Ministry of Human Developments Hosts 3rd Social Protection Conference

May 20, 2019 – Belize City, Belize

The Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation in collaboration with the National Emergency Management Organization and UNICEF is hosting its third in a series of social protection conferences on May 20-21, 2019. The two-day meeting focusses on “Social Protection Response in Emergencies” and will explore how the social protection system can be best used to support the poor and those most vulnerable in times of disasters and emergencies.

The poor are the most severely impacted by disasters and climatic events. Households which fail to fully recover after such stress can fall into poverty traps, increasing their risk of food insecurity and their need of further social assistance. This event will seek to solidify a national plan to provide safety net protection for those affected by emergencies in a timely and coordinated manner.

In her keynote remarks, Chief Executive Officer of the National Emergency Management Organization, NEMO, hailed the timeliness of the conference, stating that it offers “an opportunity where shared experiences and research will inform and provide a platform for planning in a structured and strategic way to provide the necessary protection to our most vulnerable in times of disaster.”

The technical conference features support from the World Bank and participation from the World Food Programme (WFP) and Oxford Policy Management (OPM), who are currently partnering to conducting a Study on Shock-Responsive Social Protection in Latin America and the Caribbean. Participants will also hear from experts from Dominica and the British Virgin Islands and the post-disaster lessons learnt from their responses to the devastating Hurricanes Maria and Irma respectively; while locally, NEMO and Belize Red Cross representatives will look back at the Hurricane Earl experience.

The Social Protection Conferences Series is a set of four conferences organized by the Ministry of Human Development—in collaboration with various partners—with the aim of strengthening Belize’s social protection system and making it more comprehensive. Thus far, the conferences have explored the creation of a social protection floor (December 2018) and the role of labour in social protection (February 2019). The final conference in the series, “Poverty: From Dollars to Dimensions” is scheduled for June 3-7, 2019.

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