GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- The Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) and Caribbean faith leaders will host a consultation on ending HIV and AIDS by 2030. The consultation takes place on 1-2 February 2017, in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and is being co-funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and AIDS HealthCare Foundation.
The consultation, which is being led by faith leaders with support from the PANCAP Coordinating Unit, has attracted approximately 55 religious and lay leaders representing different faiths and denominations across the Caribbean. According to director of the PANCAP Coordinating Unit (PCU), Dereck Springer, ‘The consultation is for Caribbean faith leaders by faith leaders, given the crucial role of the faith community in ending AIDS.”
The consultation will focus on faith leaders’ contributions to end the epidemic by 2030. Specifically, it will address the recommendations from the UN High Level 2016 political declaration and agree on strategies to promote healthy living for all age groups; review best practices; identify gaps to be filled, resources required, and types of regional cooperation.
The targets established at the United Nations high level meeting political declaration in June 2016 on ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals approved by 192 nations at the UN in September 2015 will be considered, with emphasis on Goal 3: ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages.
This universal health goal includes ending the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, other neglected tropical diseases and preventable deaths of newborns and children under five years of age by 2030; reducing maternal mortality and mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs). As a result, priority is being given to universal health coverage, health systems strengthening, building capability towards a healthy environment and increasing financial sustainability. Achieving these targets require shared responsibility, including among religious organizations, governments, private sector and civil society.
In this light, the consultation will receive two presentations. Professor Clive Landis, deputy principal of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus will present on What the Science is saying; while Rev. Dr Nyambura Njoroge, representative of the World Council of Churches – Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy will present on The Role of Faith Leaders.
According to member of the executive planning committee for the Caribbean faith leaders consultation, Lorna McPherson, “What I am most impressed with is the fact that the consultation will facilitate discussions that are not just about religion, but instead we will be discussing the totality of the issue surrounding HIV and how it affects our communities. It will allow us as leaders to examine how we can reach beyond our own sphere of influence and provide support to people who are not members of our community.”
Following the conclusion of the consultation, a communiqué will be issued with details of the way forward for Caribbean faith leaders and their role in ending HIV and AIDS.
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 builds capacity of partners.