Director, Human Development at the CARICOM Secretariat, Ms. Myrna Bernard, said that the Thirty-Fourth Meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) had met its objectives. The meeting concluded at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana on Friday, 4 May.
The Meeting opened at the Theatre Guild Playhouse in Georgetown, Guyana, on Wednesday. The opening included an unprecedented Thought Leadership Forum on the theme of COHSOD, ‘Positioning Human Resource Development as Central to Caribbean Resilience and Development’.
According to Ms. Bernard, the delegates have agreed on an action plan (up to 2020) that contributes to the implementation plan for the Human Resource 2030 Strategy. According to Ms. Bernard, there was a breakout session where groups looked in specific detail at the plan. She said there was positive feedback and responses coming from the various groups on the action plan, and it has been agreed to by Member States.
“We have agreed on the major actions to be taken at the Region level by 2020. We have decided to focus on several areas including tertiary education”, she said.
She added that consideration was being given to the development of a mechanism for governance at the tertiary level as well as mechanisms for assuring the quality of tertiary education and the improvement of accreditation. She said they were looking at establishing a register of accreditation bodies that would periodically be reviewed, and Key Transformational Initiatives (KTIs), which would form the implementation plan were examined.
Ms. Bernard pointed out that lead supporter of the Human Resource Development 2030 Strategy, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) had committed to providing a consultant to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the strategy.
“That is one of the things that will ensure that the plan doesn’t sit on a shelf”, she said.
She added that the CDB had its own plan that dovetailed into the issues the HRD Strategy emphasised. During the meeting, the CDB gave its commitment to also continue its financial contribution towards the implementation of the Strategy. Other partners such as UNFPA,UNICEF, OAS, the Commonwealth Secretariat, ILO and ACTI have also pledged support in various areas.
Speaking to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between FIFA and CARICOM, she explained that the Secretariat would not sign an MOU without first doing internal checks. She said there was an MOU in the works, and CARICOM had committed to work with FIFA, but an MOU had not yet been signed.
Ms. Bernard said a high level of interest in the Strategy could be felt throughout the meeting and she believed that Member States, especially those going through their own education reform, were happy to be able to draw from it.
“I think in general it was a very positive meeting; persons made constructive suggestions and overall we are very pleased with the outcome”, she said.