Strengthening the AIDS response in Portuguese speaking countries

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Strengthening the AIDS response in Portuguese speaking countries

28 July 2008

(L to R): Luís Amado, Minister of Foreign
Affairs of Portugal; José Sócrates, Prime
Minister of Portugal; Michel Sidibè,
UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director;
Aníbal Cavaco Silva, President of the
Republic of Portugal- during the VII
CPLP’s Heads of State Summit.
Photo: Luis Filipe Catarino

The Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) Heads of State’s Summit took place on 24 and 25 July in Lisbon, Portugal. The summit, which happens every two years, is an opportunity to review progress made and to improve cooperation between CPLP Member States on political, economic, social and cultural issues. One of this year’s topics was dedicated to the improvement of cooperation in the AIDS response.

The summit brought together representatives of CPLP’s Member States (Angola, Brazil, Cap Vert, East Timor, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal and Sao Tome e Prince), Observer States (Guinea Equatorial, Mauritius, Senegal) and representatives from international organizations (Africa Union, FAO, UNESCO, UNAIDS, CEDEAO, UNASUL).

UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Michel Sidibe participated in the CPLP summit as a keynote speaker at the Civil Society Forum on Health Affairs. This side event was an initiative of Former President Sampaio, CPLP’s Goodwill Ambassador for Health Affairs and United Nations Special Envoy to Stop TB.

At the summit, UNAIDS and CPLP announced a new partnership as a result of the existing engagement and collaboration between CPLP’s countries and UNAIDS. This collaboration was reflected in the launch of a new report by CPLP highlighting progress made towards universal access to treatment, prevention and care in the CPLP’s countries. Furthermore, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the eight Member States also approved an AIDS declaration during the summit.

In order to further highlight the issue of HIV during the Summit and to foster a new generation of leaders committed to the AIDS response, UNAIDS in partnership with the CPLP and National Portuguese Television (RTP) held a televised town hall on AIDS.

“Alerta Sida”, “Aids Alert” was broadcasted on 23 July, the eve of the Summit, by RTP AFRICA and RTP International.

UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Michel
Sidibè with Lula da Silva, President of
Brazil - during the 2008 Community of
Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP)
Heads of State’s Summit. 24 and 25 July
Lisbon, Portugal. Photo: UNAIDS

University students from different CPLP countries put a series of questions to a panel of experts representing the CPLP, technical programming and civil society.

The panel answering students’ questions were CPLP Executive Secretary Ambassador Luís Fonseca (Cape Vert); Portugal’s National AIDS Coordinator Professor Henrique de Barros; and General Coordinator of Abia (a Brazilian non-governmental organization) Dra. Cristina Pimenta.

Video messages from some CPLP Heads of State; UNAIDS’ Deputy Executive Director, Michel Sidibe and Former President Sampaiom, CPLP’s Ambassador for Health Issues were also broadcasted.

This initiative also had the support of Lusófona University.

The 80 minute programme included a short report about the AIDS epidemic in Mozambique, the Portuguese-speaking country with the highest numbers of people living with HIV.