(PRESS RELEASE) — On Wednesday, May 15th, 2019, the Government of Saint Lucia and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize plans for the implementation of Saint Lucia’s second Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS).
The Ministry of Equity, Social Justice, Local Government and Empowerment and the Department of Economic Development, Transport and Civil Aviation jointly signed this MOU with UNICEF, in-keeping with Saint Lucia’s commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and noting the significance of the well-being of children to the island’s socio-economic development.
The MICS programme is one of the largest sources of statistical information on the SDGs and particularly on children, women, men and the households they live in. The survey will be conducted during September – November 2019 and is expected to provide data on thirty-three (33) SDG indicators – an effort that will greatly fill the data needs of the country.
A sample of 3,000 households will be selected to include all districts and this is expected to provide nationally representative, robust and internationally comparable estimates on a range of topics in education, safety and protection, health and nutrition, water and sanitation, and multi-dimensional poverty.
In alignment with global shifts, the survey design has now been improved to respond to the data needs of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Moreover, given that Saint Lucia is currently aligning its Medium-Term Development Strategy with the global SDG commitments, and is developing frameworks for monitoring its development, the MICS survey provides an opportunity to establish national baselines and to monitor progress.
Mrs. Velda Joseph, Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Equity, Social Justice, Local Government and Empowerment reflected on the importance of the MICS to the work of the Ministry.
According to Mrs. Joseph “the survey is particularly important to the Ministry at this time given the current thrust to reform the social protection landscape and to advance that agenda in a manner that allows for purposeful, targeted and relevant interventions to address deficiencies or gaps in programming and product/service offering. Certainly, we commit to using the findings of this survey to improve our social protection programme for greater responsiveness”.
Noting that Saint Lucia is a voluntary reporting nation for monitoring progress against the Sustainable Development Goals, Mrs. Joseph added that “it is the expectation that MICS 6, which has been enhanced to consider a number of parameters not sufficiently addressed in previous versions of the tool, will provide relevant data to enable accurate and robust reporting against the SDGs”.
In his remarks, Permanent Secretary in the Department of Economic Development, Transport and Civil Aviation, Mr. Claudius Emmanuel noted that “the event was happening at an opportune time in that it follows the recently held MAPS mission, which sought to provide mainstreaming and accelerated project support in our efforts to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals in our socio-economic planning process. Of course, the MICS is a vehicle that will allow us to report on some of our SDG targets”.
PS Emmanuel also shared that “as the parent department of the Central Statistics Office, the Department of Economic Development, Transport and Civil Aviation welcomes the collaboration with the Department of Equity and anticipates the continued support from stakeholders in the field. We also look forward to the capacity building benefits that will be added to local participants in the process”.
UNICEF Representative for the Eastern Caribbean, Dr. Aloys Kamuragiye emphasized the need for Caribbean countries to collect statistical data to assist policy makers in monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals.
According to Dr. Kamuragiye, “We have to account to the people we serve when implementing the development agenda. How can you objectively account to the people when there is no evidence? How do we account for progress made by Saint Lucia if we do not invest in data? I am happy to see that Saint Lucia took the decision to implement the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS)”.
He further stated that “UNICEF is delighted that Saint Lucia is once again conducting the MICS survey and we are happy to partner with the Ministry of Equity and Ministry of Economic Development as a part of the process.”
The survey will be implemented by the Central Statistical Office of the Ministry of Economic Development, with coordination and policy support from the Ministry of Equity, as well as technical and financial support of UNICEF.