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 Global Fund have just published their 2020 Eligibility List and the updated Projected Transitions List. Some of the changes are related to South East European countries.
Since Bulgaria and Romania are not on the OECD DAC list of ODA recipients, they may be eligible for an allocation for HIV for non-governmental or civil society organizations under Paragraph 9b of the Eligibility Policy only if they have demonstrated barriers to providing funding for interventions for key populations, as supported by the country’s epidemiology. As 2020 is an allocation year, the Secretariat has conducted an assessment and has determined that Bulgaria and Romania don’t meet the requirements under Paragraph 9b of the Eligibility Policy. Therefore, they have been determined not to be eligible for an HIV allocation for the 2020-2022 allocation period.
Kosovo* was classified as an Upper-Middle Income country in the 2019 Eligibility List based on the latest three-year average of GNI per capita data (Atlas method). As a result, the HIV and TB components may be eligible for an allocation of Transition Funding in the 2020-2022 allocation period.
North Macedonia‘s HIV component is now classified as eligible in the 2020 Eligibility List after meeting eligibility criteria for two consecutive eligibility determinations, noting that eligibility does not guarantee an allocation.
Montenegro and Serbia remain eligible for HIV and Romania for Tuberculosis.
Our member organisation Labyrinth invite to check out awareness video-animation they produced on Human rights and Harm reduction approach for people who use drugs in Kosovo.
The video was a part of the project that Labyrinth implemented “Enhancing drug user’s rights and entitlements” and was supported by the EU Office in Kosovo. The purpose of the “ENDURE” project was to create a more appropriate environment for people from marginalized communities to realize health, social and legal rights and to be involved in all processes of social life.
The project aimed to address the needs of discriminated and stigmatized groups by strengthening their capacities to invoke anti-discrimination law. The “ENDURE” project also aimed to raise awareness against discrimination providing legal and psychological support to drug users and improve access to drug users.
In scope of the ENDURE project, Labyrinth prepared two publications (both in Albanian):
Kosovo* finally joined the Support. Don’t Punish campaign in 2019. Activities were organised on the Global Day of Action in Pristina by Qendra për Informim dhe Përmirësim Social – QIPS (The Centre for Information and Social Improvement), a Kosovo-based NGO, working to improve the wellbeing of people in need and raising awareness for problems hidden by stigma. DPNSEE member organisation Labyrinth joined the campaign.
During the day, a march in the city centre was organised, all the way to the government building. It was followed by marketing on social media for the event, printing and designing banners and making props to place in front of the government building.
Posters were designed and posted around the city during the early morning, while leaflets were distributed during the day.
In the evening, the documentary „How to make money selling drugs“ was projected in the Termokiss, a community-run centre in Prishtina with the mission of urban and civil exchange, reflection and change making.
From 23 to 27 June 2019, The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) conducted a mission to Pristina, Kosovo to review the drug control situation there with a view of facilitating access to controlled substances while preventing their diversion.
INCB is an independent, quasi-judicial expert body established by the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 for monitoring member states’ implementation of the UN drug control treaties. It has 13 members, each elected by the Economic and Social Council for a period of five years.
The mission was led by Ambassador (ret.) David Johnson, Member of the Board, supported by Mr. Nodirjon Ibragimov of the INCB secretariat. The mission was facilitated by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMiK).
The delegation met with the representatives of Kosovo agencies involved in pharmaceutical regulation; the administration of justice, including prosecutorial services and the judiciary; law-enforcement, customs and forensics; and public health, addiction treatment and rehabilitation.
The INCB delegation also met with leaders of the international community supporting local institutions, including the EU Office in Pristina, EULEX, the OSCE Mission, UNDP, UNODC, and UNMiK. In addition, meetings were held with officials from the NGO “Labyrinth”, a DPNSEE member organisation, which provides opioid substitution treatment and other elements of a comprehensive treatment and reintegration programme and with the leader of the NGO Community Development Fund, which supports “Labyrinth”.
Rather than focusing on illicit markets, flows of commodities or particular criminal groups, this report looks at places of interest: hotspots of organized crime in the Western Balkans. It looks at the characteristics of these hotspots, then provides a granular analysis of particular border crossings, intersections or regions of vulnerability. What makes these places particularly vulnerable? Why are they attractive to criminals? After discussing these questions, the report connects the dots between these locations to identify possible links and patterns that tell us more about the geography of crime in the region.
To contextualize these organized-crime hotspots, the report provides an overview of the current situation in the Western Balkans, as well as some general information on the main illicit flows. It then looks at hotspots close to border or (internal) boundary crossings.
The other main section of the report focuses on major intersections of organized crime in the Western Balkans – mostly bigger cities (particularly capitals), coastal towns and places where major highways intersect. Maps are provided to show the hotspots as well as key traffic arteries. Amid these assessments, the report takes a deeper dive into vulnerable locations, such as Sarajevo, three ports along the Montenegrin coast, northern Kosovo as well as the triangular region where North Macedonia meets south Serbia and Kosovo.
One key observation of this report, which is important to highlight upfront, is that illicit flows through ports, cities and border crossings in the Western Balkans are enabled by a political economy of crime that is deeply entrenched in most countries of the region. The report therefore takes a look at the ecosystem of crime that creates an environment in which illicit activity can flourish. It concludes with a prognosis of potential future hotspots of crime.
The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) published reports on the experiences and aspirations of youth in Southeast Europe. The FES carried out a representative region-wide survey on a sample of more than 10.000 young people aged 14 – 29 from ten countries in Southeast Europe in early 2018.
“FES Youth Studies Southeast Europe 2018/2019” is an international youth research project carried out simultaneously in ten countries in Southeast Europe: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo*, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia. The main objective of the surveys has been to identify, describe and analyse attitudes of young people and patterns of behaviour in contemporary society.
A broad range of issues were addressed, including young peoples’ experiences and aspirations in different realms of life, such as education, employment, political participation, family relationships, leisure and use of information and communications technology, but also their values, attitudes and beliefs.
Findings are presented in ten national and one regional study and its accompanying policy papers, which have been published in both English and the respective national languages.
The most important results are grouped under headlines:
A wish to belong to Europe
Migration and mobility do not have to be zero-sum
Fighting corruption as a crime, not as a concept
Employment discourse shifting towards the quality of work
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has recently published its updated country eligibility list for 2019. The list reflects the eligibility determinations for the year 2019 (a non-allocation year) and is for information purposes only. Allocations are made once every three years following the outcomes of the Global Fund’s replenishment The 2020 Eligibility List will determine which country components are eligible for an allocation for the 2020-2022 allocation period.
SEE countries affected by changes are Bulgaria, Kosovo*, North Macedonia and Romania. Montenegro and Serbia remain eligible for HIV disease component due to high disease burden.
Bulgaria and Romania may be eligible for an allocation for HIV/AIDS for non-governmental or civil society organizations if there are demonstrated barriers to providing funding for interventions for key populations, as supported by the country’s epidemiology for the 2020-2022 allocation period.
Kosovo is newly classified as an Upper-Middle Income country based on the latest three-year average of GNI per capita data. As Kosovo’s HIV/AIDS and TB burden are ‘Not High’, both the HIV/AIDS and TB components are now eligible for Transition Funding for the 20202022 allocation period.
North Macedonia‘s HIV/AIDS disease burden classification changed to ‘Low’ in 2018 to ‘High’ in the 2019 Eligibility List, resulting in one determination of eligibility. Country components must be eligible for two consecutive eligibility determinations to be classified as eligible on the Eligibility List.
According to the GF Eligibility Policy “Upper-middle income countries meeting the disease burden criteria, but some may be eligible for an allocation for HIV/AIDS to directly finance non-governmental and civil society organizations, if there are demonstrated barriers to providing funding for interventions for key populations, as supported by the country’s epidemiology. Eligibility for funding under this provision will be assessed by the Secretariat as part of the decision-making process for allocations. As part of its assessment, the Secretariat, in consultation with UN and other partners as appropriate, will look at the overall human rights environment of the context with respect to key populations and specifically whether there are laws or policies which influence practices and seriously limit and/or restrict the provision of evidence-informed interventions for such populations”.
The burden of an HIV epidemic in Kosovo* lies among the key populations (KPs) of female sex workers (FSWs), men who have sex with men (MSM), and people who inject drugs (PWIDs). The aim of this study was to estimate the size and distribution of these populations to create evidence for developing action plans for HIV prevention.
Results of this Study:
Of the estimated 6814 men who have sex with men (range: 6445 to 7117), nearly 4940 operate through the internet owing to the large stigma and discrimination against same-sex relationships. Geo-based men who have sex with men (who operate through physical spots) congregate at a few spots with large spot sizes (13.3 men who have sex with men /spot). Three-fourths of the men who have sex with men are distributed in 5 major municipalities. Fridays and Saturdays are the peak days of operation; however, the number only increases by 5%. A significant number are involved in sex work, that is, provide sex to other men for money. People who inject drugs are largely geo-based; 4973 (range: 3932 to 6015) people who inject drugs of the total number of 5819 (range: 4777 to 6860) visit geographical spots, with an average spot size of 7.1. In smaller municipalities, they mostly inject in residential locations. The numbers stay stable during the entire week, and there are no peak days. Of the 5037 (range: 4213 to 5860) female sex workers, 20% use cell phones, whereas 10% use websites to connect with clients. The number increases by 25% on weekends, especially in larger municipalities where sex work is mostly concentrated. Other than a few street-based spots, most spots are establishments run by pimps, which is reflective of the highly institutionalized, structured, and organized female sex workers network.
This study provides valuable information about the population size estimates as well as dynamics of each KP, which is the key to developing effective HIV prevention strategies. The information should be utilized to develop microplans and effectively provide HIV prevention services to various KPs.
Six countries of Western Balkans: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia founded the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) in July 2016 aiming to promote the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation between the youth in the region through youth exchange programs.
RYCO’s main objectives are:
Exchange and mobility: Increased mobility and exchange of young people and their key workers in the Western Balkans, which is fully representative of the diversity of the Western Balkan region.
Sectorial development: Greater competence among voluntary and/or professionals/youth workers accompanying young people in youth, education, sport, culture activities, dealing with reconciliation, intercultural learning and other regional topics through exchange and mobility.
RYCO launched its first Open Call for project proposals of civil society organizations and high schools in the field of promoting reconciliation in the region through increasing youth mobility, cooperation and activism. RYCO wants to empower youth for setting the road to better cooperation in the Western Balkans and ensure further progress towards European integration of the region.
The overall financial envelope for this call is EUR 900, 000. Requested budget should be between 10.000 and 35.000 Euros. Deadline for applications is 15 November 2017.
Full information about the Call is available from the RYCO webpage following this LINK>>>
Info sessions are organised in each of the Western Balkans countries. You can find the schedule of the sessions following this LINK>>>