The Twenty-Sixth Meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) got underway on Wednesday at the CARICOM Headquarters in Georgetown Guyana. The Council is being chaired by Minister of Health and Social Services from Montserrat, Hon. Colin Riley and is being hosted with support from the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN Women and the Caribbean Development Bank.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Minister Riley said discussions would entail looking at the implementation of the CSME through what he called “gender lens”.
He said the progress towards the implementation of Decent work programmes in the region and human capacity development with a focus on preparing youth for the jobs of the future would also be examined.
“Together we will examine legislative, policy and other options for advancing the work in these major areas” he said.
The Chairman said the meeting was taking place at an opportune time when the international community is preparing for SIDS Global Conference in September and the development of the Global Agenda for the post 2015 period. He stated that the outcomes would continue to guide development cooperation and assistance at all levels.
He noted that as CARICOM prepares for these events it does so against the backdrop of challenging circumstances including the global financial and economic crisis, the effects of being graduated from concessionary sources of financing, the impact of natural disasters and the impact of climate change.
He stated that if the implementation of the conceptual model of development is to be successful there would need to be a significant shift in the way business is done nationally and regionally. He said social and economic challenges would need to be addressed simultaneously and noted that while attempts have been made to address issues from an inter-sectoral perspective by COHSOD it is not always reflected at the national level.
Assistant Secretary General in charge of Human and Social Development Dr. Douglas Slater, in his remarks, used the opportunity to express gratitude to the ILO, the UN Women and the Caribbean Development Bank, for their support of the event. He said the collaboration was reflective of the strength of their relationships and indicative of the model of interconnectedness that needs to be promoted so that international commitments and an increase in the social and economic prosperity of the Caribbean Community can be achieved.
“I look forward to our dialogue and deliberations during this COHSOD and hope we will forge strengthened partnerships to transform our economies, promote equality, and harness innovation toward sustainable development” Dr. Slater stated.
The meeting brought together Ministers with responsibility for Labor, Gender and Social Development from across the Region as well as representatives of regional institutions, and regional labour and private sector bodies.