Picture this: the European Parliament, bustling corridors, activists on all floors perfecting their pitches, whispers among them confirming, â€œhow much did HIV testing go down again?â€ (Hint: HIV testing decreased by 22% in 2020 because of the pandemic).
Over two days, ONE Youth Ambassadors held approximately 30 meetings with Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). They were making the case for why the EU must meet its fair share at the upcoming Global Fund replenishment to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
The magic number? EUR 715 million.
44 million lives saved
In the past 20 years, the Global Fund has helped save 44 million lives; and funding it now will save another 20 million lives by 2026.
It’s time for the European Commission to step up and pledge its fair share. After our lobby days, it’s clear that MEPs from across the political spectrum agree.
Reflecting on the experience, Hajar Erraji, Youth Ambassador from Italy said:
â€œBeing able to enter an institution that seems unreachable and speak to important decision makers, is wow! When you campaign on the street, you never know if your message reaches them; but here we had the chance to talk to members of the European Parliament face to face, see their reactions, ask questions, and really engage. It made me feel empowered, gave me hope that something can change.â€
Do you even policy?Â
Serious question. Are we even in a policy meeting nowadays if the challenges of tackling the converging crises of COVID, climate and conflict, donâ€™t come up? The answer is no.
Unfortunately, in the case of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, the focus on fighting COVID disrupted prevention, testing and treatment activities in countries with weakened health systems.
The result? For the first time in two decades, the fight against these three diseases suffered a setback.
But not to worry, this is why our Youth Ambassadors met with MEPs – to put preventable diseases back on their agenda and secure support for an ambitious Global Fund pledge.
Thankfully, MEPs were on our same wavelength and said what weâ€™ve all been thinking: We need to fund all crises. We cannot simply divert attention and forget one to react to another.
They also spoke to the undeniable importance of health investments, affirming that health is everything and affects everything from employment to gender equality.
By the end of the lobby meeting marathon, Youth Ambassadors walked around with the confidence needed to #FightForWhatCounts. They became experts in the labyrinth of offices and cafes, waving hello to all of their new MEP friends!
On the experience, Jonas Nitschke, Youth Ambassador from Germany said:
â€œThe Lobby Days were the perfect opportunity for us as Youth Ambassadors to be loud, bold and convincing. It was our chance to be authentic and get support for our campaign. HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria suffered a major setback and only with the support of our elected representatives can we fight back.â€
We are very happy to count on your support for calling EU leaders to ensure an ambitious 🇪🇺 support to the @GlobalFund to Fight AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis.â€‹
#FightForWhatCounts @ONEinEU @brandonjlocke pic.twitter.com/H8MVhzGA7o
â€” Jonas Nitschke (@jonas_nitschke) May 11, 2022