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The Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria


14 November 2001
NGO consultation brings community realities to fund design

BRUSSELS, 14 November -- The rich experience of NGOs and civil society organizations facing the challenges wrought by AIDS, TB and malaria must be taken into account in any new initiative to fight these diseases, according to participants in a two-day meeting in Brussels organized to involve NGOs in the development of the new Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and malaria. Representatives from NGOs and civil society organizations from different regions, including Africa, Latin America, Asia, Europe, and North America, met on Monday and Tuesday, 12-13 November, to discuss how the new Fund should be designed to best meet country needs.

"This has been a very successful meeting. We brought together over 70 representatives from NGOs and networks of people living with HIV/AIDS, working in all regions of the world, and elaborated concrete recommendations for the TWG ", said Mick Matthews, Coordinator of the UK AIDS Consortium who organized the meeting in collaboration with the Technical Support Secretariat of the TWG. "NGOs are among the primary delivery mechanism for the three diseases and must be involved and represented at all levels of the Funds activities. In our view, NGO participation must be ensured in decision-making at all levels ", he said.

This consultation, sponsored by the government of Italy, is one of a series of consultation meetings being arranged to garner the input and relevant insight of representatives from stakeholders crucial to the implementation of the Fund. Other meetings are being held with delegations from countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Rounding out the consultation process has been a meeting with representatives of academia.

"The consultations are an essential feature in the process to set up the parameters of the Fund", said Paul Ehmer, Team Leader of the Technical Support Secretariat of the Transitional Working Group (TWG). The TWG has been tasked with building the foundations and working principles of the Fund. "This is not business as usual. We want to use the lessons learnt from past experience. This is why the TWG will base its decisions on thorough consultations with all stakeholders, and in particular with those who will benefit from the Fund, " he said.

The TWG, comprised of nearly 40 representatives of developing and developed countries, UN agencies, the World Bank, the private sector, foundations and NGOs, will next meet in Brussels on 22-24 November. At this meeting – the second of three – the participants will need to make final decisions on a number of issues that include governance, country implementation processes, accountability, fiduciary and legal arrangements, and frameworks for technical review of country proposals.

At its first meeting in October, the TWG reached consensus on the basic principles, purpose and scope of the Fund. At its third and final meeting in mid-December, the TWG intends to have made all the necessary arrangements to be able to hand over operational responsibility to the ultimate Board of the Fund.

One of the Fund’s principle is to strengthen the participation of people living with these diseases. "The active involvement of people living with HIV & AIDS, TB, and malaria in this consultation process indicates the intended commitment by the Fund to involve people living with and most affected by these life-threatening diseases at all levels," said an HIV-positive participant. "This ensures that our needs and concerns are heard, and that the Fund will focus on the most effective programs. "


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