Caricom hosting national consultations on draft regional gender policy

Caricom hosting national consultations on draft regional gender policy

Saturday, February 09, 2019

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ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC) — Antigua and Barbuda is hosting the first of 15 national consultations on a draft Regional Gender Equality Strategy for the 15-member Caribbean Community (Caricom) grouping.

The consultation is bringing together various stakeholders including government, non-government organisations, civil society, private sector and faith-based groups.

The organisers said that the consultations will allow delegates to provide opinions and recommendations on the strategy as it relates to a situation analysis of gender equality, equity and the empowerment of women and girls in each member country.

The national consultations will also examine gaps and assess what can be some of the “quick wins” that could be harnessed to continue achieving progress in the six priority areas of the strategy. The priority areas identified include equality and social inclusion, freedom from violence, access to health services, access to education, good governance, and economic empowerment.

Deputy programme manager, gender and development at the Guyana-based Caricom Secretariat, Ann-Marie Williams, who is leading on the consultations, said it is also expected that participants will better understand the gains made in gender equality and equity since the Beijing Declaration in 1995, while identifying what needs to be done in order to fast-track progress.

Williams said that the strategy was crafted using a rights-based approach that took into consideration vulnerable groups, particularly the disabled and indigenous peoples.

During Thursday’s consultation here, she said that the goal of the strategy is to accelerate the effective implementation of priority actions through a regional coordinated approach to achieve gender equality, equity and the empowerment of women and girls in tandem with Goal 5 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which relates to the empowerment of all women and girls and is the driver of all the other 16 SDGs.

The deputy programme manager said the strategy is also aligned with the Convention on the Elimination Of All Forms Of Discrimination Against Women, the Samoa Pathway, the Montevideo Consensus, and other regional and international frameworks on the advancement of gender and development that Caricom member states ratified.

Caricom said that as part of the national consultations, key informant interviews will also be conducted in some of the countries.

It said the purpose of those interviews is to find out how key informants can assist with advancing gender equality in those countries.

The consultations will continue in Belize on April 5, as well as Grenada in May, and Jamaica in June.

“It is expected that all 15 Caricom member states will provide their input on the strategy, after which it will be reviewed and the necessary amendments made for a final document to be produced,” the secretariat added.

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