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UNICEF conference looks at Rights of Caribbean Children

UNICEF conference looks at Rights of Caribbean Children


St. Vincent and the Grenadines joined other delegates from the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago from November 9 to 10 for a UNICEF two-day end of cycle conference of the Country Program Action Plan.{{more}}

The program saw representatives of Governmental bodies, Non Governmental Organizations and the media, among other stakeholders, address various issues concerning child rights and protection in their countries, at the Accra Beach Hotel in Barbados.

During the conference, attention was paid to the upcoming 2012-2016 cycle set to begin next year under the theme Equity: Ensuring the Rights of All Caribbean Children.

A memorandum of understanding between agencies agreeing to common work and efforts, in assisting Caribbean countries to bring their education systems into the 21st century, which caters to all children throughout the region from 0-18 years and beyond as an aspect of lifelong learning was also signed at the meetings.

The opening ceremony, which took place at the hotel on Tuesday, November 8, heard remarks by outgoing Representative of the UNICEF office for the Eastern Caribbean and Barbados Tom Olsen, along with UN Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the OECS Michelle Gyles-McDonnough, and Barbados’ Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth Stephen Lashley.

Other presenters at the event were Director General of the OECS Secretariat Dr. Len Ishmael, Nazim Burke, Minister of Finance, Planning, Economy, Energy, Foreign Trade, and Cooperatives of Grenada, and Deanna Ralph of the Central Planning Unit in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Topics covered by the range of delegates included Dimensions of Child Poverty, Violence Against Children, Second Chance Opportunities for Children at Risk, Early Learning and Education, among others.

A special farewell ceremony was also held for Olsen, who will be leaving the region at the end of the week to take up a similar post in Chile, after five years at the head of the Barbados office.

Apart from Ralph, St. Vincent and the Grenadines was also represented by Eli Francis, Acting Senior Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of National Mobilization, Youth, Sports and Culture and Junior Jarvis of SEARCHLIGHT.(JJ)