The year 2019 is a pivotal one for accelerating the realization of gender equality and the autonomy of all women and girls in the Caribbean. In fact, the regional review of the implementation of the Montevideo Strategy for Implementation of the Regional Gender Agenda within the Sustainable Development Framework by 2030 and the twenty-fifth review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action will both take place in 2019. The two frameworks request Governments to adopt and implement policies, laws and strategies to promote gender equality and the rights of all women and girls, as well as to select, compile, integrate, process, analyze and disseminate gender data and statistics to identify progress made and challenges that still remain in addressing gender inequalities.
The year 2019 also represents four years since the global community committed to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 5 aimed at achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. This development agenda underscores the importance of systematically mainstreaming a gender perspective in its comprehensive implementation since the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will make a decisive and cross-cutting contribution to progress in all the Goals and targets.
In this regard, Saint Lucia has prioritized the improvement of the capacity of the Department of Gender Relations and the development of policies and sustainable tools to monitor and evaluate progress made and obstacles that still remain in achieving gender equality.
In addition to conducting a review of the Beijing+25 this year, Saint Lucia will also present, for the first time, its Voluntary National Review (VNR) on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in July 2019 under the theme of “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. This is an encouraging process that highlights the commitment of Saint Lucia to implement, monitor and report on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
However, despite the advances made on gender equality issues in recent years, Saint Lucia does not have an overarching gender equality policy. As such, as part of the technical assistance support being provided to the Government of Saint Lucia in the area of Gender Mainstreaming, ECLAC is providing the services of two experts: one to support the development of a national gender policy statement and strategy; and the other, to conduct an assessment of the production and management of gender data in Saint Lucia to inform the development of a national gender policy statement and strategy and other regional and global commitments to achieve sustainable development with equality.
The ECLAC technical assistance activities will improve the resource capacity of the Department of Gender Relations and specifically contribute to assist the Government of Saint Lucia in mainstreaming gender in national planning, policies and data, and by so doing, help the country to meet its commitments to the Regional Gender Agenda and related frameworks.
The consultants for the project were on island last week, during which they were expected to meet with key stakeholders to identify priority areas for a gender equality policy and assess the status of gender data management in Saint Lucia.