Closer cooperation on response to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in the Pacific

SPC /UNAIDS Joint Press Release


Regional cooperation on the response to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is expected to further improve as more than 100 technical and country representatives in the Pacific prepare for two subregional joint planning meetings.

‘Representatives from 20 countries and territories will be taking part in the meetings and participating in the joint planning process with their regional technical and development partners,’ said Dr Dennie Iniakwala, HIV & STI Section Head for the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). With SPC coordinating and leading the events, Dr Iniakwala expects that the two meetings, which replace the one large annual meeting previously held, will better cater to the diversity of Pacific countries and territories.

‘This change to the planning process comes from listening to the countries we provide services to and is a vital part of our ongoing effort to improve the harmonisation, coordination and efficiency of our work on HIV and other STIs.’ Dr Iniakwala also hopes that a stronger country voice at the planning table will result in a more focused response on the ground in each of the participating countries, and from all the partners involved.

Echoing SPC’s comments, UNAIDS Pacific Regional Programme Coordinator, Stuart Watson, said, ‘It is very important that regional partners hear directly from countries and territories what their national priorities are in terms of HIV and other STIs. We can then better target the activities of our joint work plans within the framework of the regional strategy.’


‘We are already seeing progress and improvements regionally,’ says Dr Iniakwala, citing the Pacific Regional Strategy on HIV and other STIs (2009–2013) and the Pacific Islands HIV & STI Response Fund as examples of better coordination. Pacific Forum leaders endorsed the second regional strategy at their 2007 meeting, and according to Dr Iniakwala ‘the Response Fund is designed to provide grants from key donors in a more streamlined, timely and flexible way’ to country and regional partners to help them implement their work plans.


Alongside country representatives, more than 20 regional organisations, including NGOs, faith-based organisations and development agencies and media will attend the two subregional meetings, which will be held in Suva, Fiji, from 27 to 31 October 2008, and Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, from 10 to 14 November 2008.