Social protection involves reducing poverty and protecting the vulnerable- both factors of sustainable development.
This was the 5th meeting of the Council of Ministers of Human and Social Development.
The theme was Placing Human Dignity At The Centre Of Development.
In line with that theme, seven sub topics were identified: resilient environments, foster care, citizenship and identity, gender and age, global and regional partnership, social protection for children, and strengthening social protection in general.
The featured speaker was Dominica’s own Hon Minister for Social Development, Dr Kenneth Darroux.
Minister Darroux highlighted the need for this conversation particularly in the context of a changing climate.
He highlighted that Dominica’s governance has already been designed to identify the vulnerable at the basic level.
“Here in Dominica we are fortunate to have Local Government or Village Councils which are governed by legislation. This allows us to reach out to some of these more vulnerable populations especially following disasters.
“We need to understand that before disaster we have vulnerable populations and these are the people who tend to fall through the cracks in the mayhem and chaos which follows after hurricanes.
“We really need to focus on the issue of climate change and what happens to these groups: the elderly, the economically-challenged, etc. This is something to which I’m hoping we can pay special attention,” Hon Darroux said.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry for Social Services, Letitia Lestrade-Wyke revealed that permanent secretaries and others regional stakeholders had their own meeting to conceive recommendations which were presented at the council meeting the following day.
“On day one of the meeting, we will focus on the OECS Current Growth Programme, obligations of member states, local and regional partnerships for effective social protection as well as regional models in [building] resilient environments, among others.
On day two, we will focus on safety, justice and social protection for vulnerable communities,” Lestrade-Wyke detailed.
The two-day event ended with a site visit to the Kalinago Territory followed by a community forum.