CASTRIES, St. Lucia (OECS) — The OECS and UNICEF deepened their collaborative efforts on Tuesday August 26th 2014 through the signing of a new Programme Cooperation Agreement to the tune of US$1.165M.
This agreement is expected to further facilitate protection programmes in the region regarding the rights of children. Education and Lifelong Learning, Monitoring, Evaluation and Social Statistics, Early Childhood Education as well as Child and Social Protection are the intervention areas in the new Programme Cooperation Agreement (PCA).
The original PCA between UNICEF and the OECS Commission was signed for the period 2012-2014 and following a mid-term review in 2014, this recent ceremony heralds the second phase of the PCA for another two and a half year term.
Director General of the OECS Commission Dr. Didacus Jules commended UNICEF and its work in the Caribbean, highlighting its ongoing advocacy for children’s rights and the protection of young people. Dr. Jules welcomed the newly signed agreement as one which will build on the many gains of the first PCA. He said the emphasis in this new agreement is to make the collaboration “bite” effectively in key areas so that the most vulnerable persons receive the deserved benefits through more efficient research.
Dr Jules noted the need for enhanced attention to early childhood education programmes with more focus on children ranging from zero to five years of age. He emphasized the need to give more attention to this age group, suggesting that this, as research has shown, will impact positively on performance results at the secondary level.
The United Nations Children’s fund values the OECS Commission as an international partner Organisation that shares UNICEF’s values and principles, and has a special ability to undertake activities that are crucial for implementing the UNICEF Eastern Caribbean Area Programme.
UNICEF also recognises that the OECS shares a commitment to the principles set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
The deepened collaboration is described as strategic for strengthening regional harmonization, capacity building, learning, standardization and exchanges among OECS full Members and Associate Member States for various results. The budget for the new Programme Cooperation Agreement between the UNICEF and the OECS Commission is US$1.165M.
Khin-Sandy Lwin of UNICEF who signed the agreement with Dr Jules reiterated the need to support and implement further programmes for child and youth development despite the harsh financial challenges affecting the countries of the Eastern Caribbean.
The UNICEF official acknowledged the value of the relationship with the OECS as a fundamental and critical platform for facilitating dialogue and implementation of key interventions for the advancement of children in the region.