U.S. Mission to the AU along with the AU Commission for Social Affairs and PEPFAR Ethiopia unveil “Partnership Quilt”
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 23, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On January 21, U.S. Ambassador to the African Union Michael Battle, AU Commissioner for Social Affairs Dr. Mustapha Kaloko, and PEPFAR Ethiopia Coordinator Dr. Carmela Green-Abate unveiled a Partnership Quilt to cement their joint commitment to an AIDS-free generation in Africa. The quilt will be displayed at the AU for the duration of the 20th AU Summit.
Quilts have a long history in the West and are used as tools of artistic expression and individualism; quilts are a powerful way to connect people with their roots, traditions, and causes they strongly believe in. With this tradition in mind, the Partnership Quilt allowed stakeholders in the fight against HIV/AIDS and gender inequality to showcase their partnership and express their vision, insight, and commitment to this social cause in a creative way. Thirteen organizations from civil society, government offices, religious institutions, media, academic institutions, women’s associations and health care providers are represented in the quilt.
During a press conference before the unveiling ceremony, the group discussed joint advocacy efforts to work together for an AIDS-free generation in Africa, work that underscores the strong partnership among the various stakeholders in the fight against HIV/AIDS, including the United States and the African Union.
U.S. Ambassador Battle highlighted the momentum he has seen building within the AU Commission for Social Affairs as it pertains to the work the African Union is doing on HIV and AIDS awareness and prevention as both the U.S. and the AU mobilize a global effort to achieve an AIDS-free generation – which he defined as an ambitious, but reachable, goal. He cited that the AU was a critical partner in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, and as such, was the right location to launch the Partnership Quilt. “The AU provides the perfect backdrop to continue continental dialogue and spark creative ideas in fighting HIV and AIDS,” stated the Ambassador.
AU Commissioner Kaloko emphasized that the African Union is committed to collaborate and coordinate with all stakeholders and partners to insure an AIDS-free generation. This is possible through sustained advocacy, a strong partnership and a fervent commitment to combat gender inequality in Africa.
The AU Department of Social Affairs encourages Africa’s leadership at the very top to regularly advocate for urgent action by all actors, to combat and to stop HIV/AIDS during high level regional, continental and international forums, AIDS Watch Africa Action Committee meetings, and World AIDS Day commemorations.
In her remarks, PEPFAR Ethiopia Coordinator Dr. Carmela Green-Abate focused the discussion on another major theme of the Partnership Quilt, the role of women in the fight against HIV/AIDS on the African continent. As part of the effort to go where the virus is, the U.S. is focusing even more intently on women and girls, because they are still at higher risk than men of acquiring HIV; which is usually further exacerbated due to gender inequity and violence. Through the partnering with the AU, the U.S. can assist with the formulation of continental HIV/AIDS programs that recognize the particular needs of women and girls, integrate these efforts with family planning and reproductive health services and work to prevent and respond to gender-based violence. Additional efforts also include investing in girls’ education, addressing gender inequality, and increasing access to HIV/AIDS related services; steps that have been proven to lower their risk of contracting the virus.
Released by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton on World AIDS Day 2012, in the presence of the AU Chairperson Dr. Dlamini-Zuma and UNAIDS Representative Michele Sidibe, the PEPFAR Blueprint is a roadmap for getting to an AIDS-free generation, a policy imperative of the U.S. The Blueprint lays out five goals and many specific steps on how the U.S., and partners, will accomplish those goals. Further, the Blueprint allows for reflection on lessons learned in the fight against HIV/AIDS, while also making clear that the United States’ commitment will remain strong, comprehensive and driven by science.
PEFFAR Blueprint: Creating an AIDS-free Generation
Scientific advances and their successful implementation have brought the world to a tipping point in the fight against AIDS. The United States believes that by making smart investments based on sound science and a shared global responsibility, we can save millions of lives and achieve an AIDS-free generation.
PEPFAR’s Principles for the Blueprint
To fulfill this vision, PEPFAR has based its blueprint on the following principles:
• Make strategic, scientifically sound investments to rapidly scale-up core HIV prevention, treatment and care interventions and maximize impact.
• Work with partner countries, donor nations, civil society, people living with HIV, faith-based organizations, the private sector, foundations and multilateral institutions to effectively mobilize, coordinate and efficiently utilize resources to expand high-impact strategies, saving more lives sooner.
• Focus on women and girls to increase gender equality in HIV services.
• End stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and key populations, improving their access to, and uptake of, comprehensive HIV services.
• Set benchmarks for outcomes and programmatic efficiencies through regularly assessed planning and reporting processes to ensure goals are being met.
These principles drive all of PEPFAR’s work and are the foundation for the road maps that comprise the blueprint. Each road map—the Road Map for Saving Lives; the Road Map for Smart Investments; the Road Map for Shared Responsibility; and the Road Map for Driving Results with Science—contains specific goals and comprehensive action and implementation steps on how PEPFAR will support partner countries’ efforts to meet these goals.
African Union Commission (AUC)