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Trinidad to host conference to formulate regional advocacy strategy on HIV/AIDS

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — The Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), will host a two-day consultation in Trinidad and Tobago to formulate a Regional Advocacy Strategy and Five-Year Implementation Plan.

PANCAP, which is the mechanism that provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean's response to the HIV epidemic, said it hoped the expected outcome of the October 25-26 consultation, is the establishment of strategy and plan that will guide all stakeholders in their efforts to advocate at all levels for revisions to laws and policies that remove barriers to key populations accessing HIV prevention and treatment.

The consultation is a collaboration between PANCAP and the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities-Coalition el Centro Orientación e investigación Integral (CVC-COIN).

PANCAP director, Dereck Springer, said the consultation is pivotal to the region's response to HIV since recent advocacy efforts have been limited in their reach, effectiveness and strategic focus.

“As the regional HIV response has evolved, PANCAP has been challenged to shift the focus of its technical expertise and financial resources to provide leadership, strategic guidance and coordination for law and policy reform efforts.

“Addressing these new demands alongside resource reductions and competing priorities of a diverse range of government, donor and civil society partners has been a challenge for PANCAP,” Springer added.

He said that there has been limited ability to dedicate the long-term, careful attention necessary to follow up work on key areas such as country adoption of the PANCAP Model Anti-Discrimination Legislation, endorsement of the Justice for All Declaration and national-level implementation of justice for all plans.

The consultation will establish a framework that will attempt to correct this and aid National AIDS Programme Managers (NAPs) and Civil Society Organisations to streamline efforts to advocate for law and policy reform, access to justice and redress, community and health services and financing and sustainability that will assist in creating an enabling environment for vulnerable groups to access HIV prevention and treatment without the fear of stigma and discrimination.

The consultation will also address the absence of key populations' voices at the highest levels of regional advocacy efforts.

The discussion will seek to build on PANCAP's work with key populations and their network to support capacity building, primarily in terms of organisational development and to ensure their access to CARICOM organs including the Chief Medical Officers Caucus, Council for Human and Social Development and where applicable the Heads of Government Conference.

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