About Civil Society Forum

About the EU HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis Civil Society Forum

A Europe free of AIDS, TB and viral hepatitis - and no one left behind

Background

Since its creation in 2005,  the EU Civil Society Forum on HIV/AIDS and since 2017, the EU Civil Society Forum on HIV, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis (hereafter CSF), has been instrumental in providing and sharing critical information and evidence; in undertaking joint actions and; creating synergies between its members. These activities have advanced policies and interventions improving the health and well-being of communities that are most affected by HIV, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis. The CSF has been channelling information from the ground up to European policy makers and agencies to reform or remove policies that violate fundamental rights and run against scientific evidence, e.g.:

  • The CSF shared and jointly acted on policies that directly or indirectly discriminate, criminalise, e.g. mandatory testing, travel/residence restrictions, criminalising HIV transmission, exposure and non-disclosure.
  • The CSF provided CSF Members and partners with evidence and arguments for national decision makers, e.g. when HIV pre-exposure Prophylaxis emerged as a promising complementary prevention tool the CSF took up the issue, shared and disseminated evidence from the Ipergay and PROUD studies.
  • The CSF has promoted testing beyond medical settings as an effective approach to scale of testing up-take for key affected populations.
  • The CSF shared knowledge and knowhow in the implementation of community interventions and regulatory issues to optimise testing approaches for earlier care.
  • The CSF has long promoted cross-sectoral approaches and integration of services drawing from the experience of community interventions and programmes. Community actors look at individual needs of persons in a given context to help ensure that populations that frequently left-behind can receive the services they need.

Until 2019, the CSF was hosted at the EC DG Sante Directorate, which selected members, financed and facilitated bi-annual face-to-face meetings. In September 2019, the European Commission decided to close down the EU Civil Society Forum on HIV, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis as an expert group along with the EU Think Tank on HIV, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis, which brought together government representatives and health agencies. The European Commission indicated that HIV, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis would be dealt with “wherever appropriate” by EU Member states’ Health Security Committee. Furthermore, it was announced that its engagement with civil society would be shifted to the on-line EU Health Policy Platform.

In autumn 2019, after receiving feedback from CSF members and observers on the value-added of the EU Civil Society Forum on HIV, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis, the CSF coordination team decided to re-launch the group, with an updated structure, operating mode and agenda to advance policies improving the health and well-being of the communities that its members serve. It will continue to work closely with the European Commission. Not-for-profit organisations that are based in the WHO European region and whose main activities are related to the prevention, outreach and awareness raising, health support services, community services and/or other similar activities aimed at reducing the transmission or improving the quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis (B and/or C) and/or tuberculosis are called to apply.  

    Terms of Reference

    of the EU European Civil Society Forum on HIV, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis

     1.      Mission & Purpose

    The purpose of the CSF is to:

    1. Provide a platform for mutual learning and strategic thinking to improve policies and their implementation by stimulating the exchange of knowledge and knowhow between civil society organisations and between the CSF, the European Commission and other relevant actors (face-to-face meetings and communication through the European Health Policy Platform and other communication platforms)
    2. Strengthen advocacy for the rights of key communities living or affected by these infections by addressing short-comings in the response to the epidemics, sharing knowledge and consensus building on standards to address critical and sensitive issues, as well as joint advocacy on national level where appropriate
    3. Contribute to the empowerment of community groups by facilitating access to European policy and programmatic discussion.
    4. Contribute to European level policy and programme development (including funding) by channelling knowledge and expertise from local civil society to EU institutions, governments and international public health agencies.

     2.      Constituting Principles

    • The Civil Society Forum on HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis shall be composed of not-for-profit organisations with legal status whose main activities are related to the prevention, outreach and awareness raising, health support services, community services and/or other similar activities aimed at reducing the transmission or improving the quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis (B and/or C) and/or tuberculosis that are based in the WHO European region.
    • The coordination team will review eligibility applicants according to the stated criteria.
    • Members shall nominate their representatives and shall be responsible for ensuring that their representatives provide a high level of expertise.

    3.      Working language

    English

    4.      Decision-Making process

    The CSF shall adopt its opinions, recommendations or reports by consensus or by 50 % + 1 majority of all its members.

     5.      CSF members

    1.  The CSF members can apply membership via the website and by providing the necessary information for eligibility. The CSF coordination team approves the membership following the eligibility criteria.
    2. CSF members are organisations and representatives committed to the promotion of rights and evidence-based approaches.
    3. They commit themselves to contribute to the discussions on the three disease areas, to propose actions and initiatives and to exchange information, relevant for the work of the CSF.
    4. Members can be candidates for the Coordination Team.
    5. Members have the opportunity to propose and to establish working groups in order to work with a group of CSF members on a common activity, project, report in accordance with CSF strategic priorities.
    6. Members have a responsibility to communicate on the work of the CSF and relevant development with other similar organisations on national, regional or local level, as well as collecting their input.

     6.      Coordination Team

    1. The five members of the coordination team are elected by a simple majority of CSF members for a period of three years. Members elected have to represent at least one of the three diseases HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis. The organisations with most votes will be chosen as the Coordination Team.
    2. In the event of a tied vote the Coordinator Team member is decided by lottery.

     Tasks of the secretariat

    In the event that funding is available, a secretariat is installed to take care of these administration duties.

    • Prepare monthly CSF coordination conference calls by drafting agendas and supporting documents
    • Facilitate the conference calls and prepare the minutes of the calls
    • Prepare CSF online/ face-to-face meetings including agenda development, outreach to speakers, liaising with members taking part and/or presenting in close cooperation with the Coordination Team
    • Prepare the Meeting reports
    • Facilitate input of CSF into relevant consultation/policy development processes and relevant medical and policy related events in close cooperation with the Coordination Team
    • Communicate with institutions, CSF Members, agencies and stakeholders on behalf of the Coordination Team
    • Prepare agreed advocacy initiatives and draft letters and statements
    • Coordinate joint initiatives on behalf of the CSF
    • Manage the CSF mailing list and Facebook group
    • Disseminate information relevant to CSF membership
    • Inform external stakeholders about and/or on behalf of the CSF.
    • Provide tools to evaluate the CSF Meetings
    •  

    Tasks of the Coordination Team Members

    • Join the CSF coordination calls
    • Chair meetings (online and face2face) as relevant
    • Join communication with the stakeholders when necessary
    • Sign letters and statements on behalf of the Civil Society Forum
    • Represent the CSF in conferences, meetings and advisory boards as requested
    • In the event that funding is available, a secretariat is installed to take care of these administration duties.