PRESS RELEASE-In partnership with the United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF) and UN Women, the Government of Saint Lucia, through the Ministry of Social Transformation, Local Government and Community Empowerment initiated a participatory process to develop a National Social Protection Policy in 2011.
The aim is to achieve minimum standards of living for those most in need, guarantee systematic human capital investments, and promote participation in the labour market.
The Ministry laboured to formulate a draft policy document that encapsulates the paradigmatic shift towards a transformative Social Protection system in Saint Lucia. This document was the subject of a recent National Consultation. The objective of this consultation was to provide a final opportunity to stakeholders to conduct a critical, technical review of the draft National Social Protection Policy.
In attendance was Ms. Isiuwa Iyahen, Programme Specialist (Economic and Political Leadership), UN Women Multi-Country Office – Caribbean, and representative for both UN Women and UNICEF, who provided an address on the collaborative effort UNICEF and UN Women have engaged in under a UN joint venture for developing Social Protection systems in the OECS.
“By developing this social protection policy, Saint Lucia is taking a very important step forward in meeting its critical human rights commitments (as a signatory to several international conventions) including the promotion of social protection not as a gift, but as an entitlement- as a right,” Ms. Iyahen said.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Transformation, Local Government and Community Empowerment, Ms. Juliana Alfred noted that “The Ministry’s journey in the formulation of the draft National Social Protection Policy has been long and productive. I must underscore the importance of this process and the final document, within the context of the wider Social Safety Net Reform in our efforts to cater to a variety of segments of the population.”
Presentations of each section of the draft policy document were given by members of the Social Safety Net Reform Team, and stakeholders were provided the opportunity to critique every aspect of the document. The discussions were vibrant and recommendations were made to further improve the draft policy document.
As a next step, the Ministry will be meeting with the National Steering Committee to finalise the recommendations and prepare the Policy document for submission to the Cabinet of Ministers for their endorsement and approval.