13 December 2012

African CSOs Call for More Meaningful Engagement of Civil Society


Letter sent to Mark Dybul, incoming Executive Director of the Global Fund

CSOs are developing an advocacy road map

A group of 19 civil society organisations (CSOs) from Africa have written to Mark Dybul, incoming Executive Director of the Global Fund, urging him and the Fund to provide a strategy to "once again" meaningfully engage civil society in the work of the Fund. The CSOs maintain that in the past year there has been a "dearth of response to civil society spurred on by all of the structural changes" at the Fund.

Representatives of the CSOs met in Nairobi, Kenya on 27-28 November to discuss Global Fund-related issues.

In the letter to Dr Dybul, the CSOs also called on the Global Fund to provide capacity building for civil society "to understand the new funding model (NFM)" and to allow civil society to more effectively participate in implementation of the NFM at country level.

In addition, the letter expressed concern about the disbanding of the Pharmaceutical Management Unit as part of the recent reorganisation of the Global Fund Secretariat. The CSOs asked Dr Dybul to explain what the implications of this change are for the amount of money allocated by the Fund for the purchase of medicines.

The CSOs also urged Dr Dybul and the Global Fund to be more vocal in condemning human rights violations and discrimination against most-at-risk populations (MARPS). The letter stated that on the African continent, MARPS face a continuous barrier to accessing health services "amongst a range of other human rights violations."

The CSOs said they will remain "the Global Fund's strongest Allies," but "we will not waiver in our constructive critique when at times the Global Fund appears to be misguided in decisions that affect all of our lives."

At the meeting in Nairobi, the CSOs began working on an advocacy road map. Rukia Cornelius, of the World AIDS Campaign, informed GFO that the road map is still under development. Mr Cornelius also said that although Dr Dybul is not expected to assume his new responsibilities as Executive Director until February 2013, he is already meeting with representatives of CSOs and networks of key populations.

The 19 organisations that signed the letter to Dr Dybul are: African Council of AIDS Service Organisations (AfriCASO); African Union Youth Expert Panel; Alliance for Community Action for HIV/AIDS in Zambia (Alliance Zambia); Central Africa Treatment Action Group (CATAG); Communication for Development Centre; Eastern Africa National Networks of AIDS Service Organizations (EANNASO); Evolve Cameroon; Global Youth Coalition on HIV and AIDS (Africa Region); International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (Africa Region); International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (Africa Region); Journalists Against AIDS (JAAIDS); Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium (KANCO); Network for African People Living With HIV and AIDS in Southern Africa (NAPSAR+); Pan African Treatment Campaign (PATAM); Southern Africa Regional Programme on Access to Medicines and Diagnostics (SARPAM); Southern Africa AIDS Information Dissemination Services (SafAIDS); TB ACTION Group; West Africa Treatment Action Group (WATAG); and World AIDS Campaign International.

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