Fruitful Steering Committee Meeting in Amsterdam
On Monday 31st of March and Tuesday 1st of April 2014, the Steering Committee of AIDS Action Europe came together in Amsterdam. The new chair, Anke van Dam, looks back at a fruitful meeting: “It was an inspiring meeting, where we made important decisions to secure the future of AIDS Action Europe.”
First of all, the Annual Report of 2013 was approved by the Steering Committee members. As co-chair of the EU HIV/AIDS Civil Society Forum (CSF) and member of the EU HIV/AIDS Think Tank, AIDS Action Europe contributed in 2013 effectively to European policies. The Civil Society Forum, for example, provided crucial input for the new HIV/AIDS Action Plan in the EU and neighbouring countries for 2014-2016. The Annual report will soon be published on the AIDS Action Europe website where you will find more details. Moreover, the Steering Committee approved the Work Plan for 2014. Core activities will continue to focus on strengthening and supporting civil society’s contributions in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
During the meeting, Steering Committee members shared valuable information about international developments in the area of HIV/AIDS. As has been widely reported, the Crimea, a previously autonomous region of Ukraine, has recently been annexed by the Russian Federation, in defiance of international law. Svetlana Moroz, of the All Ukrainian Network, informed the Steering Committee about the latest developments on the Crimean peninsula: “The annexation is likely to have far-reaching consequences for people who inject drugs. We are very concerned about the situation, as their access to life-saving harm reduction and HIV prevention services may be severely compromised.”
As a result of Russian actions in the Crimea, the Steering Committee decided not to attend the 4th Eastern Europe and Central Asia HIV/AIDS Conference (EECAAC) in Russia. Although the Steering Committee members are not calling for a full boycott, they do not wish to encourage active participation in this conference given the Russian Federation’s disregard for international treaties, and its disastrous effect on the health and well-being of people who use drugs in the Crimea. AIDS Action Europe stresses its respect and support for the efforts of Russian member organisations.
A central point of discussion during the meeting focused on measures to secure sufficient co-funding for the entire work programme of AIDS Action Europe. Anke van Dam explains: “Over the past two years, the network increasingly experienced difficulties to find financial resources to sustain AIDS Action Europe’s core programme. During the meeting important decisions were made to secure a sound funding structure for 2014 and beyond.” Soon we will provide more information on the website about the measures taken to safeguard the sustainability of the network.