Government is actively engaged in executing a Social Policy Framework.

Word of this has come from Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett, as he addressed the opening ceremony of the third workshop on Social Policy and International Cooperation for the Caribbean Region, at the Hilton Barbados, today.

Commending the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Social Protection Network (IASPN), for coordinating the ???strategic and timely??? workshop, Minister Blackett stated that it was a critical time for transformative changes to be made in approaches to social protection, noting that there was a need to move from ???the insular to the progressive???.

???My ministry recognises that forward looking national social policy is critical at this juncture and we aim to develop an integrated, multi-sectoral, human rights-based Social Policy Framework which will assist in strengthening collaboration and programming across government agencies and all stakeholders.

???This is in recognition of the need to focus more on priority setting and to distill our policies in such a manner that we can more effectively implement programs utilising scarce resources that are guaranteed of success,??? the Social Care Minister pointed out.

He further explained that through the Framework there would be an evaluation of existing social protection instruments to reduce duplication, while revealing gaps in the coverage of risks and vulnerabilities.

???It is my government???s plan to have social protection placed at the heart of this country???s national development strategy; for we are a people-centred government. We intend to address the issue of sustained vulnerability which forces households to become the epitomes of behaviour dysfunction; perpetuating the cycle of deprivation and poverty,??? Mr. Blackett maintained.

The Minister also reaffirmed Government???s commitment to working with the OAS and its member states for the promotion of an integrated social protection policy framework for the Caribbean.

He pointed out that there were common risks, vulnerabilities and deficiencies that were inherent to the Caribbean, and stressed the need for countries within the region to work together to further explore an approach to social protection.

???I entreat all of our policy makers to embrace the widened concept that will facilitate equal access for the empowerment of the most vulnerable and at risk individuals and communities in the region, so as to ensure that the rights of everyone to food, health, education, housing, and decent employment are acknowledged and addressed,??? the Social Care Minister stressed.

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