Sexually transmitted diseases

Call for the expression of interest to become a member of the EU HIV/AIDS Civil Society Forum

The Directorate General Health and Food Safety of the European Commission invites non-governmental organisations and networks to apply for a membership of the EU HIV/AIDS Civil Society Forum (CSF).

The involvement of civil society is one of the cornerstones of European HIV/AIDS policy as presented in the Commission communication "on combating HIV/AIDS in the European Union and neighbouring countries, 2009-2013" (COM/569/2009) .

The HIV/AIDS Civil Society Forum is composed of NGOs and other civil society organisations from EU Member States, Candidate and accession countries, EEA countries, and selected countries belonging to the European Neighborhood Policy area.

The aim of the Forum is to facilitate and improve the exchange between civil society organisations across Europe and to support the HIV/AIDS Think Tank and DG SANCO on matters related to the response HIV/AIDS.

The CSF meetings are organised twice per year in close co-operation with the co-chairs, currently representatives of AIDS Action Europe (AAE) and the European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG).

The Forum is not a formal structure within the Commission; its role is to identify issues of relevance to the HIV/AIDS Think Tank and the European Commission services and to provide advice, in particular with relation to the implementation of the EU HIV/AIDS policy. It also serves as a platform of exchange of civil society organisations and a place to share knowledge and experiences.

The total number of organisations in the Forum is limited to 40 including at least 5 organisations from the Russian Federation and European neighborhood countries. The composition of the CSF aims to reflect the variety of organisations working with/representing key populations. In line with the GIPA principles, applications from organisations meaningfully involving people living with HIV (PLWH) in their work are encouraged.

Each organisation will be selected for a three year period. The term of all members will expire on 28th February 2014. Organisations interested to become a member of the CSF for the period of 1st March 2014 to 28th February 2017 should express their interest. Organisations that have been members till end of 2013 can re-apply to this call. However, no preference will be given to these organisations in the selection process.

Applying organisations will have to fulfil the following criteria:

1. Definition:
“Civil society organisations are all non-profit, organised groups, clubs and associations in society that operate independently from government and the state except firms and political parties”.

2. Geographical location:
The organisation has to have its main base of operation in an EU Member State, Candidate or accession country to the EU, EEA country, the Russian Federation or a selected country covered by the European Neighborhood Policy.

3. Mandate:
The organisation has to have HIV/AIDS related activities as a main focus of their work. The organisation has to fall under one or more of the following categories: 1) Patient organisation, 2) NGO working in/with affected communities, 3) Regional network/umbrella organisation on HIV/AIDS. This includes organisations working on specific themes related to HIV/AIDS.

4. Visibility
The organisation has to have sufficient/visible presence on national level.

5. Representativeness at country level
The organisation should possess good communication links with other local NGOs to be able to offer a good representation of the country situation and to become a focal point in the CSF for the country in question.

Member organisations will be selected by DG Health and Food Safety on behalf of the HIV/AIDS Think Tank, and based on advice of the co-chairs of the current CSF. Decisions will be based on the following principles:

1. A geographical balance shall be reached.

2. At least five places out of the 40 members of the Forum are reserved for organisations from Russian Federation and European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) countries.

3. Balance between different target groups shall be reached through different organisations having expertise on or representing key populations affected by HIV/AIDS, e.g. people living with HIV/AIDS, migrants, sex workers, men having sex with men, injecting drug users and their sexual partners, prison populations, youth and gender issues.

4. The organisation should be able to contribute to policy developments on a European level demonstrated through its work experience, e.g. at national level.

5. The organisation should be engaged in community-based work on national level.

Information requested from organisations wishing to participate in the HIV/AIDS Civil Society Forum

Organisations interested in participating in the Forum shall send their expression of interest including the following information on no more than three A4 pages by 31 January 2014 to with "2013_renewal HIV/AIDS Civil Society Forum" in the subject line.

1. Name of organisation

2. Contact information, including a contact person

3. Information about area of operation

a. Main topics and activities (i.e. human rights protection, counselling, assistance, prevention, outreach etc.)

b. Main target group of activities ( i.e. sex workers, migrants, MSM, people living with HIV/AIDS, drug users, health workers etc.)

c. Geographical coverage of activities

d. Information on effectiveness of operations

4. Information about organisation

a. Type of organisation (legal status)

b. Date of establishment

c. Number of members (organisations/individuals)

d. Outputs of the organisation

5. Letter of motivation –(How the organisation plans to contribute to policy development on European level)

6. Description of how the organisation will involve other HIV/AIDS organisations in the country and how the Forum will be informed on a regular basis about consultations with these organisations and how information from the Civil Society Forum will be shared with organisations at the national level

On the basis of available budget and policy needs it is foreseen to organise two meetings each year, usually one in spring, and one in autumn. In order to facilitate the participation of members in the meetings, the European Commission will, on the basis of available funds, reimburse travel and per-diem expenses for one participant from up to 30 member organisations in accordance with Commission rules and regulations. The selection of organisations for reimbursements will be based on following priority groups: 1) Organisations from EU-12 Member States, Candidate countries, and neighboring countries, 2) NGOs from other countries in Europe, and 3) European networks.