This article is part of a series on the grantees of The New Venture Fund for Global Fund Advocacy (NVF for GFA), a grant-making initiative dedicated to advocacy for increased resource mobilization for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The NVF for GFA initiative is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. International Civil Society Support (ICSS)—which serves as the Secretariat for the Global Fund Advocates Network—is the primary grantee and technical partner of NVF for GFA. As a technical partner, ICSS provides support to grantees by providing strategic input and coordinating with key stakeholders to maximize impact of the investments.
Through the NVF for GFA grant, Osservatorio AiDS – Aids Diritti Salute (Italian Network on AIDS, Rights and Health), with the support of AIDOS (Italian Association for Women in Development), focused on developing Global Fund champions within parliament, strengthening itself as a network and networking with Italian and international civil society organizations to outreach through common activities, to try to increase Italy’s pledge to the Global Fund and to prioritize the Global Fund in Italy’s global health policies. Italy’s G7 presidency in 2017 was a further opportunity to advocate for the Global Fund.
Amongst one-on-one meetings with decision-makers, Osservatorio also organized a study visit for MPs and one photojournalist in February 2016 to Global Fund-supported projects in Ethiopia. The MPs’ experiences on the trip led to an official request from some MPs asking the government to increase their contribution to the Global Fund. The resolution, presented in May 2016 by the Chair of the MP Inter-group on International Cooperation at the Foreign and EU Affairs Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, asked the government to increase significantly the contribution to the Global Fund for the next replenishment conference. The Global Fund was also listed as a priority in 2016-2018 guidelines on development cooperation and Italy’s development cooperation policy when the government declared an interest in investing in the Global Fund through “5% Initiative” similar to a policy in France.
By the end of May 2016 Italy confirmed a long-term support to the Global Fund and announced its intention to increase the contribution. At the 5th Replenishment Conference, Italy pledged €140 million, an increase of 40% of its previous contribution, a success considering the Italian renewed commitment after a long disengagement from the Global Fund of the past years, but short of the €200 million advocates had hoped for.
Osservatorio has used G7-related events to promote the work of the Global Fund through the media as Osservatorio’s focal point was elected co-spokesperson of GCAP Italy (Global Call Against Poverty), key interlocutor for Italian institutions on G7/G20 and Agenda 2030 implementation. Osservatorio participates in meetings with G7/G20 Sherpa Office/Health Experts while advocating for the Global Fund. Osservatorio participated in pre-G7 Strategic Meeting of international CSOs, Civil7 Dialogue, G7 Summit and G7 Health Ministers’ Meeting Media Centres. In March 2017, the Health GCAP Italy Group, together with Friends of the Global Fund Europe, produced and launched a paper on Health-G7 at an international workshop for G7 Health Experts (Italy-Canada-Japan-UK-US) in Rome with a Global Fund representative among the speakers. GFAN Speaker Clara Banya attended the Civil7 Dialogue, an international official event of G7 Presidency in April 2017, and the High-Level Event “The Contribution of the Global Fund to Global Health Within the framework of the Agenda 2030” and took part in several media interviews. Due to various political issues, the final G7 declaration contained no reference to global health as a fundamental human right, universal health coverage, anti-microbial resistance or institutions like the Global Fund and GAVI, but such topics were included in the Communiqué of the G7 Health Ministers’ Meeting held in November. Osservatorio, together with other Italian CSOs, is organizing an event in Rome in December 2017 to analyse the global health topics addressed this year by G7 and G20 Summits and to make recommendations to the next G7 Presidency in Canada.
Based on the positive media outcomes from the Ethiopia trip, the network hired the same photojournalist to visit Burkina Faso; the material was launched in the photo exhibition Burkinabè in Rome in October 2017 with the aim to raise public awareness on global health issues in connection with the Global Fund. Osservatorio will continue to follow up the implementation and monitoring SDG processes both at national and international level to promote the health agenda and the Global Fund.
During the grant, a new political context represented an opportunity to increase ODA for the Global Fund, but there was the need for a stronger player within civil society to be able to seize this opportunity. Osservatorio, the only civil society network focused on HIV/AIDS in implementing countries and advocating within Italy for the Global Fund, had weakened over the years due to limited resources, but thanks to the NVF for GFA grant it became a key partner for other civil society organizations engaged in global health and strengthened its capacity to influence decision makers.
Maria Grazia Panunzi, President of AIDOS and member of the Osservatorio Steering Committee, reported, “Thanks to the NVF for GFA grant it was possible to strengthen the global health issue as a human rights issue and to enrich the debate on the determinants of health. Dealing with HIV/AIDS allowed us to speak about gender equality and women and girls’ rights.”
Stefania Burbo, Focal Point of Osservatorio, explained, “We could implement various actions that allowed Osservatorio to be recognized as an important actor in the field of global health by institutions, media and civil society organizations. Our strengthened capacity will allow us to cope more equipped with a potentially challenging political framework due to a general election in 2018.”
- The Global Fund: an opportunity for Italy, a resource for future generations
- Global Health in the G7 Agenda: the Proposals of Civil Society
- Il Fondo Globale: un’opportunità per l’Italia, una risorsa per le future generazioni (infographic)
- Stop Gambling with our Future! GCAP Italy G7 Position Paper
- Clara, 37 anni, due figli e l’Hiv. «Così il Fondo Globale mi ha salvato la vita» (Corriere Sociale)