PANCAP to Caucus Ahead of UN High Level meeting on ending AIDS
(CARICOM) A United Nations High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) on Ending AIDS will be held on 8-10 June 2016 at the United Nations General Assembly, New York, United States. Its focus will be on the required accelerated response over the next five years to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.
In preparation for the UNHLM, PANCAP has convened a Breakfast Meeting on 8 June to brief Caribbean delegates from Government and Civil Society. The meeting is intended to cement a consolidated regional position for the Caribbean side during the plenary sessions and side meetings of the UNHLM.
The PANCAP meeting takes place at the UN Delegates Dining Room, West Terrace, and United Nations Headquarters and will be c0-haired by St. Kitts and Nevis Minister of State with responsibility for Health, Hon. Wendy C. Phipps, and CARICOM Secretariat Assistant Secretary-General for Human and Social Development, Dr Douglas Slater. Speakers at the meeting include St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Sylvester Harris, who is also the Lead CARICOM Head with responsibility for Human Resource Development, Health and HIV and AIDS; Dr. J. Carolyn Gomes, Executive Director, Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) and Civil Society Representative; and Mr. Dereck Springer, Director, PANCAP Coordinating Unit.
The UNHLM in emphasising the importance of accelerating the response to HIV over the next five years to set the world on course to end the epidemic by 2013, have identified five panel themes. These are: AIDS within the SDGs: leveraging the end of AIDS for social transformation and sustainable development; Financing the end of AIDS: the window of opportunity; Getting ahead of the looming treatment crisis: an action agenda for getting to 90-90-90; Leaving no one behind: ending stigma and discrimination through social justice and inclusive societies; Children, adolescent girls, and young women: preventing new HIV infections.
UNAIDS contends that adopting the Fast-Track focus on location and population, and reallocating resources to where they are most needed will ensure that the people most affected by HIV, have access to life-changing HIV prevention and treatment services. In addition, Fast-Track Targets achieved on time would ensure that the estimated total resource needs would begin to fall by 2021. Without these front-loaded investments, the world risks prolonging the epidemic indefinitely.
At the last UNHLM in 2011, world leaders set an ambitious treatment target of 15 million people accessing antiretroviral therapy by the end of 2015. The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, announced last year that this had been achieved and surpassed, with nearly 16 million people accessing antiretroviral therapy by mid-2015 that is, -double the number in 2011.
Through the collaborative efforts of CARICOM-PANCAP, the Caribbean has seen significant achievements. Among them, the sharpest regional reduction in HIV incidence by 48.1%, from 27,000 in 2000 to 13,000 in 2014; declining AIDS-related deaths by 49%, from 18,000 deaths in 2000 to 8,800 deaths in 2014; antiretroviral coverage increased to 44% from less than 5% of the eligible population in 2001, (eligibility for ART with a CD4 threshold for treatment initiation of 500 cells/mm3 or less for adults, adolescents and older children. It saw also Cuba, the first country in the world to achieve elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in 2015 with 10 others in the region poised to achieve elimination by July 2016. (UNAIDS 2015),
PANCAP believes that for the Caribbean to protect and sustain these gains, CARICOM Member States must join the rest of the world at this meeting to work together on a strong political declaration. One that will create the conditions needed, including continued funding, to “Fast-Track” actions and end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. Failure to mobilise the funds required to end AIDS will result in a reversal of the gains of the last 10 years. People who require treatment will not have access to lifesaving antiretroviral drugs and people who need to know their HIV status will not have access to testing. The Caribbean Region must therefore work collectively to protect and sustain our gains.
PANCAP is a Caribbean regional partnership of governments, regional civil society organisations, regional institutions and organisations, bilateral and multilateral agencies and contributing donor partners which was established on 14 February 2001. PANCAP provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean’s response to the HIV epidemic, coordinates the response through the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS to maximise efficient use of resources and increase impact, mobilises resources and build capacity of partners.