March 23, Panama City
By: Jaevion Nelson
We had a very productive day discussing issues around resource mobilization, both domestic and external for the response to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The meeting sought to identify and develop a strategy around ways in which stakeholders in the region could work collaboratively to facilitate the Caribbean, particularly civil society, playing a greater role in the 5th Replenishment while at the same time encouraging their governments to demonstrate greater commitment to financing health across the region.
Approximately thirty-five persons participated in this important and critical convening of stakeholders from the LAC region. Some of the countries represented included – Jamaica, Haiti, Suriname, Costa Rica, Belize, Guatemala, Paraguay, and Bolivia. I facilitated the meeting and was ably assisted by our extraordinary CFP, Jomain. Peter from GFAN, Loretta and Linda Mafu from TGF Secretariat lead some of the sessions. Linda also had the support of two of her colleagues (whose names I have forgotten) from CRG and Grant Management as well. Erika Castellanos, a transgender and PLHIV activist from Belize, Communities Delegation Member and GFAN Speaker also presented. At the last minute, we decided to allot some time for an additional presentation by Jessica around malaria global advocacy priorities and a project in Haiti.
Throughout the day, participants were engaged in lively and interactive discussions around the investment case, current replenishment process and opportunities around mobilizing resources from external and domestic sources to finance the response to the three diseases. Information was shared about commitments thus far and projected gaps in the 5th replenishment. Importantly, we look at the History of LAC’s Involvement in TGF Replenishment over the years. Not much has been done by civil society or government and this highlighted the urgent need for LAC to enlist themselves in the resource mobilization efforts. Loretta, Linda and Erika shared about their efforts around advocating for increased resources for The Global Fund. Loretta presented about AHF’s Fund the Fund Campaign and also highlighted some of the work we have done in the past such as pushing Russia to contribute to TGF. Peter facilitated an excellent session which challenges TGF’s replenishment targets as being too low and without consideration for other countries it does not invest in. He also looked at effective strategies, the asks and key messages for the Global Fund’s 5th Replenishment.
To close the day, we divided participants in three groups – Caribbean, South America and Central America to identify opportunities and threats to resource mobilization in the region and suggest ways in which these could be leveraged or mitigated, identify key targets for resource mobilization – including high net worth individuals in the region, and to develop three key advocacy strategies. We had some really good ideas coming from the groups, including a suggestion to target world renowned athlete, Usain Bolt to utilize the 2016 Olympics platform for TGF. Jomain wrapped up the meeting identifying the next steps that the Delegation and GFAN will take.
I am most delighted to say that at the end of the meeting eight participants volunteered and committed to working with us further develop the ideas that were tabled and prioritize actions for advocacy.
I’m delighted that we were able to finally do this meeting. It was an excellent way of demonstrating the role we can play as a delegation for the region. It was also a beautiful networking opportunity for the delegation members that were present.
We could not have done this without our funders and partners: GFAN, The Global Fund Secretariat External Relations, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, giZ, JFLAG and host organization; The Caribbean Vulnerable Communities (CVC).
Many thanks to Loretta, and Gaj for the support provided. I am grateful. Huge thanks and commendations to Jomain for all his hard work in planning and executing this event!