The agreement is expected to facilitate protection programs in the region on the rights of children.
The original PCA between UNICEF and the OECS Commission was signed for the period 2012-2014; and following a mid-term review in 2014, this recent ceremony heralds the second phase of the PCA for another two and a half year term.
Director General of the OECS Commission, Dr. Didacus Jules, commended UNICEF and its work in the Caribbean, while highlighting its ongoing advocacy for children’s rights and the protection of young people. He said the emphasis in this new agreement is to make the collaboration “bite” effectively in key areas, so that the most vulnerable receive the deserved benefits through more efficient research. He also noted the need for enhanced attention to early childhood education programs with increased focus on children five years and younger, suggesting that, as research has shown, it will impact positively on performance results at the secondary level.
The United Nations Children’s Fund said it values the OECS Commission as an international partner organization and recognizes that the OECS shares a commitment to the principles set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
Khin-Sandy Lwin of UNICEF who signed the agreement with Dr. Jules reiterated the need to support and implement further programs for child and youth development despite the harsh financial challenges affecting the countries of the Eastern Caribbean. The UNICEF official acknowledged the value of the relationship with the OECS as a fundamental and critical platform for facilitating dialogue and implementation of key interventions for the advancement of children in the region.
The deepened collaboration is described as strategic for strengthening regional harmonization, education, standardization and exchanges among OECS full and associate member states.