PM Harris gives Caribbean’s support to end HIV/AIDS

Prime Minister Harris was speaking at a United Nations AIDS symposium days after his address to the United Nations Assembly, and he urged the strengthening of partnerships in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

He said, “I appeal to other members of the joint programme to accelerate rather than decelerate your partnership with CARICOM.  I am reaching out to my counterparts in Africa, Asia and Latin America to pursue South-South cooperation and global solidarity.”

He affirmed that the region believes in achieving its slogan, ‘Caribbean- First to Zero’.

According to Harris, the Caribbean success in HIV/AIDS has been due to a high level of collaboration and institutional partnerships. He stated, “The Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) instituted with the assistance of UNAIDS in 2001, and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) established with the support of PAHO/WHO in 2013, are all illustrations of functional cooperation that contributes in no small measure to the economic viability, the hallmark of Caribbean regional integration.”

But having commended the collaboration, he noted that to achieve the new goal on HIV/AIDS the Caribbean region will require greater financial and technical resources in the context of the challenges of small developing states and their ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

Harris noted, “It is not only about money. It includes commitments to capacity building, trade, debt sustainability, technology, science and innovation.  It also requires progress on the AIDS response that is deeply interwoven with, and interdependent on, progress across many SDGs.  Conversely, ending the AIDS epidemic will fuel progress across many areas of sustainable development.

However, in projecting a broader perspective for Sustainable Development in the Caribbean, the prime minister gave focus to programs designed to protect and to respond to the issues of Caribbean women – Every Caribbean Woman, Every Caribbean Child. He said, “We in the Caribbean are serious about reducing violence against women, teenage pregnancies, cervical cancer and eliminating mother to child transmission of HIV.”

He continued, “I am pleased to join Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and the First Ladies and spouses of the Region in championing this initiative.   I am pleased that one of the champions, First Lady Sandra Granger of Guyana is able to join us this afternoon. She is a strong advocate for eliminating the illegal Trade in Persons.”

Prime Minister Harris led a St. Kitts and Nevis delegation to the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

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