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CARICOM Ministers Meeting To Focus on Gender

(CARICOM Secretariat, Georgetown, Guyana) When Ministers of the CARICOM Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) assemble in Georgetown for their twelfth meeting which commences on Wednesday April 27th, they will concentrate mainly on social issues that currently affect women and men across the Region.

During their two-day deliberations, the COHSOD will discuss an extensive agenda covering issues including the results of a Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) funded study on gender mainstreaming in education, proposals for mainstreaming gender in macro-economic policy and trade, status of implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG's) and Aging.

The CDB study which focuses on gender gaps in relation to participation and achievement in education at the secondary and tertiary levels was conducted by the University of the West Indies (UWI). It is considered significant particularly as the Region prepares its human resource base to better handle the new work environment that is dictated by global changes. Ministers of the COHSOD are expected to be apprised of the socialisation influences that contribute to the nature of gender imbalances that exist between males and females in the education systems in the CARICOM Region and use the conclusions of the findings to inform policies.

The Meeting will also review the outcome of the Beijing+10 process and programme and the CARICOM Plan of Action. Ministers and other officials will identify the challenges faced in the implementation of the Beijing+10, assess the relevance of the Plan and advise on the way forward.

Also included for discussion at the 12th Meeting of the COHSOD is the status of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in CARICOM Member States including a report on the special meeting on Stigma and Discrimination held in St Kitts and Nevis in 2004 where the Champions for Change Initiative was launched.

In addition, the meeting will consider the recommendations and conclusions of a Study on “Social Protection and Poverty Reduction in the Caribbean” which proposes that social protection be viewed as a central component of development and growth strategies for the Caribbean. The Ministers will be pointed to the evidence of uneven performance of economies and persistent poverty in CARICOM Member States, and the recommendation that an integrated institutional response is required in order to find the synergies between social protection and policies to reduce poverty and inequality. Having received recommendations, the Ministers are expected to agree on strategies and initiatives for Regional action.

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