HIV Implementers meeting opens in Kigali
16 June 2007
Representatives from over 50 countries came together in Kigali on 16 June for the opening session of the HIV/AIDS Implementer’s Meeting. The opening remarks highlighted the importance of leadership and of scaling up partnerships to improve the quality and impact of the response to the AIDS epidemic.
All speeches praised the inspirational leadership shown by the participating countries which marked a significant result in the AIDS response and in scaling up through partnerships. The courage and commitment of people living with HIV to the AIDS response was also singled out as having helped share lessons learnt, saving lives, enhancing ownership of lives and caring for orphans and vulnerable children.
Ambassador Mark Dybul of the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator emphasised the shift in considering communities no longer as recipients but as ‘partners through understanding and trust’. “Working together makes everything possible,” he said.
Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, representing Dr. Peter Piot, UNAIDS Executive Director, underscored five key strategic areas:
- Spending money on programmes and priorities owned by communities who understand their epidemics;
- Enhancing capacity in education and social services; and making use of communities and civil society as invaluable resources;
- Shifting from short term interventions to more strategic long term approaches (the Global Fund talks about programmes not projects);
- Putting AIDS at the core of any development programme;
- Scaling-up for greater efficiency in delivering results without loosing money on the way.
In his opening key note address, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Rwanda, listed the achievements to date and elaborated on the drivers of progress. “Experience has shown that accountability with vision achieves the goal,” he said. He further insisted on making a breakthrough in strengthening health systems by joining forces with development partners to build capacity.
Speakers reminded programme implementers on the issue of involving communities and enhancing their capacity to better respond to the AIDS epidemic in developing countries. They also urged them to consider community based organisations as having a key role to play in both designing and implementing programmes.
The greater involvement of people living with HIV was stressed in terms of improving quality and effectiveness of AIDS responses, as was the participation of civil society in moving the universal access process forwards. Stigma, discrimination and gender issues were also highlighted as barriers for an effective response to HIV prevention.
While considering some of the real achievements in terms of HIV prevention in Africa, all speakers highlighted the importance going far beyond where we are now in terms of improving quality of interventions by moving from projects to sustainable programmes as a response to AIDS in Africa.
Based on what has been achieved and recognising the support of donors in Rwanda and in Africa on the whole, the remarks of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Rwanda expressed the commitment of Rwanda to beyond what has been achieved already. The session also reminded participants of the important steps which need to be taken in assessing past performance and finding ways of setting up innovative efforts to combat AIDS.
Participants were actively encouraged to take this opportunity to discover ways and strategies to maximize impact and work together through a comprehensive participatory approach for sustainability of programmes on AIDS.
More on the implementers' meeting