A challenge to connect and coordinate efforts in fighting HIV/AIDS

skoplje-1

The FYRO Macedonia Country Coordinating Mechanism hosted the South East Europe High Level HIV
Regional Meeting on 1 and 2 December 2016 in Skopje in partnership with local NGOs H.E.R.A. and
Stronger Together and supported by AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

The objective of the meeting was to establish a regional platform in South East Europe from countries that
are receiving and transiting from Global Fund to advocate for HIV sustainability beyond Global Fund
projects both at national and regional level. Countries in the South East Europe expected to be part of the
regional platform are: Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Bulgaria
and Romania. Representatives of all these countries participated except Albania.

Besides country representatives, participants at the meeting included Vice-Chair and two Board members
and Focal Points of the Global Fund, representatives of the Open Society Foundations from New York and
local, several international organisations operating in the country (UNFPS, USAID, WHO, UNICEF), HIV and tuberculosis unit in the national Ministry of Health and local NGOs.

This was the first regional meeting of the CCM representatives. It was initiated to coordinate actions in a
very difficult situation when South East Europe is the only region which haven’t EECA region didn’t meet the Millennium Development Goal 6 related to HIV/AIDS. Question hard to answer is: Is it possible to end the HIV epidemic in SEE countries with current domestic and international investments? That is why the
Government investments of in HIV response and funding CSOs programs for key populations are important but not enough.

The Global Fund has 272 million USD for multi-country actions and 50 million USD for fighting HIV in
countries in transition. The decision on funding the projects in the next three years will be announced on 15 December!

The Open Society Foundations created their Safety Net mechanism for safeguarding services for key
population in countries where Global Fund is not providing funds any more. From actions eligible for these
funds, advocacy and accreditation are especially interesting for DPNSEE.

The meeting once again emphasized involvement of community and civil society organization in the HIV
regional dialogue. Unfortunately, there were no high level governmental representatives although it was
the idea of the organisers.

Working part of the meeting was dedicated to formulating the SEE Regional Coordinating Mechanism
Governance Manuel: Mission, common goals, objectives and outcomes, members, regional meetings,
activities as part of the 2017 working plan. It is important to underline that the RCM does not seek to
duplicate or over-ride the national authority of any CCMs or similar national bodies. Rather, through good
coordination among different regional stakeholders, it can and will amplify the work of national CCMs.

The participants agreed to delegate to Macedonian CCM responsibility to confirm all the members of RCM,
and complete the full draft of the Governance Manual by 31 January 2017. Permanent RCM Secretariat
office will be established by the RCM on the basis of an open, transparent and competitive process.

Besides the Executive Director, DPNSEE had several member organisations in the national delegations:
Viktorija from Bosnia Herzegovina, HOPS from FYRO Macedonia, Cazas and Juventas from Montenegro and ARAS from Romania. We had a good exchange and cooperated well when discussing the proposals.