Basseterre, St. Kitts, (CUOPM) — Participating in a special panel alongside the Rt. Hon. Helen Clarke, UNDP Administrator and former Prime Minister of New Zealand; St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, urged the delegates to honour the memory of the delegates who perished in Malaysia Air 17 on their way to the Conference by resolving to End AIDS by 2030.
This pledge is in keeping with the Melbourne Declaration which he signed. PM Douglas further said the Caribbean Countries working under the PANCAP network aspire to be the first region in the World to end the AIDS epidemic.
Prime Minister Douglas noted that the formulation on AIDS in the proposed SAMOA declaration to be approved at the Third Small Island Development States (SIDS Conference) was inadequate.
He proposed six key messages These include consolidating the alliance to jointly eliminate poverty and HIV; creating viable partnerships aimed at sustainable development; sustaining and reconfiguring the unfinished Millennium Development Goals within the post 2015 sustainable Development Goals; moving beyond the MDGs with resolve to end the AIDS epidemic; adopting a holistic approach to post 2015 global health applying the lessons learned from the AIDS response; and making Justice for All a fundamental requirement for getting to Zero discrimination as the ultimate of human development.
Dr. Douglas said that while these messages are by no means inclusive, “they at least point in the direction of highlighting those issues of human development which the AIDS movement has illustrated through discussions at these biannual Conferences.”
In noting that in the PANCAP Justice for All programme makes provision for more national consultations and that CARICOM Heads confirmed their commitment to eliminating AIDS related stigma and discrimination, he felt confident that opening up the debates on sexual orientation, sexual and reproductive health and rights and laws that discriminate against gays lesbians, and transgender persons will provide an opportunity to clarify misconceptions that erode the march toward achieving human rights.
“These issues cannot be swept under the carpet. We recognize this intractable challenge of getting to Zero discrimination. It is not just a Caribbean challenge but a global challenge. Countries like Australia have shown that these challenges can be overcome by bold leadership supported by relentless activism” he said.
The 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne has attracted approximately 15,000 participants under the theme “Stepping up the pace”. It aims to ensure that HIV remains on the top of the global agenda and stepping up pace to reverse the trajectory of the epidemic.