Delegates Exploring Strategies To Enhance Shock-Responsive Social Protection Systems

Minister of State Isalean Phillip.
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Basseterre, St. Kitts – Delegates from across the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) are meeting in St. Kitts and Nevis over the next four days to discuss and develop strategies to enhance resilience in social protection programmes.

Minister of State Isalean Phillip.

The March 19 to 22, 2024, conference is the 9th Meeting of the Technical Advisory Committee for the OECS Council of Minister of Social Development. The series of meetings at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort is billed as a Shock Response Social Protection Learning Event. Topics such as social rights, shock-responsive social protection and information management systems will be explored.

Minister of State responsible for Social Development, the Honourable Isalean Phillip, welcomed the delegates to the twin-island Federation during an opening ceremony on Tuesday (March 19). She noted that the discussion on social rights is pressing, given the proposed expansion of the free movement of people, goods and services within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) at the end of the month. Several member states have not signed on to this expansion.

I encourage all of us to be conscious of the wider regional developments as you expand the application of social rights for all persons across the region,” the minister of state said. “I think it is safe to say that we understand that one size fits all is not necessarily the case, and we need to recognise that, in relation to the differences that our islands have.”

Honourable Phillip added that collecting, digitizing, and managing information is essential to the region’s sustainability in meeting persons where they are. She applauded the collaboration across social protection systems to be reviewed including presentations from Social Security Boards and national insurance systems.

Sisera Simon, Head of the Human and Social Division at the OECS Commission, addressed the gathering virtually and expressed her commitment to developing more resilient processes.

Let us remain steadfast in our commitment to strengthen resilience through shock-responsive systems by taking concrete steps towards the enhancement of policies and management information systems,” she stated. “We can empower individuals and communities to withstand and recover from adversity, ultimately building a more resilient and inclusive society for all.”

Ms. Simon noted the critical support of international agencies, including the World Food Programme, International Labour Organization, UNICEF and USAID, in the discussions geared towards improving the lives of citizens and residents in the OECS.

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