US Senate plans increasing the contribution to the Global Fund by 15.6%

One month before the Replenishment Conference to be hosted in Lyon, France, good news came from the US.  Their Senate plans increasing the contribution of this single largest donor of the Global Fund by 15.6%! This is the first increase in six years and the third largest increase since the Global Fund was founded. The Senate included language affirming it anticipates funding at this level through the Global Fund’s 6th Replenishment cycle.

Excerpts from the media release of the Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Today the Senate Appropriations Committee posted the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs fiscal year 2020 funding bill, increasing funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) to $1.56 billion in fiscal year 2020, a 15.6 percent increase from the previous year. The bill is expected to be considered by the full Senate.

The report accompanying the appropriations bill also specified that the Senate Committee anticipates maintaining this appropriation level in fiscal years 2021 and 2022, coinciding with the Global Fund’s Sixth Replenishment cycle:

“The Committee recommends $1,560,000,000 for a U.S. contribution to the Global Fund. In advance of the Global Fund Replenishment Conference in 2019, the Committee anticipates that the United States will pledge not less than this amount for each of the three fiscal years pertaining to the Global Fund’s Sixth Replenishment. The Committee does not support the administration’s proposal to amend the longstanding matching rates for U.S. contributions to the Global Fund and expects the United States to continue to match other donor contributions at a rate of $1 for every $2 received from other donors.”

A $1.56 billion annual appropriation would translate to a $4.68 billion U.S. contribution over the three-year Replenishment cycle, helping the Global Fund meet its goal of at least $14 billion.

Congress has firmly rejected the President’s proposed cuts and affirmed America’s support for the Global Fund and dedication to ending the world’s deadliest infectious diseases.

Over the summer, several countries announced their pledges for the next three years – Germany, Switzerland, Canada, the European Union, Italy, Japan, UK, South Korea, even India. All will increase their contributions. The European countries (and the EU together with the individual countries are the largest contributor to the Global Fund!) in average increase by 15%.

Promotion of tolerance and equality

Combating intolerance and promotion of equality were the topics of the Conference held on 17 September 2019 in Belgrade by the Council of Europe with participants from the Government of Serbia, Parliaments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, France and Serbia, representatives of the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) as well as the representatives of equality bodies, civil society organisations, international organisations and a number of embassies in Serbia.

For the Government of Serbia, the process of EU integration remains a priority with an emphasis on the respect for human rights, rule of law and democracy. The Deputy Prime Minister Ms Zorana Mihajlović highlighted that increase of intolerance among young people and violence in schools needs to be addressed by the joint efforts of the Government, independent bodies and civil society organisations. The Head of Government Office for Human and Minority Rights, Ms Suzana Paunović, emphasised the importance of identifying and sharing good practices in addressing intolerance and promoting equality. In that context, the joint European Union and Council of Europe “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019 – 2022” was recognised as one of the instruments which should boost and facilitate the exchange of good practices among its Beneficiaries.

The Head of Council of Europe Office in Belgrade, Mr Tobias Flessenkemper, highlighted that bringing democratic and pluralist society and respecting equal dignity of all human beings remain the prime objectives for the European societies. Furthermore, he added that today’s gathering allowed to mark the 70th anniversary of the Council of Europe as well as 25 years of ECRI as well as the multiple efforts by the Serbian civil society. He concluded by underlining that Europe’s future demands from individuals and groups will address not only tolerance but also the will to act together, combining their diverse contributions.

The Head of Delegation of the European Union to Serbia, H.E. Ambassador Sem Fabrizi highlighted that intolerance and discrimination are a common challenge. They are widespread not only in Serbia, but in many countries of the world. The situation can be improved and changed only with a strong political will of the authorities to react to any form of intolerance promptly and adequately. In that way, a powerful message would be sent to those denying rights of all people, that such behaviour is not acceptable and would not go unpunished. H.E. Ambassador Jean-Louis Falconi, Embassy of France in Serbia, highlighted that strengthening the rights of Europeans also means emphasising social rights and further linking them to the European Union law.

At her keynote speech, Vice-Chair of the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) Ms Maria Daniella Marouda concluded that in order to effectively combat intolerance and promote equality more must be done to project a positive image of a diverse society and to explain better the advantages stemming therefrom. Openness and tolerance in a society can only be genuine if they are not limited to certain predefined groups but embrace everyone. All persons must be protected against discrimination including those not belonging to national minorities or other vulnerable groups. A fairer society, where respect for difference is acknowledged as normal, is of benefit to all individuals.

The conference Combating Intolerance and Promoting Equality is jointly organised by the Council of Europe Anti-discrimination Department, the Council of Europe’s anti-racism body (the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance – ECRI) and in co-operation with the Serbian Government and the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality under the auspices of the French Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. It is held under the Action Promotion of diversity and equality in Serbia funded through the joint European Union and Council of Europe programme “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019 – 2022”.

At the Conference, DPNSEE Executive Director met and discussed with potential partners, especially Head of Council of Europe Office in Belgrade, representatives of the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy, Deputy Republic Public Prosecutor and colleagues from the civil society sector.

The French Ambassador to Serbia Jean-Louis Falconi invited all participants of the Conference for a reception in the Embassy. That was the opportunity for DPNSEE Vice-President Nebojša Đurasović and Executive Director Milutin Milošević to get introduced to the Ambassador and briefly present him the situation with drug policy and HIV in Serbia. Mr Falconi expressed interest in the issue and promised to keep contacts on the issue.

6-0 Tournament for People Against Addictions

The featured image of this news presents teams of Kethea (Greece) and HOPS (North Macedonia) which, besides sport competition and cooperation in the area of addiction, promote friendship and multi-cultural understanding.

The sixth edition of the 6:0 International People’s Tournament for People Against Addictions was held during the weekend at the Boyana National Football Base of the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU), with participating teams Heart Team, School of Life, Live, HOPS, SVOI, Bilani, Kethea ithaki, Open Eyes, New Beginnings, Remar, Renaissance, Freedom, Solidarity, ON LIFE and KA Sport Jump coming from Bulgaria, Greece, Northern Macedonia, Slovakia, Russia and Ukraine.

The official opening ceremony, held on 13 September, was preceded by a round table with the participation of the Minister of Youth and Sports Krasen Kralev, Deputy Minister of Health Svetlana Yordanova, Deputy BFU Executive Director Anton Popov and representatives of the Sofia Municipality. The round table discussed the problems with dependent behaviour in Bulgaria.

“The fight against youth addiction is a priority topic in the activities of the Ministry of Youth and Sports. One of the main programs of the Ministry with a budget of BGN 2 million a year is the National Program for the implementation of youth activities. In its essence it represents a real counteraction to aggression and all kinds of addictions through the implementation of various preventive activities and the inclusion of sport as a main tool for prevention”, Minister Kralev told the roundtable participants.

Special guests of the tournament are the popular TV presenter, singer and cook Leo Bianchi and former Bulgarian football national Stanislav Angelov. The two will also participate in the event as part of Team Heart.

The project is organized by the Revenche Association and the School for Life Foundation, co-financed by the Municipal Strategy for the Development of Physical Education and Sport of Sofia Municipality and supported by the Sofia – European Capital of Sport initiative.

This event is a citizens’ initiative. The project is organized by specialists with experience in the treatment of addiction who know the problem internally. Since 2015, with the assistance of the Bulgarian Football Union, five tournaments have been held under the common slogan “Not all people are addicts, but all addicts are people!

 

14 September – Sex Worker Pride day

Today is Sex Worker Pride day, a day for sex worker community to celebrate their achievements and share stories of sex workers’ self-determination while honouring the tireless efforts of colleagues everywhere to secure rights and safety for all sex workers. It is an opportunity to celebrate and share stories of sex workers’ self-determination and the achievements of the sex worker rights movement.

After its introduction by the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP), the Sex Worker Pride day becomes the fourth annual key date of the sex workers rights movement. Globally sex workers face many challenges in day to day life. They are being marginalised, stigmatised and stripped from their rights. Their voices are often ignored but they never stop pursuing the rights they desperately need. The sex workers rights movement is powerful with a vibrant and diverse community that has drive and compassion that’s too big to be stopped by the difficulties they are facing.

Sex Worker Pride extends to all marginalised by criminalisation, discrimination and stigma across the sex worker movement and celebrates the diversity within our community during International Sex Worker Pride.

To mark the first Sex Worker Pride day, our colleagues from the Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN), a sex worker-led regional network in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia publishes its Annual Report that shows SWAN’s work in diverse areas in order to achieve our objectives as laid out in our Strategic Plan 2018-2022. We join our members, colleagues and allies in celebrating our never ending passion for creating a better world for sex workers.

This annual report is available in English and Russian.

In Greece, the phrase “Take care of each other” continues to inspire the team of Red Umbrella Athens. A new initiative of the Day Centre and the DPNSEE member organisation Positive Voice Roadmap is the “Before You Enter, Put In” campaign. This is an attempt to sensitize sex studio clients to avoid taking photos or videos in their respective locations without the consent of the people working there. As part of Red Umbrella Athens team visits to sex studios, this issue has often been communicated as a major problem that disrupts their functioning.

 

Organisation STAR-STAR from North Macedonia, the First Sex Workers Collective in the Balkans, released a video to mark the Sex Worker Pride day.

Global Fund Replenishment Conference FAQ

The Global Fund Replenishment Conference that takes place every 3 years. The aim of the conference is to raise funds and mobilize partners in the fight to end AIDS, TB and malaria.

The sixth Replenishment conference will take place on October 10 in Lyon, France at Palais des congrès de Lyon. This is the first time France (the second largest donor to the Fund) is playing host.

The target for the Sixth Replenishment Conference is to collect 14 billion USD over the next 3 years. This is an ambitious target, but the funds would save 16 million lives and prevent 234 million new infections between 2021 and 2023.

If you want to know more, read the FAQ webpage created by RED following this link>>>.

The International Overdose Day marked around SEE

On the occasion of the International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD), DPNSEE issued a press release underlining the importance of awareness and fighting stigma on overdose and presenting data about the issue worldwide and especially in Serbia. The release was published by the national Press agency Tanjug and several other media and portals.

The press release is downloadable following this link>>>

In Montenegro, NGO Juventas also issued a press release (supported by the NGO 4 Life) and held a press conference where Marija Mijović, coordinator of Programme of direct assistance to the people in risk of social exclusion presented situation in the country. A movie “Overdose”, directed by Mladen Vujović, outreach worker at the Drop-in Centre of NGO Juventas, Montenegro in cooperation with the Hungarian Drug reporters, was screened at the Green Montenegro International Film Festval.

Our colleagues from the Romanian Harm Reduction Network created a special video for this year’s IOAD campaign. Have a look at “Voices of the drug users. Episode 1”

Association AREAL and AREALTRIBE group from Slovenia organized a workshop dedicated to the International overdose awareness day on 1 September 2019 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Participants were educated how to respond if an individual finds himself or herself in that position.

Our colleagues from the Healthy Options Skopje (HOPS) promoted widely their webpages related to overdose and drugs

Thousands of people die each year from drug overdose and the fact is, overdose is an increasing global problem. Spreading the message that the tragedy of overdose and injury is preventable, International Overdose Awareness Day raise awareness of overdose and reduces the stigma associated with the drug-related death. Also, the day of awareness is providing support to families and loved ones of overdose victims, so that no one is forgotten.

Time to remember – time to act.

Countries increase their support to the Global Fund

During the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a pledge of €1 billion for the upcoming three-year period, representing a 17.6% increase.

Germany is the fourth-largest donor to the Global Fund. Germany’s investments have helped the Global Fund partnership save more than 27 million lives and reduce deaths from AIDS, TB and malaria by one-third. As a leading voice in global health and development, Germany has advocated the need for international cooperation around global health security, health systems strengthening and antimicrobial resistance. It strongly endorses the need to reduce inequalities in accessing health care, overcoming human rights and gender barriers.

The Global Fund welcomed the government of Italy’s announcement that it will contribute €161 million to the Global Fund over the next three years, as also announced in Biarritz by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. This pledge – representing a 15% increase from Italy’s previous contribution – is a clear demonstration of the country’s commitment to end the epidemics of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

Italy has been a strong supporter of the Global Fund since it was established in 2002. Italy hosted the first meeting of donors to replenish the Global Fund’s resources in Rome in 2005. It has also played a key role in shaping Global Fund’s policies, including advancing human rights, building stronger systems of health and investing in challenging operating environments.

The Swiss Federal Council approved a contribution of CHF64 million to the Global Fund’s Sixth Replenishment. This is the highest contribution ever granted by Switzerland to the Global Fund.

Switzerland shares a seat with Canada and Australia on the Global Fund Board. With this representation, Switzerland plays a key role in initiating and shaping discussions on issues such as embedding the fight against the three diseases in the broader universal health coverage agenda, strengthening Country Coordinating Mechanisms, and promoting the role of civil society and the provision of health services to vulnerable and marginalized populations.

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France will host the Global Fund’s Sixth Replenishment pledging conference in Lyon 9 – 10 October 2019. The Global Fund seeks to raise at least US$14 billion for the next three years to help save 16 million lives, cut the mortality rate from HIV, TB and malaria in half, and build stronger health systems by 2023.

The Global Fund Replenishment Conference aims to further mobilize efforts to end the epidemics of three of the world’s most devastating diseases by 2030, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

EPALE’s thematic focus on social inclusion of vulnerable groups

EPALE (Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe) is a European, multilingual, open membership community of adult learning professionals, including adult educators and trainers, guidance and support staff, researchers and academics, and policymakers. EPALE is funded by the Erasmus+ programme. It is part of the European Union’s strategy to promote more and better learning opportunities for all adults.

Over the last decade, social exclusion and disengagement of adults have been among the most significant concerns faced by EU countries. There is a growing number of people suffering from the various effects of the unstable social, economic and political situations affecting Europe and its neighbouring countries. Some adults are particularly at risk of being excluded and marginalised, for example those with health or learning difficulties, early school leavers, members of ethnic minority groups, homeless people, or refugees and migrants.

EPALE believes that the European adult education systems have the potential to meet these adults’ specific educational needs and change people’s lives for the better. They opened two thematic pages dedicated to social inclusion of vulnerable groups: Social inclusion and Barriers to learning where the community and the national teams have gathered interesting articles, useful resources and case studies on the topic (content varies based on your language preference).

Our new website

DPNSEE Office team is proud to present our new website. This is a result of a great work of our colleagues Snežana and Nenad and expert work from Vuk Ninić from STANDARD-E.

Besides visual and improvements in organisation of the site, we updated two important services and made them easily available.

At the Resource Centre, you can currently search through more than 360 documents classified in 7 categories, from 12 countries of the region (including even Turkey) and international, on 11 languages. Thank you once again to our recent volunteer Marija Spasić and Staff members Irena Molnar and Nenad Maletin for compiling such a comprehensive collection of documents and Nenad again for making it available for web search and download.

The pages for the Glossary of terms used in drug policy currently provide you with the on-line versions of the Glossary in English and Serbian. We are in process of uploading the versions in Spanish, Bosnian and Montenegrin and connecting them to establish relations between terms in different languages. PDF versions are already available from the website. Thank you to our recent volunteer Vladana Stepanović for collecting most of the terms and many other colleagues who helped with additions and translations.

Two more new pages are also in the current version – those for DPNSEE Projects and Publications.

We hope that you shall like, use, link and promote our website. Also, we welcome all your comments which can be of help to making this website useful.

We would very much appreciate your suggestions for new terms for the Glossary (or improved texts for existing terms) and documents for the Resource Centre (or information about new versions of the existing documents).

Most of SEE countries are not in risk of money laundering and terrorist financing

Published by the Basel Institute on Governance since 2012, the Basel AML Index is an independent annual ranking that assesses the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing around the world. It measures the risk using data from publicly available sources such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Transparency International, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum.

A total of 15 indicators of countries’ adherence to anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism regulations, levels of corruption, financial standards, political disclosure and the rule of law are aggregated into one overall risk score. By combining these data sources, the overall risk score represents a holistic assessment addressing structural as well as functional elements of the country’s resilience.

The scores are aggregated as a composite index using a qualitative and expert-based assessment in order to form the final country ranking. They should be read in conjunction with the analysis and descriptions of the methodology and indicators in the rest of the report. Without this background, the results may easily be misunderstood or misrepresented, and this may have unwanted consequences for any policy or compliance decision that is taken as a result.

The Basel AML Index does not measure the actual amount of money laundering or terrorist financing activity, but rather is designed to assess the risk of such activity. The risk is understood as a broad risk area in relation to a country’s vulnerability to money laundering and terrorist financing and its capacities to counter it.

The Basel AML Index ranks countries based on their overall scores, capturing the complex global nature of risks and providing useful data for comparative purposes. However, the primary objective is not to rank countries superficially in comparison with each other, but to provide an overall picture of different countries’ risk levels and serve as a solid basis for examining progress over time.

More countries showed slight improvements in their risk scores in 2019 than last year, but there have been no substantial changes indicating significant progress in tackling money laundering and terrorist financing. This confirms the general trend visible over the eight years since the Basel AML Index was first calculated: most countries are slow to improve their resilience against these risks. Improvements are minor – between 2018 and 2019, 27% of countries listed in the Public Edition (34/125) improved their scores by more than 0.1 point.

60% of countries in the 2019 Public Edition ranking (74/125) have a risk score of 5.0 or above and can be loosely classified as having a significant risk. This compares with 64% in 2018. The mean average level of risk, though marginally better than 2018, remains above this (5.39 in 2019 compared to 5.63 in 2018).

Most countries of South East Europe fall into the category of countries with low risk. North Macedonia holds high 3rd place with risk of only 3,22, followed by 5th Bulgaria with 3,51, 6th Slovenia, 7th Croatia and 10th Montenegro with 3,7, 3,82 and 3,94. Greece with 4,56 and Romania with 4,76 experience moderate risk, while the countries with significant risk of money laundering and terrorist financing include Bosnia Herzegovina with 4,76, Albania with 6, Turkey with 6,19 and Serbia with 6,33 which is the highest risk of all countries of Europe and Central Asia!