Civil Society Organizations Call on PM Gaston Browne Government to Share the Draft Social Protection Act, 2016 for Meaningful Consultation


St.John’s , Antigua (September 7th 20160:- Civil Society Organizations Call on the Government to Share the Draft Social Protection Act, 2016 for Meaningful Consultation
St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda 6 September 2016
On Thursday 1 September 2016 the Department of Social Policy, Research and Planning in the Ministry of Social Transformation and Human Resource Development hosted a public consultation on the draft National Social Protection Act, 2016 with representatives of invited Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), at the Jolly Beach Hotel and Spa.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) defines social protection and the basic guarantees. Social protection consists of policies and programs designed to reduce poverty and vulnerability by promoting efficient labor markets, diminishing people’s exposure to risks, and enhancing their capacity to manage economic and social risks. The four guarantees of a social protection system (referred to as the social protection floor) are (i) access to essential health care, including maternity care; (ii) basic income security for children, providing access to nutrition, education, care and any other necessary goods and services; (iii) basic income security for persons in active age who are unable to earn sufficient income, in particular in cases of sickness, unemployment, maternity and disability (something that people want to get more information about these days); (iv) basic income security for older persons.
The undersigned CSOs – The Professional Organization for Women in Antigua (POWA), Together We Must (TWM), and Women Against Rape (WAR) – applaud the Government of Antigua and Barbuda’s effort to define and structure the legislative, institutional and monitoring framework of social protection; and to consult with stakeholders.
We support the action of developing an inclusive Social Protection Act. We call on the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to ensure the following:
1. The Act establishes a social protection floor for Antigua and Barbuda;
2. The Act legislates the coordination of a progressive social protection system guided by a national policy on social protection and include appropriate Regulations and Schedules to facilitate appropriate and timely revisions;
3. The Act recognizes intersections with human rights treaties and conventions signed and ratified by Antigua and Barbuda;
4. Gender and child sensitive issues are acknowledged and addressed in the Act, for example subsidies / day care facilities for vulnerable parents, etc.;
5. The Act is adapted to comply with international best practice (even where the status quo is challenged);
6. The Act builds on collaboration between Government and a diverse group of Civil Society Organizations through the role and composition of related planning, governing and monitoring bodies. The definition of Civil Society as stated by the World Bank
should be used – “Non-Governmental and Not-for-Profit organizations that have a presence in public life, expressing the interests and values of their members or others, based on ethical, cultural, political, scientific, religious or philanthropic considerations. Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) therefore refer to a wide of array of organizations: community groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), labor unions, indigenous groups, charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, professional associations, and foundations”.
Due to the multifaceted issues embedded in social protection, we encourage the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to include a wide cross section of stakeholders, including CSOs and the private sector in consultations on the Social Protection Act, 2016.
We anxiously await a copy of the first draft of the Social Protection Act, 2016, as promised at the consultation; and look forward to a meaningful consultative process with clear and transparent objectives.
Professional Organization for Women in Antigua (POWA)
Together We Must (TWM)
Women Against Rape (WAR)
Together We Must (TWM)

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