22 June 2013 - Kigali, Rwanda - Representatives of civil society and communities affected by tuberculosis (TB) have demanded inclusion and greater engagement in the activities and governance structure of the Africa Region of the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (the Union).
In the Kigali Declaration, the representatives express their disappointment with the level of involvement that civil society had in the planning and execution of the 19th Conference of the Union Africa Region. They describe the many ways in which civil society and community organizations contribute to the fight against TB on the ground and therefore request that these organizations are recognized as equal partners, with seats on the Union’s regional committees and Board.
Inclusion in these structures would enable civil society to realize its potential in driving progress towards the goal of zero TB deaths and zero TB infections, the representatives say.
"The Union greatly values the contribution of civil society organizations (CSOs) and has supported their participation in the World Conference for a number of years", said Dr E Jane Carter, President of The Union. "At its retreat earlier this month, the Board voted to substantially increase the number of free registrations available to CSOs this year and to create a civil society commission to examine ways to ensure their greater engagement and participation in The Union".
Dr Carter added that she had urged the new Executive Committee of the Africa Region to address and broaden its relationship with civil society.
Before issuing the Declaration, civil society and community representatives staged a peaceful protest march through the venue of the Africa Region conference. Their banners bore slogans including "Africa Region, where is civil society?" and "Civil society and affected communities are a resource, not a liability."
The civil society representatives’ attendance at the regional conference was supported by the Stop TB Partnership and the German Society for International Cooperation.