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Project launched to examine poverty

VERNE BURNETT Friday, July 14 2017

THE Ministry of Planning and Development, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) on Wednesday launched a project entitled, ‘Towards National Measurements of Multi-Dimensional Poverty in Trinidad and Tobago.’

Delivering opening remarks at the launch at the Courtyard Marriot, Audrey Jeffers Highway, Port of Spain, Richard Blewitt, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten said poverty is a critical issue facing Trinidad and Tobago,

Blewitt said that the relationship between income and poverty is affected by differences of age, gender, social roles, and the places where people live and can go,

He said age especially is a handicap to someone’s ability to earn an income and childhood is an age of economic dependence. “For this reason children are uniquely vulnerable to multiple social, economic, cultural and environmental deprivations.” The programme will focus on poverty among children and will be executed by the Health Education Unit of the University of the West Indies with Director of the unit, Professor Karl Theodore as Project Lead,

Blewitt said it will support national partners and stakeholders in developing and implementing a national poverty reduction strategy; provide technical assistance to articulate and establish a national multi-dimensional poverty definition and measurement methodology including child poverty; and thirdly strengthen the coordination and evidence-base of integrated delivery of social protection programmes specifically to address the needs of vulnerable families, women and children,

In a speech delivered on behalf of the Minister of Social Development and Family Services, Cherrie-Ann Crichlow-Cockburn, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Jacinta Bailey Sobers, said that in shaping its national development agenda, Vision 2030, for moving Trinidad and Tobago to developed country status and achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this country has identified poverty eradication as a top priority,

She said that the government recognises that challenges may continue to exist which militate against the achievement of the vision of a nation that is caring, equitable, inclusive and prosperous, free of the scourge that is poverty,

She expressed the Government’s commitment to addressing and ending poverty in all its forms and dimensions, the first of the SDGs, and said that the Government was happy to be working with two critical entities, the UNDP and Unicef in its effort to achieve that goal,

She said that the Government “recognises that it is impossible to make a dent in the poverty statistics on its own, a unified front is necessary with all key stakeholders on board.” She said the Government, through the ministry, is working to develop a National Poverty Reduction Strategy (Vision 2030) and the SDGs to define poverty for the country and address disparities, particularly with child poverty, and advocate for evidence-based programme design to strengthen the country’s social protection system,

Bailey read that since poverty and in equality continue to be challenges for the country, made worse by the economic downturn through which the country is suffering, the Government’s strategy recognises the need to rationalise the many overlapping social programmes and improve its targeting mechanisms,



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