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Posted in: Statements from CARICOM Meetings by admin | 16 February 2006 | Release Ref #: 42/2006 | 2063

    The Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP), convened its first meeting with the Donor Community on Monday 13 February 2006, at the Knutsford Court Hotel, Kingston, Jamaica. The meeting focused on Improving Harmonisation of HIV/AIDS programme activity with particular emphasis on more standardised funding and reporting arrangements.

    The engagement between PANCAP and the Donor Community carried several objectives. These included PANCAP’s presentation of an overview of its work to the donors, outlining the Partnership’s conceptualisation on how efforts at harmonisation can enhance and complement ongoing attempts to strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of PANCAP’s activities.

    Another objective of the meeting was for participants to identify the steps required to transform PANCAP from a project to programme-based partnership and, in particular the financial management options that would support the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework and obtain donors support for PANCAP’s Implementation Performance System (PIPS).

    In his opening remarks, CARICOM Secretariat Assistant Secretary-General for Human and Social Development, Dr. Edward Greene said that the issue of harmonisation has been on the agenda since 2001. He highlighted the multiplicity of requirements of the donors as an important basis for the pursuit of harmonisation. He suggested, in this regard, that consideration be given to the harmonisation of legal and regulative procedures that are essential to programme management but are sometimes a barrier to speedy implementation of projects.

    All PANCAP donor partners were invited to participate in the meeting. Also participating in the meeting were representatives of the CARICOM Secretariat, including the PANCAP Coordinating Unit (PCU), government representatives of CARICOM Member States and Associate Members, a representative of the Netherlands Antilles, the private sector, non-governmental organisations, and faith-based organisations.

    The Meeting considered the framework within which PANCAP seeks to develop its approach to harmonisation. It also discussed ongoing or planned initiatives that would support this approach, and the regional institutions that have been involved in these efforts. Participants were encouraged to identify how they would be able to support the harmonisation agenda. Also discussed were the challenges that needed to be addressed and processes that should accompany any harmonisation effort.

    The Meeting also deliberated on the ideas that support the structure of the PIPS, its potential impact on monitoring implementation progress at the regional and national levels, and the challenges associated with its maintenance, of which examples of its usage by regional organisations were provided.

    Donors accepted in principle, the PIPS as a common implementation performance reporting tool from PANCAP, which would reduce the transaction costs associated with providing separate reports in differing formats to a variety of donors.

    The Meeting resulted in a number of recommendations to be carried forward to the PANCAP Regional Coordinating Mechanism (RCM) in July 2006. These included a commitment to harmonisation as an important way to improve the effective response to HIV/AIDS; agreement that a mechanism be established to ensure the availability of a common pool of resources for regional and national programmes; agreement that emphasis should be placed on designing and implementing a harmonisation agenda, taking into consideration that a programme response to HIV/AIDS is taking place at national, regional and international levels.

    It was also agreed that the elements of the harmonisation strategy should include revision of the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework (CRSF) by May 2006; the development of a resource and expenditure envelope to match the various elements in the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework by June 2006; moving PANCAP’s agenda from a project to programme-based operation; streamlining the functioning of the PCU, and establishing common fiduciary procedures and processes.

    In addition, the way forward was hinged on strengthening the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) capability; strengthening strategic information and communication; utilising the PIPS as a common tool for reporting to Donors; the establishment of a committee comprising representatives of the RCM and Donor partners to elaborate a plan of action for harmonisation to be discussed and approved by the RCM, by July 2006.

    In thanking delegates for attending the meeting, Coordinator of International Programmes in the Department for International Development (DFID), and representative of the donor partners on the Regional Coordinating Mechanisms for PANCAP, Mr. Malcolm Mc Neal, stated that the discussion had reached the stage where all stakeholders agreed in principle. He added that the meeting was an opportune time for participants to formulate concrete plans on how to make harmonisation work.