GEORGETOWN, Guyana – The Regional Coordinating Mechanism of the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS has just completed another successful meeting with far-reaching implications for the expansion of HIV services in the region.
High on the agenda of the 14th Ordinary Meeting of the body that was held in Barbados on 25-26 March 2010 was the sign off on the work plan and detailed budget for the US$34.5 million grant awarded to PANCAP by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria under its round 9 Call for proposals. These funds will be used by PANCAP primarily to increase access to services for the most-at-risk population groups such as persons living with HIV, youth, men who have sex with men, sex workers and prisoners.
This grant from the Global Fund is the largest single contribution to PANCAP in its nine-year history and has been hailed as a major breakthrough in the regional response to HIV and AIDS.
The Meeting also reviewed progress being made on implementing the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS (2008 – 2012) and developed a range of strategies for ensuring greater synergy between national and regional HIV and AIDS programmes. Among these was the streamlining of plans for the establishment of a PANCAP Regional Technical Support Facility in collaboration with UNAIDS that would ensure high-level technical support to countries in the implementation of projects and programmes.
The Meeting also adopted a number of key recommendations aimed at strengthening the governance arrangements within PANCAP and the strategic management and technical oversight of projects and programmes. This will result in the completion of a PANCAP Constitution by October 2010, while the membership of the Priority Areas Coordinating Committee that provides programme oversight has been streamlined and strengthened.
Decisions were also taken regarding the future development of regional and national networks of persons living with HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean. In this regard, a comprehensive organization and management review of the Caribbean Regional Network of persons living with HIV and its affiliate national networks has been commissioned that will be completed by June 2010.
The Meeting was chaired by Senator, the Honourable Ann Peters, Minister of Health of Grenada and the Standing Chair of the Council of Human and Social Development of CARICOM.
The Regional Coordinating Mechanism is the Executive Board of PANCAP and draws its membership from regional governments, private sector, civil society organizations, youth, bilateral and multilateral partners and development agencies.