The Hon Dr. Orando Brewster, Minister with responsibility for the Ministry of National Mobilisation Social Development, Gender Affairs, Youth, and Informal Human Settlement, , represented St. Vincent and the Grenadines attending and addressing the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York, as he participated in the Interactive Dialogue on the emerging issue: “Getting Back on Track: Achieving gender equality in a context of overlapping emergencies.”The Minister highlighted that while countries globally have had to battle the COVID-19 pandemic alone, St. Vincent and the Grenadines was faced with multiplicity of challenges over the past few years, inclusive of hurricane Elsa, the COVID-19 pandemic, the eruption of the La Soufriere Volcano, dengue fever, and the economic crisis brought on by the Russia-Ukraine war, which would have reversed the course of progress the country has made over the years. These overlapping emergencies did not define the country, and the efforts to build back included but were not limited to:
1.The Family Life Support Programme, which offered recovery interventions for families including single female-headed households;
- The VEEP programme;
- The PRYME grants, which provided financial support to small, micro, and medium businesses across the county to keep them afloat amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, by which they were mostly affected, and;
- The piloting of the cash-to-card programme as a way of modernizing the existing payment system, while decentralizing services to better serve the rural population.The Minister indicated to the gathering that while recovery efforts were successful, there is much more work that needs to be done to ensure his country’s continuation on the path of gender equality in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals 2030, with a concentration on goal 5, which SVG has adopted and agreed to.
The government’s aim is to leave no one behind, including the issue of women and girls in ICT, which was the focus of this year’s CSW. He described the work done by St. Vincent and the Grenadines to ensure access to technological advancements and stated that this will continue in years to come.