Social development must remain global priority – Min Persaud tells UN

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya Persaud has urged nations to prioritise social development and invest in vulnerable communities, while participating in discussions at the 62nd session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD62) in New York, USA.  

Acknowledging several innovative frameworks shared globally to eradicate poverty, Minister Persaud highlighted Guyana’s proactive approach, noting several notable initiatives and measures.

“Our policies are aimed at increasing social justice, creating employment opportunities, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, good governance, respect for human rights, protection of the most vulnerable, and access to quality education and health services,” she highlighted.

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindyha Persaud

The minister said the government has increased Guyana’s education budget by over 60 per cent, with the majority of training programmes provided free of cost. Special focus is also given to persons living in rural and hinterland areas.

Having achieved universal primary education, Guyana is on a path to achieving universal access to secondary and free university education by 2025, Minister Persaud further stated.

Similarly, she underscored that the development, inclusion, and participation of women at all levels are priorities of the Guyanese government.

This is achieved through capacity building, access to strong social protection and justice systems, and the mainstreaming of gender into policies, programmes, and budgets.

She spoke of the local Women’s Innovative and Investment Network (WIIN) initiative, which provides free and accessible training and has empowered thousands of women in Guyana, with the skills to pursue economic opportunities towards financial independence.

Persons living with disabilities are also a prime concern of the government as it remains committed to breaking physical, and institutional barriers to enable them to become independent and contributing members of society.

Minister Persaud underscored that this is being done through significant budgetary allocations for financial assistance, free technical and vocational training, assistive and support aids, and access to microfinance for entrepreneurial ventures.

Additionally, the government is taking a comprehensive approach to the well-being of families through social and developmental programmes which include parental training, psychosocial and other support for children through the ‘Every Child Safe’ campaign.

The minister emphasised that providing better care facilities for the children of working parents, particularly single parents, is a priority. Currently, day and night care facilities are being constructed to support this effort.

Meanwhile, Minister Persaud emphasised that national commitment alone is not enough to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in many countries, as financing is critical, especially for developing countries.

Therefore, she called on nations to collaborate to eradicate poverty.  

The social development dialogue will continue at the United Nations Headquarters in New York until February 14, under the theme ‘Fostering social development and social justice through social policies to accelerate progress on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to achieve the overarching goal of poverty eradication’.