(Photo) Ms. Alison Drayton, Director and Representative, UNFPA, Sub-Regional Office for the Caribbean (left) and Planning and Development Minister Pennelope Beckles.
May 26, 2022
Trinidad and Tobago is well positioned to receive technical support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for the completion of this country’s Montevideo Consensus Reporting for 2023. This was revealed during a courtesy visit by the Director and Representative, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Sub-Regional Office for the Caribbean, Ms. Alison Drayton with the Honourable Pennelope Beckles, Minister of Planning and Development. The UNFPA is meeting with key partners and stakeholders in Trinidad and Tobago to discuss areas of support within its new Sub-Regional Programme 2022-2026 and to explore opportunities to further strengthen the existing partnerships.
The Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development (MCPD) is a regional agreement adopted by 34 Latin American and Caribbean Governments at the First Regional Conference on Population and Development. It contains over 120 measures related to the priority areas arising out of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development. Under the Consensus, Governments committed to eliminating social, economic and gender inequalities, fulfilling the human rights of all people, and securing sexual and reproductive rights and health without discrimination based on sex, age, ethnicity, HIV status sexual orientation or gender identity, among other issues.
Citizens of Trinidad and Tobago are set to benefit under the priorities of the Consensus which embrace youth issues, including preventing teenage pregnancy and eliminating unsafe abortion; strengthening social security and social protection for older adults; and incorporates international migration and the protection of migrants’ human rights. Trinidad and Tobago’s indigenous communities are ensured their rights, as the Consensus affirms the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and calls on countries to guarantee the territorial rights of indigenous peoples. Regarding gender issues, it commits countries to increasing equal participation for women in public decision-making, preventing violence against women and girls, and incorporating domestic and care work into social protection systems.
Ms. Drayton indicated that the UNFPA is desirous of supporting the Ministry of Planning and Development with the Montevideo Consensus Reporting through:
- The provision of a consultancy to aid in updating Trinidad and Tobago’s Montevideo Consensus Reporting for 2023;
- Capacity building and training of staff members for continuous reporting on the Montevideo Consensus;
- Support for the CSO in gathering relevant, up-to-date data; and
- Institutional strengthening on the monitoring and implementation of the priority measures under the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development.
Discussions also focused on the staffing of the Population and Development Unit of the Ministry of Planning, the formal review of the National Population and Development Policy of Trinidad and Tobago 2015-2021, and the development of a revised Policy for the next five years, as well as training and capacity building with respect to research, data, information gathering and interpretation on population and demographics.
The Montevideo Consensus report is supportive of the goals of the Government’s National Development Strategy (Vision 2030) specifically Theme I: Putting People First: Nurturing Our Greatest Asset”. This is evidenced by the support given to initiatives of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago that are geared towards addressing issues of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Gender. Furthermore, these initiatives will contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being, Goal 4: Quality Education and Goal 5: Gender Equality, to name a few.
Minister Beckles acknowledged the tremendous work of the UNFPA in supporting the areas of sexual and reproductive health, family planning, maternal health care, gender equality, youth advocacy, population dynamics and eliminating gender-based violence and harmful practices.
The Ministry of Planning and Development values the close relationship and support provided by the UNFPA in key areas related to the country’s development goals and looks forward to continued collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Sub-Regional Office for the Caribbean.