United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) recently signed a landmark agreement which will recognise and strengthen the long-standing and fruitful partnership between both organisations. This agreement will chart the way for CARICOM and UNFPA to pursue issues of mutual interest and to improve the quality of life for people in the Caribbean region.The pact was signed at the Launch of a new International UNAIDS Best Practice on the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS on December 14th at Montego Bay, Jamaica. UN Under-Secretary-General/UNFPA Executive Director, Ms. Thoraya Obaid and CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General, Dr. Edward Greene signed the agreement on behalf of their organisations and in the presence of Prime Ministers, Honourable Owen Arthur of Barbados, Honourable Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean, Sir, George Alleyne and UNAIDS Executive Director, Dr. Peter Piot.
Ms. Obaid and Dr. Greene emphasized that by signing the agreement, CARICOM and UNFPA had unequivocally pledged to cooperate more fully in matters related to population and development, including sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, HIV/AIDS, gender equality and the empowerment of women. These issues, they added, were not only central to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, but to the activities and objectives of both organizations.
Ms Obaid assured CARICOM that UNFPA was committed to greater cooperation, mutual consultation, reciprocal representation, the exchange of information, and coordinated operational activities and further committed to do all that could be done to transform the words of the Memorandum of Understanding into action.