The biannual face-to-face meeting of the EU HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis and Tuberculosis Civil Society Forum (CSF) took place on 17-18 June in Luxembourg. The forum has been established by the European Commission to facilitate the participation of European NGOs in policy development and implementation, as well as in information exchange activities. Initially established as a forum for HIV/AIDS civil society, in 2017 the EU Civil Society Forum was extended to include hepatitis and tuberculosis NGOs, which allowed TBEC to formally become a CSF member.

During the meeting, CSF members, including TBEC, provided updates on their work and discussed upcoming opportunities and challenges. TBEC also facilitated several sessions focused on political advocacy towards the EU.

Since the last meeting in November 2018, the EU Civil Society Forum has been involved in a variety of advocacy activities. The Advocacy and Policy Working Group, coordinated by TBEC Board member Marine Ejuryan, has particularly focused its activities on ensuring that health is prioritised in the next EU long-term budget, the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF), as well as making sure that health stays high on the agenda of the new EU Commission and Parliament after the EU elections in May.

During the meeting, CSF members agreed on the upcoming advocacy activities, which, among others, will focus on targeting the new EU Parliament and the Commission to ensure the health budget is increased in the European Social Fund Plus  (ESF+, the successor of the Health Programme) during the inter-institutional negotiations and that the EU adopts ambitious political leadership for a sustainable regional response to the fight against HIV/AIDS, TB and hepatitis in Europe.

The transition from the Global Fund and other international donors’ support for the three diseases in the WHO Euro region and the sustainability of funding was another key point of discussion at the CSF meeting. Some of the agreed advocacy activities include, among others, preparation of a short brief on the challenges of service delivery due to transition in the EU and candidate countries, and advocacy meetings with the European Commission officials to discuss sustainability of funding.

The next EU CSF meeting will take place in November 2019. The mandate of the CSF will be renewed next year, when a call for application to become new CSF members will be issued. TBEC secretariat will circulate the call among TBEC members to make sure more TB civil society organisations are part of the next CSF to raise the problems related to the TB response in the region on the CSF agenda.

The CSF meeting agenda can be found here. The presentations are available here. A list of recent and upcoming events that may be of interest to organisations and activists working on TB, HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis can be found here (assorted events) and here (policy related conferences).

If you are interested in knowing more about the CSF, please contact us at coordinator@tbcoalition.eu.


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