Special call for grant applications for pilot activities responding to local needs arising from the COVID-19

The European Youth Foundation (EYF) is launching a special call for local or national youth organisations that are looking for funding for activities which respond to local needs arising from the COVID-19 crisis.

You can apply for the EYF pilot activity grants. Priority will be given to pilot activities that aim at demonstrating solidarity and support to all persons affected by the COVID-19 crisis, such as:

  • Reaching out to and supporting particularly vulnerable groups of people, including homeless, refugees and asylum-seekers, people with disabilities, people living in isolation or in remote communities;
  • Support to health, social and educational services;
  • Education and awareness-raising of the importance of human rights in responses to COVID-19 crisis.

All pilot activities must respect the sanitary and safety measures put in place by the competent authorities at national and/or local level. Further, applicant youth organisations are strongly encouraged to co-ordinate their activities with the competent authorities and to indicate such in their project proposal.

The maximum EYF grant to a pilot activity is €10 000. The next cut-off date will be 10 May, but COVID-19 related applications may be submitted throughout 2020. Subsequent cut-off dates will be defined later in 2020, and include June and September, to allow for the processing of applications and decisions on grants.

Youth organisations can submit applications only if they are registered with the EYF. The instructions and criteria for registration can be found here>>>.

Information on the procedure and criteria for application can be found on the EYF website following this link>>>.

Mini-European Web Survey on Drugs

In order to investigate and rapidly document the current impact of the COVID-19 epidemics and national responses in the EU Member States on changes in patterns of drug use, harms and service provision, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is carrying out a study using an adapted version of the trendspotter methodology across EU Member States, of which this survey on Impact of COVID-19 on patterns of drug use, harms and drug services in the European Union forms a part. The Mini European Web Survey on Drugs: COVID-19 is part of this snapshot and is being conducted across Europe. The aim is to gather information about how patterns of drug use may have changed in Europe due to COVID-19.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 across Europe and subsequent national responses to contain and mitigate the epidemic (self-isolation, quarantine, confinement, lockdowns), information has emerged about unprecedented challenges for services providing care to people who use drugs in the community and in prisons. Anecdotal information also indicates that there may have be changes in drug use patterns and in how people are obtaining their drugs. Understanding and sharing information on the consequences of COVID-19 and national response measures on harms deriving from the lack of access to care and how services have adapted as a response may help services improve their responses.

The information collected is entirely confidential and will be kept safely. The questionnaire is also anonymous – although there are a few broad questions about general situation to help understand how different groups of people who use drugs have been affected by the COVID-19 restrictions and how services have responded in different parts of Europe. This will help the sharing of good practice and improved preparedness in the future.

To contribute to the survey, follow this link>>>

COVID-19 crisis’ Impact on PLHIV and on Communities Most Affected by HIV

Concerns have been raised about the various implications the COVID-19 pandemic can have for people living with HIV and different communities affected by HIV, as well as for healthcare systems. There are also opportunities and solutions to be found. The European AIDS Treatment Group, as a network of people living with and affected by HIV and partners in Europe and Central Asia, supports community reporting and exchange between members and partners to support mutual learning and advocacy at local or European levels.

This rapid assessment aims to document in a structured manner the perceptions of people living with and affected by HIV and that of organisations providing services to affected communities about the way in which COVID-19 impacts their health, well-being and access to HIV related prevention, treatment and care. This assessment has its limitations and biases (little time to develop the tool, questionnaire only available online and only in English, limited time the survey was open). Nonetheless, this rapid assessment provides a snapshot of information, concerns and solutions shared by respondents in several countries during the week of 27 March to 3 April 2020.

Respondents include those from Romania, Albania, Slovenia and Greece.

The rapid assessment is available following this link>>>


Social Security Protocol for Civil Society

CIVICUS – a global alliance of civil society organisations and activists dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society throughout the world, published “Protecting our co-workers during COVID-19: A Social Security Protocol for Civil Society”. It includes a set of social protection measures that civil society organisations can consider to protect our colleagues from the adverse economic and psychosocial consequences of the pandemic.

Based on the International Labours Organisation’s policy framework to fight coronavirus, the six-point protocol provides a shared template for civil society groups to deliberate context-specific measures and adopt feasible actions in a time-bound and transparent manner. The proposed measures are:

  1. Systems to ensure physical distancing and other precautions.
  2. Support for COVID-19 testing and related treatment.
  3. Protection of jobs and pay across the COVID-19 lockdown and escalation period.
  4. Flexibility and support for home and care related responsibilities.
  5. Extending our community of care to our collaborators and constituencies.
  6. Acting in solidarity with workers and other vulnerable communities.

DPNSEE have signed the Protocol.

Should your organisation like to do the same, find the Protocol following this link>>>


AIDS 2020 goes virtual

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 23rd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2020), to be held on 6 – 10 July 2020, will become the first virtual edition of the International AIDS Conference because the health and safeguarding of our community is our highest priority.

AIDS 2020: Virtual will enable delegates to access and engage with the latest HIV science, advocacy and knowledge traditionally presented at the conference. It will be a combination of virtual sessions and community networking, including exhibitions, workshops, the Global Village, satellites and pre-conferences, that will reach audiences around the world.

The decision was informed by advice from the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, leading global and local health authorities and people living with HIV around the globe. In particular, organisers are acutely aware that there is not yet sufficient data on whether people living with HIV are more susceptible to COVID-19 or more likely to develop severe disease. Therefore, there is a special obligation to reduce any potential risk to the HIV community.

The theme of this year’s conference is Resilience and there is no better word to describe the HIV community and its ability to come together in a shared commitment to the global HIV response.

Registered delegates will be contacted directly in due course with further information on the new, reduced pricing structure. Details about the virtual programme will be shared in the coming weeks.

Follow the conference website for more information.


Global Fund allocation of additional funding

The Global Fund Board has approved in February additional funding for portfolio optimization, funded from the Register of Unfunded Quality Demand (UQD), in the amounts of 135.666,553 USD and 25.693.664 €, for 28 grants in 23 countries. The funds come from 650 million USD approved by the Audit and Finance Committee for portfolio optimization to fund high-impact interventions from the Register of Unfunded Quality Demand, linked to grants in the 2017 – 2019 funding cycle. The additional amounts will be integrated into the 28 existing grants through grant revisions that increase each grant’s upper-ceiling amount.

Also, The Global Fund Board has approved the Secretariat’s recommendation to allocate 43,3 million USD in additional funding to several countries and grants including Kosovo (HIV/AIDS). These additional funds come mostly from unutilized funds within grants, often because of countries’ lower-than anticipated rate of funds’ absorption. In addition to previously approved program budget of 1.445.502 €, recommended additional funding is for 112.010 €.

The additional 112,010 will support Kosovo’s HIV grant, specifically activities to reduce human rights-related barriers to HIV services, community responses, and systems for social mobilization, building community linkages, collaboration, and coordination. These funds will also pay for capacity building for community health workers.

The Principal Recipient for Kosovo is the Community Development Fund.

Special issue on the state of harm reduction in Europe

In collaboration with Correlation – European Harm Reduction Network and the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA), the Harm Reduction Journal is planning a special thematic series on the state of harm reduction in Europe, to be launched at the 5th European Harm Reduction Conference in Prague, 4-6 November 2020.

Partners are seeking submission especially of articles reporting on contemporary research findings, but also commentaries on aspects of harm reduction policy and programming – anywhere regionally or locally in broader Europe, and on any issue to which the harm reduction approach is relevant.

Please see the Call for Papers in this link: https://www.biomedcentral.com/collections/HR-Europe2020 and please pass this Call on to your colleagues and networks who may be interested in submitting an article for consideration for publication.

Rome Consensus for Humanitarian Drug Policy

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Partnership on Substance Abuse, co-sponsored by the Government of Italy, UNODC, WHO, in cooperation with the Levenson Foundation, the C4 Recovery Foundation, PTACC and the Villa Maraini Foundation, has launched the Manifesto “Rome Consensus 2.0 towards a humanitarian drug policy” at the 63a CND at UNODC in Vienna.

The Manifesto wants to promote universal access to treatment and care, as well as alternative measures to criminal justice for people who use drugs. The aim is to address the drug problems at all levels by giving emphasis to a humane attitude in support of people with drug disorders. The primary objective of humanitarian aid and approach is to save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain human dignity.

The Rome Consensus 2.0 is available following this link>>>

To sign the Rome Consensus 2.0 please visit following link>>>

People with drug use disorders maybe particularly vulnerable to COVID-19

The UNODC Prevention Treatment Rehabilitation Section published Suggestions about treatment, care and rehabilitation of people with drug use disorder in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic – A contribution to the health security of countries and communities. The document underlines that it is crucial to ensure drug treatment, care and rehabilitation services for people who use drugs and people with drug use disorders continue in the time of coronavirus outbreak. It is the key not only to protect the health of vulnerable populations, but also key to security and stability.

UNODC suggests that Member States and drug treatment, care and rehabilitation systems and services develop plans to ensure continuity of care for people who use drugs and people with drug use disorders, bearing in mind the following issues:

  • Address continued access to the services
  • Address the safety of the staff and the patients at the services
  • Make sure the premises of the services are clean and hygienic
  • Provide people with information on and means to protect themselves at every possible occasion
  • Continuity of low-threshold services
  • Continuity of pharmacological therapy
  • Support homeless people, including people with drug use disorders
  • Under no condition should a person be denied access to health care based on the fact that they use drugs!

To read the document follow this link>>>

COVID-19 and people who use drugs

What specific risks are people who use drugs (PWUD) likely to face during the COVID-19 pandemic? What services will they need? How will professionals working with this group adapt on the frontline? These are among the questions raised and answered in a new EMCDDA briefing.

The briefing offers information about:

  • Context – the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) in the EU
  • What are the particular risks for people who use drugs (PWUD) during the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Underlying chronic medical conditions are associated with some forms of drug use and increase the risk of developing severe illnesses
  • The risk of drug overdose may be increased among PWUD who are infected with COVID-19
  • Sharing drug-using equipment may increase the risk of infection
  • Crowded environments increase the risk of exposure to COVID-19
  • Risks of disruption in access to drug services, clean drug-using equipment and vital medications
  • Implementing prevention measures against transmission of COVID-19 in settings used by PWUD
  • Guaranteeing continuity of care during the pandemic
  • Ensuring service continuity
  • Service provider protection during the pandemic – important interventions to consider

The briefing is available at the EMCDDA website following this link>>>