Permanent Secretaries and Directors from Human and Social Ministries across the OECS region and Development Partners came together for a one day meeting to discuss key issues and challenges in human and social development at the technical level. Discussions focused on improving coordination, strengthening capacity, access to data as well as information and strengthening of systems for the implementation of responsive and resilient social inclusion and social protection mechanisms. The meeting concluded with key decisions on the strategic priorities to be brought to the attention of Ministers at the Eighth Council of Ministers: Human and Social Development Meeting for informational purposes and decision-making in the social sector.
The OECS Commission has a mandate, in accordance with the Revised Treaty of Basseterre (2010), to engender cooperation among Member States in an effort to achieve the harmonization of systems. The Social Inclusion and Social Protection (SISP) Unit of the OECS Commission pursues functional cooperation in the field of Social Development, in recognition of the value of the collaborative effort in dealing with very complex social issues and their impact on Small Island Developing States.
A core aspect of the TAC meeting was the OECS Regional Social Inclusion and Social Protection (SISP) Strategic Action Plan 2023-2030. In alignment with Article 23 of the 2010 Revised Treaty of Basseterre establishing the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Economic Union, the OECS SISP Strategic Action Plan 2023-2030 will set the foundation and serve as a key guiding document in the social sector for the OECS and toward a better quality of life for people in the OECS region through achieving the associated sustainable development goals (SDGs). It aims at providing a common regional strategic action plan for addressing issues of social protection, equal access to quality social services and empowerment across the life-cycle for the OECS region. It emphasizes the promotion and protection of human rights, non-discrimination, respect for diversity, equality of opportunity, solidarity, security, and participation of all people.
Additionally, as highlighted in the draft SISP Action Plan 2023-2030, data and information are invaluable to policy development and intervention design. Statistics to monitor the results of interventions and to inform improvement are also indispensable for social inclusion and protection programmes.
The Key Decisions emanating from the meeting are as follows:
- Endorsed and re-committed to the implementation of the Social Inclusion Social Protection Action Plan, 2023-2030;
- Agreed to a holistic regional approach for data and information to facilitate evidenced-based decision-making in order to drive Social Inclusion and Social Protection at levels;
- Strongly recommended a capacity building and sensitisation programme to enhance the understanding of Social Inclusion and Social Protection across all levels and sectors;
- Encouraged the prioritisation of the legislative agenda to accelerate the implementation of Social Inclusion and Social Protection; and
- Agreed to promoted a multi-sectoral coordinated approach to leverage Public Sector Resources to better support Social Inclusion and Social Protection.