May 25, 2022 Last Updated 8:30 PM, Apr 25, 2022

The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), the Community’s Strategic Plan, and internationally agreed goals, including those from the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, will be taken into account as preparations begin for the upcoming Round of Population and Housing Census.

This is in an effort to ensure that issues of importance to CARICOM Member States are considered and that there is greater harmonisation and comparability of the data that emerges from the exercise.

The next Population and Housing Census Round is in 2020, and the CARICOM Secretariat, earlier in May, held a workshop that is aimed at building on the approach that was used in the 2010 Census Round which saw a common core of questions being asked.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the three-day workshop on 16 May in Bridgetown, Barbados, Director, Regional Statistics, CARICOM Secretariat, Dr. Philomen Harrison, pointed out the reasons why the CSME, Strategic Plan and international goals were identified for inclusion.

The measurement of the functioning of the CSME – the region’s flagship programme – largely relied on key statistics and indicators, and was therefore vital to determine the impact of the regional integration thrust, she said.

Preparations will also take into consideration the resilience theme of the CARICOM Five-Year Strategic Plan. The Plan recognises the threats to the sustainable development of the Region, including financial, economic, social and environmental.

Information on population and housing, and baseline data, are necessary to monitor and report on the sustainable development goals and the Samoa Pathway to evaluate the impact of those interventions which seek ultimately to eradicate poverty.

“Statisticians of the Region are therefore challenged to consider these frameworks which perhaps in some respects are outside of their comfort zones relative to the traditional list of topics that are incorporated in census-taking.

What issues can we include to provide in an innovative approach, the basis for the transformative agenda of the CSME, the Strategic Plan of the Community, the 2030 Agenda and the Samoa Pathway”, Dr. Harrison challenged workshop participants, as she urged them to “think outside the box.”

The workshop is the first preparatory one ahead of the Census and was supported by the government of Canada, the United Nations Populations Fund and PARIS21.

The region is set to benefit from a major effort by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat to establish a labour market information system (LMIS) as a vital element of the smooth functioning of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). As part of this effort, the Secretariat is undertaking a series of LMIS training workshops in Member States. The first one gets underway in Trinidad and Tobago from Monday, October 3 and lasts 4 days at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The aim of these sessions is to train stakeholders how to use LMIS in the development of policy and planning. This training initiative is being facilitated under the 10th European Development Fund CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) Economic Integration Programme. 

Approximately 30 representatives from Departments of Statistics, Finance, Planning, Health, Education, Social Security, Trade Unions, Employer Organisations are expected to participate. They will be trained in areas such as how to identify sources of labour market information, classification of labour statistics, labour market modelling, survey analysis and policy implications. At the end of the exercise, participants are expected to understand how to use labour market information in policy-making and its importance in the process. This training should also strengthen the management capability of these stakeholders who play an integral role in the free movement of skills and labour regime of the CSME.

This training will be rolled out in all the other member states, except The Bahamas, in the coming months. There is another phase of this LMIS training initiative that involves system and data administrators who will be carrying out the day-to-day operation of the system. They will be given the requisite knowledge and skills to do this and their training will also be conducted over the following months.

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