A statement for partnership on addressing corruption in SEE

On 1 February 2019, the UNODC Civil Society Team (CST) organized a follow-up meeting to draft on an outcome document which affirms the fundamental importance of active participation of individuals and groups outside the public sector in the prevention of and the fight against corruption and raising public awareness regarding the existence, causes and gravity of and the threat posed by corruption. This event resulted from previous collaborations throughout the three multi-stakeholder workshops on the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and its Review Mechanism. The meeting brought together ten civil society representatives (including DPNSEE member organisation Cazas) and six private sector actors from the region, namely Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo* as well as partners from the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative, the UNCAC Coalition and the Southeast Europe Leadership for Development and Integrity (SELDI) Network.

The outcome statement Belgrade Outcome Statement spells out concrete and practical steps towards a strengthened cooperation in the areas of training and knowledge, implementation of UNCAC and its Review Mechanism and collective action. This document has been endorsed by the contributors and remains open for additional endorsements. Over the past few months there has been an increase in endorsements across South Eastern Europe.

The Statement is not intended to have legal force and will not be legally binding on the participants or their organizations, except to the extent voluntarily agreed to by the participants, their organizations, or any other signatories or parties signing on to the Statement. Involvement in the creation, finalization, and implementation of the principles or action items of this Statement are on a voluntarily basis.

The UNODC Civil Society Team intends to organize a side event at the eighth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption in Abu Dhabi, on 16-20 December 2019, which is seen as the next opportunity to engage some new stakeholders in order to showcase the statement and the work that goes with it.

In order for to add the name of your organization to the Statement document that features on the UNODC website, please an email confirming endorsement to unodc-ngounit@un.org.

To read the Statement follow this link>>>

Great activities in Montenegro for the “Support. Don’t Punish“ campaign

NGO Juventas coordinated activities of the “Support. Don’t Punish“ campaign in 2019 together with several other partner organisations from Montenegro. The campaign was focused on raising awareness about human rights of people who use drugs.

The campaign started on 17 June when a short video material was created, continued with social media and television campaign, open space events and lasted until 5 July with photography exhibition in the local gallery.

The video material, with supportive messages from people in institutions and CSO’s who support our work with people who use drugs, was created, with the support of  Institute for public Health, Medical Centre, NGO Cazas and Juventas Drop-in Centre for people who use and inject drugs.

#STV #Podrži #NeKažnjavaj

?Bez podrške osobama koje koriste droge, samo komplikujemo već tešku situaciju u kojoj se oni nalaze. Danas je droga lako dostupna, pa se borimo da se smanji ponuda, ali se isto tako borimo za kvalitet života svake osobe, koja je pogođena bolestima zavisnosti. #STV #Podrži #NeKažnjavaj ?

Gepostet von Nvo Juventas am Mittwoch, 26. Juni 2019

In Njegošev park, in the city centre of Podgorica, photographs were made for the exhibition, along with colleagues who work in Drop-in centre for people who use drugs, Juventas, NGO Link and clients who wanted to be part of exhibition.

“Stigma towards persons facing diseases of dependency is somewhat reduced, but still exists and it is important to take adequate steps compared to support, reducing damage caused by drug use and empower a person to deal with the dependency problem. It is assessed by the program of direct assistance for persons at risk of social exclusion in Juventas”, emphasized Marija Mijović, visiting national TV show Jutarnji program Dobro Jutro Crna Goro on the occasion of marking the global initiative.  The video material was presented during the program.

The exhibition of the photographs done by local activist was posted at the independence square in Podgorica, where campaign promotional materials were distributed and photo boot was set for people to take photos …

The photos taken during the campaign by professional photographer Marija Jovanović were exposed in the Concept Art Space gallery for a week.

You can see more photos following this link>>>

Montenegro closed the circle

The training for civil society organisations in Montenegro was the third in raw, to complete the serial of trainings organised in the project countries. It was held in Podgorica from 3 to 5 October 2018.

More info coming soon!

Media coverage from the PR Centre is available following this link>>>

Developing a multi-country application for the Global Fund

The South East Europe Regional Coordinating Mechanism (RCM) held the third meeting on 27 February 2018 in Skopje, Macedonia. The aim of the meeting was to agree on elements of the project for the Global Fund’s Multi-country Grant Request for Proposals – HIV: Sustainability of Services for Key Populations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia Region.

The eight countries of South East Europe that are transitioning from Global Fund support to national sources of financing services (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia) welcome Moldova to the RCM.

Participants of the meeting were welcomed by Dr Venko Filipče, Macedonian Minister of Health and Aida Kurtović, Chairperson of the Global Fund Board.

To ensure meaningful consultations within key population, community organizations representatives coming from the key population which RCM would like to cover in the application were invited to a consultative meeting a day before the RCM meeting. Asocijacija Duga from Serbia (working with MSM and Roma community), LGBT Youth Organization DEYSTVIE from Bulgaria (MSM community organization, STAR-STAR from Macedonia (sex workers community) and Asocijacija Doverba from Macedonia (community based organizations of people using drugs) joined the meeting. Two regional networks DPNSEE and ERA participated to. Representatives of our member organisations Margina, Cazas, Juventas and HOPS were among participants.

Specific Objectives of this meeting included:
1. Identify key regional advocacy priorities for 2018 for increasing domestic funds towards sustainability of HIV and tuberculosis programs.
2. Review resource availability and needs, including possibilities for donor-funded initiatives.
3. Map out a regional advocacy plan, for further finalization and adoption by the RCM.

RCM opened discussion if community organisations and networks would take over some of the activities of the project proposed to the Global Fund.

Meetings with the Open Society Foundations representatives

On the margins of the dialogue between civil society and donors, representatives of the Open Society Foundations visited DPNSEE office on 18 January 2018: Daniel Wolfe, director of International Harm Reduction Development, Julia Greenberg, director of Governance and Financing, and Ekaterina Lukicheva, program officer for the International Harm Reduction Development Program (all three from the OSF Public Health Programme) along with Raminta Štuikyte, consultant. Vice-President Nebojša Đurasović, Secretary of the Board Denis Dedajić and Executive Director Milutin Milošević welcomed the distinguished guests.

DPNSEE hosts presented work and potentials of the Network and answered many questions. Guests were especially interested by the fact that DPNSEE gathers member organisations from all SEE countries and that it has a wide approach to the issue, including various elements of drug policy. They underlined that their full withdrawal from the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia is not good so they decided to assign funds to it. In 2017, they already supported two CSO projects in Montenegro with and they still have funds for support to Bosnia Herzegovina, Romania and Serbia which were not distributed, while for 2018 they have planned additional support to the region. Agreement was reached, in principle, that DPNSEE will implement a project on budget advocacy and implementation in Serbia, on local and national level. DPNSEE also proposed such an initiative on the regional level. Discussions about potential cooperation extended throughout the next two days of meetings.

Before the meetings in Belgrade, OSF and GF representatives visited Montenegro to discuss implementation of the two project they finance since 2017 and preparations for the national project application to the Global Fund. Our member organisations Cazas and Juventas were involved in the meetings.

Representatives of Margina and Viktorija had working meetings with both OSF and GF representatives. Result of the meetings is that the same support as the one for Montenegro is proposed for Bosnia Herzegovina, for a similar project adjusted to the structure of the country. Two projects are foreseen: one on accreditation of the harm reduction services in the Republic of Srpska and other on social contracting in the Federation of BH. The trigger for this decision was presentation which Denis had as panellist.

The OSF visit ended with visit to the Drop-in for drug users and Shelter for sex workers in Novi Sad managed by Prevent. The visit was very effective, with excellent presentation of Prevent’s work and very emotional discussion with three sex workers in the Shelter. At the end the guests (including representatives of SWAN and Mama Cash foundation) haven’t made any concrete promise for support but they expressed their willingness to help finding donors. The visit should be used as a model for welcoming donors and convincing them to finance services.

At the Drop-in for drug users

A dialogue between civil society and donors

The Open Society Foundations convened civil society activists from HIV, harm reduction, sex worker and LGBT communities from South Eastern Europe and health and human rights donors to discuss opportunities for strategic collaboration to sustain HIV prevention services for key populations and facilitate transition to domestic financing of these programs. The half-day meeting was held on 18 January 2018 in Belgrade, Serbia.

The aims of the meeting were:

  • Share examples of civil society advocacy towards domestic financing of HIV services, including efforts to push national governments to commit to provision and financing of services for key populations;
  • Discuss current challenges sustaining programming for key populations in the region with a specific focus on the threats to the human rights movements, programs, and advocates that were directly and indirectly supported by the Global Fund when it was still active in the region;
  • Present examples of how targeted donor support for civil society engagement in transition and sustainability process can bolster government ownership of the HIV response;
  • Discuss strategies and opportunities to address the service gap and enable civil society to navigate the transition process, as well as roles that donors, regional networks and technical agencies can play.

DPNSEE member organisations representatives were panellists: Denis from Margina and Dragos from RHRN presenting situation in Bosnia Herzegovina and Romania, Ivana from Juventas presenting the promising case study of Montenegro and Milutin, together with two other networks (ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey and SWAN – Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network) on possibilities for work together to strengthen national and regional advocacy.

Many organisations were at the list of potential invitees. Finally, around 35 CSO participated. Besides DPNSEE, 9 member organisations were present: Aksion Plus, Margina, Viktorija, Labyrinth, Cazas, Juventas, ARAS, RHRN and Prevent.

The meeting was mainly about presenting situation and needs, with not many questions and comments from the floor. Most of the results were achieved in informal exchanges with other participants. Besides OSF and Global Fund representatives, donors included Embassy of France in Serbia, Mama Cash and Reconstruction Women’s Fund (Serbia). Representatives of other Networks included Eurasian Harm Reduction Network and Eurasian coalition on male Health.

Just after the main meeting of the dialogue, an Informal dialogue on LGBTI and HIV in South-Eastern Europe was organised by the ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey. Most of the DPNSEE member organisations participated in the meeting that addressed the current work done, gaps and challenges in collaborating towards protecting LGBTI rights and addressing HIV and needs and opportunities for a regional approach and support of this work.

Representatives of the DPNSEE member organisations at the Dialogue

Regional training on budget advocacy and monitoring

Why is it necessary to advocate for adequate funding of drug use harm reduction programs?
Which changes do we expect to achieve by advocating for adequate funding?

The regional training on budget advocacy and monitoring, held from 21 to 23 December 2017 in the hotel Romantik in Veles, Macedonia, tried to provide answers to these and many other questions. The training was organized by HOPS – Healthy Options, Skopje, with the support of the Foundation Open Society – Macedonia and conducted by experts from The Association for Emancipation, Solidarity and Equality of Women – ESE from Skopje.

The participants of the training gained knowledge that will help in their efforts to obtain financial resources from the state authorities, and covered topics that point out the problems that the organizations are experiencing due to insufficient funds, as well as the activities that the organizations can take to solve them. In addition, the process of budget analysis as a basis for advocating for creation of an effective budget as well as the procedures that are important in the process of monitoring and analysis of budgets were analysed.

11 participants come from six harm reduction civil society organisations from the region who are faced with a lack of funding for their programs after the departure of the Global Fund: Prevent and DPNEE from Serbia, Margina and PROI from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Juventas and Cazas from Montenegro (all members of DPNSEE), and two came from local organisation Becej Youth Association from Bečej, Serbia and Group for Public Policies from Belgrade.

Senior Level Policy Dialogue

The Senior Level Policy Dialogue “Addressing HIV and TB Challenges: from Donor Support to Sustainable Health Systems” was organised in Tallinn, Estonia on 12 and 13 December 2017 as an official event in the programme of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The event, organised by the Ministry of Social Affairs and National Institute for Health Development from Estonia, WHO European Region, UNAIDS, and the Global Fund, brought together representatives of the health and financial ministries of Europe, the Balkan and Eastern Partnership countries, representatives of the European Commission, international organisations, as well as community representatives and institutions involved in funding programmes and offering services to tackle HIV and TB.

In Eastern Europe the fight against HIV and tuberculosis has largely been funded through international organisations (such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria). However, this kind of funding is not sustainable in the long term.

The participants searched for ways to smoothly transition from funding through foreign aid programmes to sustainable state funding. They outlined the best practices, challenges, opportunities and risks related to integrating HIV and TB programmes into a national health system. The discussions included the role and responsibility of various institutions and organisations in stopping the HIV and TB epidemics.

DPNSEE and 4 participating member organisations representatives (Cazas, Juventas, Margina and Viktorija) actively contributed to the meeting, including two panellists who gave a specific insight in the situation of the region. Both the experiences from South East Europe and challenges we face were presented, emphasized and mentioned by many participants. The meeting was also a good opportunity to establish contacts and generate ideas for future cooperation.

Participation of the SEE representatives was made possible by generous support from the Open Society Foundation.

EECA Civil Society Meeting

Preparing for the regional meeting “Addressing HIV and TB Challenges: from Donor Support to Sustainable Health Systems”, civil society organisations from Eastern Europe and Central Asia met on 11 December in Tallinn. Aim of the meeting was to consolidate and build opportunities for cooperation in advocacy efforts of civil society representatives during and after the meeting.

The pre-meeting gathered 14 representatives from civil society and community organisations mainly from South East European countries and regional community networks. Unfortunately because of heavy snow in the departure airports and delayed flights a lot of participants could not join.

There were two main issues of the meeting which of great importance for civil society and communities: transitioning of services to domestic funding and integration of it into the health and social care system.

The structure of the outcome document was presented and discussed. Next week key points from the document could be used for the plenary meeting of the Civil Society Forum of HIV, Hepatitis and Tuberculosis.

Multi-stakeholder workshop on UN Convention against Corruption in Southeast Europe

UNODC hosted the first multi-stakeholder workshop on the United Nations Convention against Corruption and its Review Mechanism in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, from 25 to 29 September 2017. As the first such workshop held in Southeast Europe, the event aimed to develop capacities of around 60 participants across the region to contribute to the implementation of the Convention and its Review Mechanism.

The UN Convention against Corruption, ratified by 182 States, is the only legally binding, universal, anti-corruption instrument. Its far-reaching approach and the mandatory character of provisions make it a unique tool for developing a comprehensive response to global corruption issues.

The Convention covers five main areas: preventive measures, criminalization and law enforcement, international cooperation, asset recovery, and technical assistance and information exchange. The Convention covers many different forms of corruption, such as bribery, trading in influence, abuse of functions, and various acts of corruption in the private sector.

At the first review cycle, approximately 85 per cent of Governments involved civil society organizations in their country visits, building momentum to uphold their treaty obligations. The workshop, in this regard, reiterated the importance of this practice during the second review cycle, especially in the Southeast Europe region. It also aimed to promote collaboration between all relevant stakeholders.

Supported by the Austrian Development Agency through the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative, and by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the training informed participants about the methodology and tools for country reviews and build their capacity to reproduce workshop sessions at the national and regional levels. Participants engaged in a constructive dialogue by sharing their experiences, lessons learned and good practices, as well as undertaking practical exercises.

Milutin Milošević, the DPNSEE Executive Director, and Sanja Šišović CAZAS, Montenegro, participated in the workshop. That allowed them to gain a good insight in the Convention and opportunities to join the review process.