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Thursday, June 01, 2006 

Caribbean nations call for review of benefit from Global Fund

Thursday, June 1, 2006

BASSETERRE, St Kitts: Caribbean countries on Wednesday called for a revision of the eligibility criteria by the Global AIDS Fund, which places undue emphasis on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) without recognising the vulnerability issues of the Caribbean nations.

The region’s view was outlined by St Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister and Chair of the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP), Dr Denzil Douglas at one of the Round Table Discussions at the UN High-Level Meeting and Comprehensive Review Special Session on HIV/AIDS.

Douglas who chaired the Session at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, noted that with the provision for free movement of persons under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), the criteria will rule out grant support for many of the Caribbean countries.

He noted that a study from the University of the West Indies Health Economics Unit and another by the Caribbean Commission for Health and Development both show that much more resources are required for an HIV/AIDS response in the Region. He said that implicit in the solutions is the need for solid national HIV/AIDS plans on which to base a coordinated response and in this regard the donor community has a critical role to play.

Douglas emphasised that the recommendation on donor harmonisation coming out of the Caribbean Consultations leading up to UNGASS is gaining traction and accords with the policy position of the G 8 and the Global Task Team lead by UNAIDS.

“We desire that the G 8 and other development partners to recognise the significance of this demand especially given the vulnerabilities of small states in the Caribbean with limited resources and high debt burdens, among other constraints,” said Douglas. Citing two significant dimensions to this issue, Douglas noted that the free movement of persons under the CARICOM Single Market and Single Economy will also allow People Living With AIDS (PLWHA) to move unrestricted and with it increase the burdens for prevention, care and treatment programmes on medium and high income economies.

He also pointed out that the Caribbean’s high human mobility, especially the migration of ‘elite migrants’ to rich economies will result in a huge uncompensated labour subsidy. “The fight against HIV is a life-long fight for life that transcends the mobilisation of forces and resources.

Commitment must stand firm, unwavering from the goal of reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS in the population and must cascade to every level of the community with every individual recognising their respective obligation and shared responsibility for action,” said Douglas in summing up the CARICOM/PANCAP briefing document prepared for the United Nations Special Session.

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