The AIDS Action Europe Member and Partner Meeting 2020 took place online on November 10th. This year the meeting was to have our members and partners come together face-to-face to discuss AAE’s future strategy for 2022-2025. And even though it turned to be impossible to meet face-to-face this time, we decided to make the most out of this year and decided to shift the actual meeting online, which was preceded by a multi-phase consultation process in order to involve as many of our members and partners as possible into the development of the future Strategy.

The consultation process consisted of 4 phases. In phase one we explained what Strategic Framework is, and how our work now is shaped by the Strategic Framework 2018-2021. In phase 2 we asked our members to fill in the survey what should we focus on in the future. Additionally, our members could apply to become a working group lead to develop one of the core thematic area. And phase 4 was the actual member meeting where the results of the survey as well as the working groups were presented and discussed.

Based on the results of the survey, the following six core thematic areas were identified, which are the same thematic areas that AAE is currently working on.

  • Community based voluntary counselling and testing
  • tackling stigma and discrimination
  • affordability and accessibility to medicine and diagnostic
  • Tackling legal barriers in the response to HIV TB and hepatitis
  • Sexual and reproductive health and rights
  • Criminalization of HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission

Additional core thematic areas that were added due to the results of the survey and the request to conduct a working group on is harm reduction. In this core thematic area AAE will focus on capacity building and raising awareness among our members on gaps in harm reduction services.

Overall, 5 working groups took place 1 in Russian and 4 in English languages, where 4 core thematic areas were developed: CBVCT, tackling stigma and discrimination, harm reduction and HIV criminalization. This experience showed us that working in a small virtual working group is a successful and efficient instrument to organize work in these days.

It is also important to mention, that those core thematic areas that were not developed within working groups are not left behind and will be still developed in a different format. And we will still get back to our members to receive final comments and opinions. As for the AAE Secretariat and Steering Committee the work for us has only started to turn all gathered information into a real Strategic Framework 2022-2025.

Regarding the new Strategic Framework, the Steering Committee based on the suggestion of the Secretariat decided that our new strategic framework will be based on human rights. This overarching theme for the new strategy was discussed and presented at the Member meeting explaining that our core thematic areas, strategic goals, activities and projects will be planned, and delivered so that human rights will be in their centre. Also, our means and working methods towards realizing the targets our strategic framework will be explicitly based on human rights, our advocacy activities at regional and global level, the work of the European HIV Legal Forum coordinated from our office and providing shadow reports in key European topics of HIV, and our capacity building activities for our member organizations will be built on the basis of human rights.