Update

The Caribbean and Africa: working together to end the AIDS epidemic

21 May 2014

High-level officials from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the African Union (AU), along with selected ministers of health from both regions, met in Geneva, Switzerland, this week to explore the role of shared responsibility and the global solidarity agenda in ending the AIDS epidemic in the Caribbean. The dialogue, held on 20 May and convened by UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé, examined the first steps in developing a Caribbean road map towards such shared responsibility.

In 2012, the African Union produced its own Roadmap on Shared Responsibility and Global Solidarity for AIDS, TB and Malaria Response in Africa, with technical assistance from UNAIDS, which built on the considerable progress the continent has made in transforming its response to HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. The AU Roadmap is based on three central pillars: more diversified, balanced and sustainable financing models; access to medicines, local production and regulatory harmonization; and leadership, governance and oversight for sustainability.

AU delegates at the Geneva meeting were able to share their wealth of experience on the processes, mechanisms and political support required to attain these goals, promote greater self-reliance and ensure the success of the road map. The meeting also facilitated further exchanges and links between countries of both regions regarding their HIV and health responses.

It emerged that there were major common challenges and opportunities facing the Caribbean and Africa in terms of health and development issues in the post-2015 context. These include equitable access to health services, social protection and human rights issues and, as incomes rise, an increasing lack of access to official development assistance, which has profound implications for sustainability. 

The meeting formally endorsed a CARICOM–AU–UNAIDS partnership to assist the development of the CARICOM road map. Initial steps will consist of gathering evidence to help define Caribbean-specific road map pillars and drawing up a schedule of meetings at the very highest technical and political levels.

Quotes

"This is the kind of new partnership that will shape and define the way we will be doing business in the post-2015 era. Africa and the Caribbean can learn from the AIDS response as a force of transformation for health and development."

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé

Quotes

"This is a great opportunity for CARICOM and the African Union Commission to join forces in accelerating the process of global solidarity intent on ending the AIDS epidemic."

Edward Greene, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for AIDS in the Caribbean

Quotes

"The CARICOM Secretariat is pleased to join its counterparts at the African Union Commission in spearheading the development and implementation of regional road maps to remove barriers to affordable treatment, sustainable financing and eliminating AIDS-related stigma and discrimination, among other issues."

Douglas Slater, Assistant Secretary-General, CARICOM

Quotes

"African leaders have been very instrumental and focussd in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria through the instrumentality of shared responsibility and global solidarity. As a result, we have witnessed considerable improvement and hope for zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths."

Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs