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Global Fund Meeting in Sofia: Activists Demand More Funding for the CEE/CA

From December 13th to 15th, Sofia, Bulgaria was host to the 22nd meeting of the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM). Each year, the Global Fund holds a meeting away from its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, to offer delegates the opportunity to visit programs financed by the Global Fund. This was the first meeting held in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region.

One of the topics in the meeting was a discussion about reconsidering the eligibility of criteria for financing by the GFATM. Such a change would result in new funding opportunities for a number of countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. While the board deliberated on this issue, more than 600 activists from Serbia and Bulgaria chose the occasion to protest and to hand an open letter to the Executive Director in favor of such changes and to highlight the importance of increasing funding to the region in the world that currently has the most rapidly expanding HIV epidemic. Video of the demonstration and of discussions between activists and the Global Fund board can be found at the following link (in English).

Leading up to the Global Found meeting, board members made site visits in Georgia, Ukraine and Bulgaria. One of these visits was hosted by HESED, Sofia - an NGO working with sex workers. During two evenings, 12 representatives of the Global Found observed and participated in outdoor and indoor outreach work with sex workers and got a first-hand look at the specific issues faced by this vulnerable group in Bulgaria.