Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS) — Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis committed Caribbean leaders to pursue ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030, at a UNAIDS Symposium held at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York, U.S.A. on Sunday, September 27th.
“We in the Caribbean wholeheartedly support the Global Strategy proposed by UNAIDS to achieve the bold aspirational goals of ending HIV/AIDS, which aligns with the global health targets in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) approved by the UN,” said Dr. Harris. “Our region of mainly Small Island Development States (SIDS) with a combined population ranging from 15-20 million has identified as a matter of expediency mechanisms for resources to achieve positive national results.”
Dr. Harris noted three functional organisations that cooperated with the Caribbean and contributed to its economic viability with regards to regional integration. These organisations that were established with the support of Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2013, include the Caribbean Cooperation in Health, the Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
“It is by this application of functional cooperation that the Caribbean region boasts of being the first region in the world to eliminate polio and small pox in the 1990’s,” said the Prime Minister, adding it is believed that the Caribbean can be pushed to being the first region in the world to end HIV/AIDS.
Prime Minister Harris said as the region moves forward with this inspirational goal there is recognition that to achieve positive SDG outcomes, the Caribbean will require increased investments from global solidarity.
However, “it is not only about money,” he said, noting that commitment to capacity building, trade, debt sustainability, technology, science and innovation are all imperative. “It also requires progress on the AIDS response that is deeply interwoven with and interdependent on progress across many SDGs.”
The Caribbean has advanced its own programme “Every Caribbean Woman, Every Caribbean Child” and commitments are included in the UN Compendium of Women and Adolescent Health, which were launched by Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General, on Saturday(September 26th) and by the Clinton Global initiative on Sunday (September 27th).
Prime Minister Harris represented the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States as CARICOM Lead Head for Human Resources, Health and HIV.