Regional Stakeholders Assemble in St. Kitts-Nevis for Dialogue and Consensus Building Workshop

Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 26, 2019 (SKNIS): Approximately 100 participants from across the region are currently in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis participating in a Regional Stakeholder Dialogue and Consensus Building Workshop on Women and Youth in Peace and Security, using the South-South approach.

The June 25-26 workshop, which was held at Mount Nevis Hotel, was organized by the Ministries of Health and Gender Affairs in St. Kitts and in Nevis in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat.

According to the United Nations, the South-South Approach or South-South Cooperation refers to the technical cooperation among developing countries in the Global South.

Minister of State with responsibility for Health in the Federal Government, the Honourable Senator Wendy Phipps, said that the workshop comes at an opportune time when security is highlighted across the region.

“This consultation is being held at a time when security has never featured more prominently on our regional development agenda,” said Senator Phipps. Earlier this year, in my address to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis on the issue of crime and violence, I said that my Team Unity Administration is committed to the peace and stability of our Federation. The Unity Government is committed to a holistic approach to crime reduction, and we will work with every entity that genuinely offers to help and is striving to make St. Kitts and Nevis a country where peace abounds.”

Minister Phipps stated that the two areas outlined – women and youth – are very important pillars of society.  She added that community involvement is vital.

“Community dialogue with young people and women – who hold such a valuable and influential place in our society – is necessary to ensure that we do not rely solely on punitive justice to achieve peace, stability and well-being in our country. Community dialogue is an interactive participatory communication process of sharing information among people or groups of people aimed at reaching a common understanding and workable solution. Unlike debate, dialogue emphasizes listening in order to deepen understanding,” she said.

Citing a piece from the United Nations Development Programme, Senator Phipps said that “Women and youth are critical stakeholders who can play an essential role in positioning our small-island developing state to constructively tackle the issues of crime and violence.  The significance of women and youth in ensuring peaceful and stable societies cannot be overstated, as young people 35 years old and under make up the vast majority of the sub-region’s population, as well as the majority of the population in most developing countries,” she added.

Senator Phipps stated that countries in the region can “learn a lot from each other and build capacity by sharing local experiences and forging new partnerships aimed at empowering young people and women.” She described that workshop as worthwhile and encouraged participants to “build capacity and strong intra-regional networks so that we can involve women and young people more fully in the design and implementation of our development strategies, including those that relate to the enhancement of peace and security.”

The workshop closed with a rally from the Old Cinema in Nevis and ended at the Village. A gospel concert will be held after the end of the rally. Guest artistes Neesha Woods out of Barbados and Judith Gayle out of Jamaica will headline the concert.

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