Multi-Country Office – Caribbean
Covering the English and Dutch speaking Caribbean, the UN Women Multi-Country Office – Caribbean, works with governments, civil-society organisations and regional inter-governmental bodies, such as the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in the development and implementation of innovative approaches aimed at achieving gender equality, women’s empowerment and national growth and development. In March 2014, UN Women MCO – Caribbean established a programme presence in Jamaica with a National Programme Officer and a Gender and HIV/AIDS Officer to strengthen its country support to Jamaica and to the Caribbean Region on Gender Equality and HIV&AIDS.
The MCO – Caribbean supports the CARICOM member states, Dutch Caribbean Islands and British Overseas Territories as follows:
UN Country Team Coordination – In partnership with the UN Country Teams for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Belize and Guyana, UN Women programmes under six UNDAFs, all of which have a focus on gender-based violence given its prevalence in the Caribbean. UN Women MCO chairs a number of inter-agency bodies in the Caribbean.
UN Women, has four major programmes under its current four year programme cycle, ; Women’s Leadership, Economic Empowerment, Combating Gender-Based Violence, Non-Discrimination and Planning as well as work to support gender responsive regional responses to HIV/AIDS. Through these programmes UN Women is supporting the development and implementation of gender-responsive social protection and poverty eradication policies; comprehensive nationally owned prevention and response programmes to end gender-based violence including supporting enhanced data and analysis on the scope of the issue; supporting decent work for domestic workers, rural women’s agro economic enterprise development and sustainability, and women living in poverty; policies and programmes to protect and promote non-discrimination and gender equality, and to enhance women and girls’ leadership at the community and national levels. Through all of this work, UN Women in the Caribbean has supported the active engagement of men and boys in shaping the gender equality agenda in the region.
UN Women also continues to place strong emphasis on the inclusion of the Caribbean voice in the Post 2015 and Small Island Development States Agendas.
Results at a glance
Women’s leadership – UN Women has supported the institutional development of the Caribbean Institute for Women in Leadership (CIWiL), fostering training programmes for women who aspire to political or public leadership guided by the expected dates for elections. The young women’s leadership institute is a significant offshoot of CIWiL focused on building a network and the capacity of young women leaders.
Economic Empowerment – The MCO Caribbean is working with the ILO towards further strengthening the rights of Domestic workers. UN Women helped the Jamaica Household Workers Association become a formal union, offering it a stronger platform to champion the rights of 58,000 workers. UN Women, in partnership with UNICEF, is also supporting initial assessments on gender and child responsive Social Protection frameworks; and piloted a grant-making process in support of women, food security and climate change.
Combating Gender-Based Violence – UN Women has supported the development of national action plans to address GBV in five countries and the revision to domestic violence laws in three countries over the last five years, and the revisions/adoption of legislation and protocols to respond to GBV; enhanced data on the prevalence and response to Gender-Based violence; supported regional policing institutions to build capacities to tackle GBV and end impunity; pioneered an accountability, court-based programme for perpetrators of domestic violence (“Partnership for Peace” tools); supported the creation of a network on men advocates as partners for gender equality (CariMAN); and supported the development of a host of multi-media advocacy approaches in support of the UNiTE Campaign with Caribbean artistes.
Non-discrimination and planning: UN Women MCO Caribbean supports Caribbean member states to meet obligations under CEDAW Reporting and the implementation of Concluding Observations; facilitates continued convening support at the regional and international level around the Commission on the Status of Women, Millennium Development Goals, and Belem do Para. UN Women MCO has and continues to give support to the CARICOM Secretariat’s Gender and Development Sub-Programme; and the OECS and Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in reviewing gender-based discrimination in the application of Family Law.
In the Caribbean, UN Women’s regional level work has prioritised supporting the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV and AIDS in integrating gender equality and women’s empowerment concepts into its work. Additionally, UN Women has supported the creation and functioning of the Caribbean Coalition on Women and AIDS (CCWA), and which prioritises ensuring the voice and needs of women living with HIV are reflected in the regional and national standards and policies adopted.
As the newest UNAIDS cosponsor, UN Women commits to supporting the implementation of the UNAIDS Strategic Framework – “Getting to Zero” – which advances three strategic directions: a) Revolutionizing HIV prevention; b) catalysing the next phase of treatment, care and support; and c) advancing human rights and gender equality.
UN Women continues to support national gender/women’s machineries in the Caribbean, along with strengthened partnerships with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (Post 2015 agenda); Statistics; Labour, Economic Affairs and Social Development.
The MCO prioritises partnerships with inter-governmental bodies such as the OECS Secretariat and CARICOM – including support to the CARICOM Special Advocate on Gender Justice and its Sub-Programme on Gender and Development - as well as with regional sector-specific institutions such as the Caribbean Court of Justice and the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.
The MCO supports Government and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) from 14 of the CARICOM countries to generate joint advocacy tools including the “Caribbean Joint Statement on Gender Equality and the Post 2015 and SIDS Agenda”. In adopting the Joint Statement, and with the MCO’s support, participants are committed to an advocacy strategy so as to ensure that the “asks” in the Joint Statement are considered by decision-makers within the emerging global processes around Post 2015 and SIDS.
Supporting the revitalisation of regional networks – including men’s networks – and national women’s rights organisations and advocacy is also a strategic priority during this work programme cycle both at national and sub-regional level. In addition, UN Women will also seek to expand its collaboration with the private sector, trade unions, men’s organisations and the media. UN Women will continue to work with the University of West Indies (three campuses) and their Institutes of Gender and Development Studies (IGDS).