Social Development and Protection in the OECS Member States

An integral part of the road to development is social development and protection, and when correctly integrated, the outcome wouldtransform all aspects of social relations. In order to have healthy and strong transformation, social safety net programs must be incorporated with firm policies and legislations geared toward economic progress and social development.

The aim of development must be to increase the range of human choice as first articulated by Sir Arthur Lewis (1995) while expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy (Sen 1999). This can be achieved if there is a paradigm shift from social welfare to an empowerment/co-responsibility approach, and evidence-based financing of social programmes.

As small open economies, Member States of the OECS are vulnerable to external shocks while being plagued with internal issues such as changing labour force trends, increasing levels of poverty and persistent trade adjustments. Existing vulnerabilities have forced the Governments of these islands to recognize the need for better governance and the implementation of measures to improve the efficiency and coverage of social safety nets, while containing the public sector debt within manageable levels.