Parliamentarians to discuss their role in ending HIV and AIDS by 20

PRESS RELEASE:-Friday, May 12, 2017 (PANCAP Coordinating Unit, CARICOM Secretariat): The Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) will host the Honourable Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis at the PANCAP Regional Parliamentarians Forum from 30 – 31 May, 2017 in Kingston, Jamaica.

In addition to the Hon. Timothy Harris, parliamentarians from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago are scheduled to attend the Forum.

The Honourable Delroy Chuck, Minister of Justice, Jamaica will deliver the keynote address during the opening ceremony on Tuesday, May 30.

Ambassador Manorma Soeknandan, Deputy Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, Dr Douglas Slater, Assistant Secretary-General, Directorate for Human and Social Development, Dr Edward Greene, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean, Canon Garth Minott, Chair of The Regional Consultative Steering Committee for the Implementation of Recommendations to end AIDS by 2030 and UN partners are expected to attend the Forum.

Selected key population leaders from the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC), Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities (CariFLAGS), Caribbean Sex Work Coalition (CSWC) and the Caribbean Network of People Living with HIV (CRN+) will be in attendance.

The focus of the Forum will be a discussion on the targets of the Political Declaration of June 2016 and the implications for parliaments in the Caribbean. Parliamentarians are also expected to establish the foundations for increased engagement with national parliaments and national Parliamentary Committees on Health/Social Protection and on Justice especially in countries such as Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, which have higher HIV prevalence rates.

Parliamentarians will also utilize the Forum to assess their role in promoting healthy living and well-being for all ages in the region; identify the constitutional challenges posed by the criminalisation of sex between consenting adults and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation and suggest strategies that parliamentarians can adopt to advocate for the end AIDS by 2030. Parliamentarians will also be updated on global best practices related to parliamentarians’ engagement on these issues.

The Forum will take into consideration the targets established in (a) the United Nations High Level Meeting Political Declaration June 2016 on ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 and (b) the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) approved by 192 nations at the United Nations (UN) in September 2015.

Special attention will be given to SDG 3: ‘ensuring healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages’ and SDG 16: ‘promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels’.

The meeting, which is funded by the Global Fund and facilitated by the PANCAP Coordinating Unit and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), forms part of a wider intervention programme created by PANCAP within its Justice For All (JFA) Roadmap. The JFA was initiated in 2013 by PANCAP, based on consultations with faith leaders, civil society, youth, the private sector and parliamentarians.

The Regional Parliamentarians Forum is expected to result in the formation of significant strategies, which will inform the critical steps regional parliamentarians can implement to contribute effectively to ending HIV transmission and deaths from AIDS.

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