15 OCTOBER 2008 RAROTONGA (Pacnews) ------ The Pacific Islands AIDS Foundation (PIAF) is proud to announce that it will be hosting the 2nd Forum of the Pacific Alliance of CSOs and PLWHA on HIV and AIDS in Rarotonga from 14 -17 October, 2008.
Attending the Forum will be NGO representatives from FSM, Tonga, Vanuatu, Samoa, PNG, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Niue, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, Kiribati and the Cook Islands, along with 6 HIV Positive delegates from Samoa, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Fiji, PNG, and New Zealand. IAF CEO Maire Bopp explains that the purpose of the Forum is to provide Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and People Living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) from around the Pacific with the opportunity to build towards a co-ordinated response to HIV and AIDS throughout the region. In addition, this Forum will also mark the launch of a new partnership with the Commonwealth Foundation, which will further enhance the unity of CSOS and PLWHA in building an AIDS-free Pacific.Bopp adds that PIAF is honoured to be serving as the current Secretariat for the Pacific Alliance. “The Alliance belongs to the country members and PIAF is delighted to be able to provide Secretariat support,” she said. Highlights of the Forum will include:
*The Opening Ceremony, to be opened by the Honourable Jim Marurai, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, with key remarks from the CI Solicitor General, Tingika Elikana, and PIAF CEO Maire Bopp
*The launch of the Pan Commonwealth Civil Society Network on HIV and AIDS in the Pacific, to be held on Wednesday evening, with keynote speaker Anisha Rajapakse from the Commonwealth Foundation, and key remarks from Julie Affleck of NZAID
*A Meet-and-Greet Community Session with AIDS Ambassadors from around the Pacific
* Sessions and workshops on many important HIV issues facing the Pacific Region today, including testing, counselling, treatment and care, human rights, legal reform, and gender and sexual minorities
The Forum is sponsored by the Commonwealth Foundation with support from MAC AIDS Fund and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)……..PNS (ENDS)