UNDP Jamaica successfully transitioned the Principal Recipient role of the regional Global Fund Grant ‘Challenging stigma and discrimination to improve access to and quality of HIV services in the Caribbean’ to Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) effective 1 October 2018.
An essential component of UNDP’s mandate and role is building the capacity of National Entities. This often includes strengthening reporting, financial management and governance systems. As such, UNDP’s role as Principal Recipient (PR) is always an interim role, as it seeks to build the capacity of partners to assume leadership of the grant. As PR, UNDP has worked closely with CVC over the past two years, to address challenges and enhance systems and controls. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (Global Fund) formally assessed the capacity of CVC to manage the grant in March 2018 and advised that CVC has demonstrated the required capacities.
This important milestone was achieved through close coordination and strong collaboration between UNDP and CVC, with close support from Centro de Orientation e Investigacion Integral (COIN) in the Dominican Republic. This is only the second time a regional civil society organisation will play such an important role in Global Fund grant implementation in the Caribbean Region.
UNDP worked with CVC and the Global Fund to develop a roadmap for transition of the PR role with key milestones to monitor progress. A transition working group was established under the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) and regularly monitored progress against the roadmap. Through a proactive, solution orientated approach, the ultimate goal has been achieved.
UNDP worked as interim Principal Recipient for the first two years of the grant. During this time over 265 Key Populations (KP) leaders have been trained in legal literacy as well as the use of the regional Shared Incident Database (SID) for reporting Human Rights Violations. Through the combined efforts of over 20 CSOs, 967 incidents of human rights violations have been reported into the regional SID. Under the grant, 7 national joint CSO/ National Aids Programme meetings have been held to address gaps within the continuum of care for specific KP populations groups.
In partnership with CSOs and the TAG, UNDP has enabled CVC to assume this important regional role and to contribute to a sustainable and resilient HIV response to the region.
UNDP will continue to support initiatives in the region that address the legal, social and economic barriers that key populations including men who have sex with men (MSM), sex-workers and transgender people face on a routine basis. Homophobia and transphobia, violate basic rights, and affect many individuals in the region. This may include individuals ability to find work, obtain legal representation, access housing as well as healthcare. UNDP’s work recognises that discrimination against vulnerable and marginalized communities is seriously hampering the global effort to tackle the HIV epidemic. The Global Commission on HIV and the Law emphasizes that “that governments must take urgent action to ensure rights-based responses to HIV and its co-infections”. The need for evidence and rights-based laws and policies is essential to drive progress and ensure the ambitious 90-90-90 targets whereby by 2020; 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status; 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy; 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression, are reached.
As UNDP continues to strengthen its partnerships across the region, the partnership with CVC will continue to be important. Through UNDPs human rights work, UNDP will continue to support the initiatives and activities under the grant. UNDP will also continue to provide a wealth of resources and knowledge sharing.