Last week in Stockholm, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) hosted a meeting of donor countries together with private foundations that support the human rights of LGBT people globally. The two-day meeting was the first time that such governmental foreign assistance and foreign policy people came together to explicitly encourage and enhance their financial and non-financial support for equality of LGBT people worldwide.
The meeting grew out of a conference hosted by the French government last year that was aimed at moving forward the UN Statement on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity. The British, Dutch, Finnish, French, Norwegian, Swedish, and U.S. governments sent representatives, along with the approximately eight private and public foundations, including Hivos, the Dutch Humanist NGO, which co-organized the meeting with Sida.
The meeting resulted in the identification of six goals—including bringing more money into the sector—and the participants agreed to specific steps to move towards those goals. The governmental and non-governmental representatives will meet again in about a year to assess their progress, and will work towards including more governments in the process.
The Council for Global Equality was proud to participate in the meeting and to partner with the U.S. government to ensure that appropriate funding mechanisms are open to LGBT civil society. Towards that end, the Council worked with one of its funders, the Arcus Foundation, on a new report, “Saving Live, Promoting Democracy, Alleviating Poverty and Fighting AIDS: The Case for Funding Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Populations.” The report points out that currently, less than one one-hundredth of one percent of foreign assistance funds from donor countries reaches LGBT civil society, when this population is clearly one of the most marginalized groups, subject to grave human rights violations in many parts of the world. The Stockholm meeting was a very important first step in changing that statistic.