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Regional Directors Group in Latin America and the Caribbean on HIV/AIDS

Scaling up regional responses in Latin America and the Caribbean
Fostering UN collaboration at country level

Dra. Mirta Roses

Panama, Panana City. June 29-30, 2009.
News Release.

The Regional Directors Group (RDG) of UNAIDS Cosponsors in Latin America and the Caribbean had a very successful meeting in Panama this week, the last meeting under PAHO's chairmanship. PAHO became the new Chair of the RDG for the 2008/2009 period last year in July 2008, a role it played when the RDG was founded in 2003. UNICEF becomes the new Vice-Chair.

Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) chaired the Regional Directors Group Meeting on HIV/AIDS (LAC RDG on HIV/AIDS) in Panama this week. Dr. Mirta Roses delivered the opening remarks and highlighted that this gathering is a good time to measure progress made over the last year and propose some critical lines of action for the next joint RDG work plan 2010-2011.

"There have been two major works streams over the last year: first to foster UN collaboration at country level, to advance in the implementation of a joint work plan and its costing. To move joint work ahead in concrete priority areas, during 2008-2009, six RDG sub-committees were established and we will hear back from them today of progress in their work."- She added.

The RDG, as it is commonly called, adopted several policies to guide and strengthen the UN joint action against HIV/AIDS at country level. The LAC RDG on HIV/AIDS have long recognized that HIV/AIDS need an immediate response, it requires for the United Nations family and partners to come together in concerted and coordinated action. To achieve the goals and promote the best response to the HIV in the Region, the LAC RDG have been working on the strategies needed to halt the epidemic, decrease risk, vulnerability and impact.

One very positive example of good UN collaboration is the work done on the follow up to the Mexico Declaration. Focus on MARPs is obviously highly relevant in the region. In this spirit, work related to MSM and to prisoners has advanced as through the two respective subcommittees.

Some points of specific interest were: Selection of indicators to monitor implementation of the UNJT; Finalize the mapping of resources; PAF report and review of PAF procedures; Historical background paper on the RDG; CICT evaluation and update on TSF in the Region.

UNAIDS at country level. Supporting countries as they move towards universal access.

UNAIDS focused its country support work on two main areas:

. Improving the AIDS response, assisting countries in the "three ones", the three key principles: one national AIDS action framework, one coordinating authority and, one monitoring and evaluation system.
. Securing political commitment to a dramatic expansion of services for prevention, treatment, care and support through the universal access process.

The Regional Directors Group was created in 2003 to enhance the synergy of the United Nations response to HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is comprised of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the World Bank. All of these organizations are co-sponsors of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

Upcoming meeting:
CONCASIDA 2009: "Juventud y VIH: por mi derecho a saber y decidir" (Youth and HIV: My right to know and decide)

More information about PAHO's director statements on HIV/AIDS »