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Saint Lucia Takes Steps to Strengthen its Social Protection Systems


SAINT Lucia is looking to strengthen its social protection systems  and the Ministry of Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment is playing a lead role in this venture.

Towards this cause, the authorities plan to utilize an Innovative Disaster Risk Financing mechanism to undertake the project.

Hence, the government has partnered with the World Food Programme (WFP) to strengthen its social protection systems to better respond to the challenges posed by climate change and natural hazards.

The Government and WFP recently signed an agreement aimed at improving intuitional capacity to deliver assistance to the most vulnerable people by linking social protection systems. The exercise will be undertaken through payouts made to the Caribbean Catastrophic Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF SPC).

“This initiative signifies an important step forward towards Saint Lucia’s disaster risk management efforts,” stated Director of Finance Imran Williams.

He added, “By linking risk financing with social protection, we can provide more rapid and efficient support to the most vulnerable in our society during times of crisis.”

Saint Lucia has been a member of CCRIF SPC since 2007. The CCRIF SPC is described as a segregated portfolio company (SPC) that provides insurance coverage for catastrophic hurricanes, earthquakes and excess rainfalls.

Saint Lucia has purchased insurance coverages and received payouts for major climatic events with disbursements being made within 14 days.

Since 2007, the company has made 62 payouts, totaling USD 265 million to 17 of its 26-member states in the Caribbean and Central America.

Under the most recent agreement, the WFP is contributing USD 200,000 over two years, towards the premium for the CCRIF SPC Tropical Cyclone Policy for the 2023 and 2024 policy periods.

According to a spokesperson, this will allow for a portion of the payouts to be channeled through national social protection programmes, following a Tropical Cyclone event. This approach will facilitate the rapid disbursement of support to affected populations in the form of cash payments

The initiative also aligns with the objective of the Risk Finance Strategy for Saint Lucia, which promotes the use of risk finance instruments tailored to social protection needs. The WFP’s support was made through its partnership with the government of Canada and the European Union (EU).

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Equity and Social Justice, Dr. Charmaine Hippolyte-Emmanuel notes that, “Social protection is the safety net that prevents vulnerable communities from falling into despair during difficult times. It is more than just a programme; it is a lifeline for those in need.”

From 2020, the Saint Lucia government has collaborated with WFP to strengthen its social protection systems as part of a broader Technical Assistance Agreement that aims to strengthen the social protection system disaster-risk finance strategies and emergency preparedness and response planning and support.

Regis Chapman, Representative and Country Director of the Multi-Country Office in Barbados, stated, “We are encouraged by the Government’s efforts to refine its social protection system. This approach is part of a wider strategy to strengthen social protection, which will ensure that those most affected receive the support they need in the shortest possible time.”

Saint Lucia acknowledges the importance of social protection systems in providing swift and predictable assistance to vulnerable populations following disasters. Recent years, marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, underscore the vital role of social protection in supporting affected communities.

The government of Saint Lucia recognises the vital link between disaster risk financing and social protection, aligning these efforts with the national vision for a more resilient nation.

A ministry official asserted: “By combining social protection and disaster risk financing, Saint Lucia is ensuring the well-being of its citizens during difficult times.”

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