Hon. Eric Evelyn, (left) Minister of Social Development in the Nevis Island Administration and Mr. Anslem Caines, Senior Policy Officer in the Social Policy and Sustainable Development Unit on Nevis.

CHARLESTOWN, Nevis — Hon. Eric Evelyn, Minister responsible for Social Development on Nevis, believes the social programmes implemented by the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), through the Ministry of Social Development, are ahead of others in the region.

Evelyn expressed that sentiment following his attendance and participation as a panellist at the Third session of the Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean in Lima, Peru from Aug. 7 to 9. It was his first official overseas engagement as a government minister.

“All of the islands and all of the countries that participated did not submit their reports,” Evelyn explained. “In terms of reports that I gleaned, I think we are head and shoulders above all other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean in terms of our programmes in regard to the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development.”

The conference had three objectives: To examine the first regional draft report on the implementation of the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development; to present national progress on the implementation of the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development; and to consider a proposal for a virtual platform for the regional follow-up of the Montevideo Consensus.

The minister said the Nevis report highlighted the programmes instituted by the NIA in the program areas.

“We reported great things happening on Nevis for our young people, programmes from our Youth Department, and excellent programmes we have for our seniors,” he said. “We also reported on our sexual and reproductive health programs and human rights.”

The minister, accompanied by Anselm Caines, Senior Policy Officer in the Social Policy and Sustainable Development Unit, described the event as worthwhile and thanked everyone who was instrumental in preparing the report.

Following his presentation of the report, the minister received positive feedback from António Guterres, Secretary General of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and other conferees.

The next meeting will be held in two years. Evelyn said in the meantime, the administration will continue to consolidate its social programmes in those areas.

“We will continue to work to strengthen our programs for young people, our ageing population, human rights, sexual and reproductive health, fighting domestic violence and any other topics in the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development.

“I think we have a good thing going here in Nevis,” Evelyn explained. “All we have to do is consolidate. My ministry and departments will continue to work hard to ensure that we keep apace of what is happening in Latin America and the Caribbean. We have to ensure that we continue to have a good report where this Consensus is concerned.”

The conference was organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the government of Peru with support from and UNFPA.

The Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean is a subsidiary body of ECLAC. It was established with the ultimate responsibility of monitoring and reviewing issues relating to population and development, international migration, indigenous peoples and Afro-descent populations and ageing.

The Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development was adopted in 2013 at the first session of the Regional Conference on Population and Development. Countries in Latin American and Caribbean that adopted the Consensus have agreed to prioritise population dynamics in sustainable development, issues of youth and ageing, and access to sexual and reproductive health services.

Among nations represented at the conference were St. Kitts and Nevis, Jamaica, Montserrat, Antigua and Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Belize, Suriname and Guyana.