for some important phrases that might be helpful for your travels.

Sawatdee (krub/kah)                         Hello

Sabai dee ru (krub/kah)                     How are you?

Sabai dee (krub/kah)                          Fine

Khob Khun (kup/kaa)                          Thank you

Chai                                                        Yes

Mai chai                                                 No

Mai pen rai                                           Never mind

Pood Thai mai dai.                              I cannot speak Thai.

Kow jai mai.                                         Do you understand?

Mai kow jai.                                          I do not understand.

Nee Tao Rai?                                        How much?

Pang                                                       Expensive

Took                                                       Cheap

Naam                                                     Water

Sanaam bin                                           Airport

Hong naam                                           Toilet

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International Dialing

The international dialing code for Thai number is +66. To make calls to/from Thailand, dial your exit country code, “+66,” the area code, and the number you’d like to reach.

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Dress Code & Customs

We ask that participants are respectful of Thailand’s customs, traditions, and religious cultures and plan to dress accordingly. Business casual wear is appropriate during conference events. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended, as much of Bangkok’s sites can be explored on foot.

If you plan to visit temples, it is recommended to wear full-length jeans or clothing that is fitted loosely. Temple sarongs are often available for visitors to wear over their clothes.

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Security

In general, Bangkok is deemed a “safe” city.  Bangkok is a large, bustling, and often congested cities that is not immune from crimes of opportunity, including pick-pocketing and bag snatching. Be mindful of your belongings, when you go to crowded area such as local market.

Both cars and motorbikes are commonly used as taxis in Bangkok’s congested streets. Though motorbike taxis are faster than cars, it is not recommended to use motorbike taxi due to danger concerns.

If you need information and/or guidance from locals, the hotel concierge can provide support.

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AGENDA

Draft Agenda

We are currently working in the draft of the Meeting agenda. The tentative schedule will be shared as soon as possible.

A detailed, finalized agenda will be circulated by January 2020. This agenda will include the full schedule of side events, which will be held on 17-18 February 2020.

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FAQs

How can I acquire my official invitation letter?

Your personalized, official invitation letter will be issued alongside the administrative and logistics notes one business day after you register for General Admission.

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How do I get from the airport to the hotel?

We recommend that participants take a local taxi, which should take 45-60 minutes and cost around 550 THB excluding expressway fees. Public transportation is also available. Additional information can be found in the “Transportation” section above.

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Does IAWG have a room block?

Unfortunately, we are not offering special block rates at any accommodation locations in downtown Bangkok. All accommodations are at market rates, so we recommend booking hotel accommodations early. In addition to the Millennium Hilton Bangkok (starting at 125 USD per night), the following recommended hotels are within walking distance to the venue:

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Will there be shuttles from my hotel to the IAWG conference venue?

Unfortunately, we are unable to offer transportation from nearby hotels to the conference venue. We have provided a list of hotels within walking distance of the venue and/or accessible by public transit and taxis.

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What is prior authorization for my non-immigrant visa?

Participants from Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea, Libya, Syria, and Yemen require prior authorization. Prior authorization is an internal process within the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs in which Thai officials communicate to their regional embassies that a traveler can apply for a visa; there are no forms or additional paperwork associated with prior authorization.

When you register for General Admission for the meeting, you will be prompted to initiative the prior authorization process, which the IAWG team will help with.

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What translation services will be available at the meeting?

The meeting will be conducted in English. Simultaneous translation will be available in French.

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Can I receive a copy of the agenda?

We are currently drafting the meeting agenda for both main and side events. A finalized agenda will be shared in January 2020.

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