Regional Social Security Heads Discuss Global Crisis

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) The impact of the global financial crisis on social security institutions across the region is at the top of the agenda as CARICOM Heads of Social Security Organisations hold their 25th Meeting in St. Vincent and the Grenadines this week..

The crisis has created pressure on the social security systems of Member States as they struggle to respond to the challenge of providing social protection for their citizens in a difficult economic environment. The Meeting is examining the impact of the crisis, how Member States have responded to it and how to prepare for possible future crises. Other issues being tackled include the status of social protection within the Caribbean Community, the pooling of resources among Member States and advancing the CARICOM social protection agenda.

A highlight of this three-day meeting is a discussion on the proposed implementation of a CARICOM software platform for a labour market information system (LMIS). With support from the European Union under the Tenth European Development Fund, the Secretariat plans to establish an LMIS that will contain statistical information on labour markets across Member States. The aim of this initiative is to give Member States and the Community the statistical and analytical basis on which to make policy decisions to manage labour markets within the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). The LMIS will have particular significance to the operation of the Free Movement of Persons and Skills Regime which is one of the more advanced provisions of the CSME.

Accelerated implementation and use of the CSME is among the Top Priorities for focussed implementation under the recently approved CARICOM Strategic Plan which seeks to improve the quality of life for citizens in the region through concrete action on matters of direct relevance and benefit to all.
Other major stakeholders attending the meeting are officials of the International Labour Organization, the ILO. Dr. Cleopatra Dumbi-Henry, Director of the ILO’s International Labour Standards Department and Dr. Giovanni di Cola, Director of the ILO’s Decent Work Team and Office of the Caribbean will address delegates on critical matters of social security and protection.

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