PM Douglas, UNAIDS panel call for new global deal

(Left to right) – Honourable Dr. Denzil Llewellyn Douglas, Prime Minister of the Federation of St Kitts & Nevis; Mr Søren Pind, Minister for Refugees, Immigration and Integration and Minister of Development Cooperation of Denmark, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé, and the General Secretary of the National Confederation of Municipal Workers in Brazil (Central Única dos Trabalhadores) and inter-American Regional co-President for Public Services International Ms Juneia Batista

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JUNE 8TH 2011 – A call for a new global deal of compacts to shift leadership of the AIDS response to countries was made in the first panel Shared responsibility-a new global compact for HIV on the opening day of the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on AIDS.

Chaired by the Honourable Dr. Denzil Llewellyn Douglas, Prime Minister of the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis, the panel brought together the UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé, Mr Søren Pind Minister for Refugees, Immigration and Integration and Minister of Development Cooperation of Denmark, and the General Secretary of the National Confederation of Municipal Workers in Brazil (Central Única dos Trabalhadores) and Inter-American Regional co-President for Public Services International Ms Juneia Batista.

Against the backdrop of the global financial crisis, the panel provided a unique opportunity to build consensus on a new global agreement for the AIDS response that could serve as a pathfinder to a new deal of shared but differentiated responsibility for health and development.

“Shared responsibility is not an option for small states. It is our reality. We have no choice in the Caribbean but to develop shared approaches in all sectors.”

“Small is beautiful. And different,” said Dr. Douglas sharing his experiences from the island Federation of St Kitts & Nevis. “Shared responsibility is not an option for small states. It is our reality. We have no choice in the Caribbean but to develop shared approaches in all sectors.”

Despite the increasing clout of emerging political powers and strong economic growth in many African countries, many national responses to HIV in low- and middle-income countries remain fragile, are largely externally-funded and driven by external development agendas. In 56 countries, international donors supply at least 70% of HIV resources.

Emphasizing the need for mutual respect and understanding in development cooperation Mr Pind encouraged participants to be truthful and work together. “But there are certain principles that you cannot ignore. Like discrimination against populations at higher risk. And this needs to be said,” he noted.

According to the panel, country ownership and sustainability will require increased and predictable long-term domestic and international funding. “Don’t get me wrong, I am all for innovative financing. But certain donors can not hide behind the need for innovative financing to shy away from meeting their commitments on official development assistance,” said Mr Pind.

At the same time, governments must be accountable for increasing domestic investment where possible and allocating resources where they are most needed and putting in place an enabling environment said the panel.

“10 years ago we would not have had this debate. The world has changed completely and we have to reflect on this. It is time to think about a new paradigm of partnership based on share responsibility,” said Mr Sidibé. “And we need share responsibility based on shared values for a social compact.”

Panellists and audience alike discussed priorities such as assuring continued leadership and shared responsibility for the AIDS response, including a new generation of leadership; strengthening broad national ownership and engaging communities in order to foster local and sustainable solutions; securing long-term financing; and increasing efficiency and ensuring mutual accountability for the future global response. Importantly, as noted by Ms Batista: “Shared responsibility and intelligent investment does not mean that countries should in any way adjust in reaching their commitments.”

10 years ago we would not have had this debate. The world has changed completely and we have to reflect on this. It is time to think about a new paradigm of partnership based on share responsibility.

In this light, the new global compact discussed in the panel can be formulated around three key pillars. The country’s responsibility, the international community’s responsibility and the shared responsibility for innovation:

The Country responsibility

  • ensuring voice and participation in democratic governance
  • delivering smart responses—including enabling environments and human rights
  • increased domestic investment on basis of ability

International responsibility

  • responsible ‘donorship’—including long-term predictable and aligned financing
  • increased support from emerging countries and new development partners
  • more coherent international policy on trade, regulation, etc

Shared responsibility for innovation

  • innovative financing mechanisms—including the private sector
  • innovative partnerships including South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation
  • enhanced mutual accountability for the reciprocal responsibility in the compacts including joint planning and reviews of the smart responses

According to the participants, universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support can be achieved by spending smartly and increasing annual investment to between US$ 22 and 24 billion by 2015. These resources can be mobilized by diversifying funding sources and balancing responsibilities.

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