CARICOM, UNFPA launch network to improve support for GBV survivors

CARICOM and UNFPA hosted a regional launch of the Essential Services Package (ESP) Community of Practice (CoP) in Trinidad & Tobago.
June 3, 2022

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad - A more coordinated approach to the provision of services for survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) is expected in the Region with the establishment of an Essential Services Package (ESP) Community of Practice (CoP) initiative. 

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) hosted a regional launch of the programme on Tuesday, 24 May, in Trinidad & Tobago. 

The ESP/CoP is the first GBV coordinated mechanism of its kind in the Caribbean, and aims to provide greater access to essential service providers such as health care workers and police with adequate training and resources to survivors of GBV.

In her remarks at the opening, Alison Drayton, Director of the UNFPA Sub-Regional Office of the Caribbean (SROC), highlighted that GBV disproportionately affects women and girls. She said that “while prevention lies mainly in the perpetrator’s hands, a number of these incidents (including deaths) can be prevented by service providers who, with the proper training and resources, will be able to mitigate risks, protect survivors, and hold perpetrators accountable for their crimes.”

She highlighted the need for collaborative efforts to brainstorm ideas, develop effective solutions, exchange good practices, adopt global standards and facilitate south-south cooperation in the prevention of and response to GBV and noted that the ESP CoP would provide an avenue for that.

Dr. Douglas Slater, Assistant Secretary General for Human and Social Development at the CARICOM Secretariat in his opening remarks commended the Spotlight Initiative’s project noting that it is a practical tool for countries setting a clear pathway on how to ensure the provision and coordination of quality services for victims of gender-based violence.

H.E. Peter Cavendish, EU Ambassador to Trinidad & Tobago,  reiterated the importance of coordinating efforts in order to eliminate violence against women and girls. “This pervasive and complex problem needs a multisectoral response from our governments. That is why the European Union has welcomed the creation of a regional community of practice around essential services to be provided to all women and girls who have experienced or are experiencing gender-based violence including health, psychological, social, and justice services.”

Mrs. Sharon Clarke-Rowley, First Lady of Trinidad and Tobago, gave the keynote address. “Today’s event represents an important milestone for the Caribbean,” she said. She further added that “We have a responsibility to protect those women and children who are most vulnerable. We must be our sisters' keepers.”

The ESP CoP is being established under the Regional Spotlight Initiative. The Spotlight Initiative is a global initiative of the United Nations which has received generous funding from the EU. It aims to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. 

For more information, please contact:

Lisa Legall Belgrave
Regional Communications Officer

Jascene Dunkley-Malcolm
Communications and Partnerships Specialist, UNFPA Sub-regional Office of the Caribbean

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