JIS News

Director of the Social Policy, Planning and Research Division at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Pauline Knight, has said that if the region is to successfully combat the challenges that hinder the development of its children, a united effort must be made involving a coalition of “resources and wills within the countries”.
Dr. Knight was speaking yesterday (October 25), at the opening of a two-day Caribbean Child Research Conference being held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. The Director pointed out that some of the developmental challenges included trafficking in children; child pornography; incest and other forms of sexual abuse; physical and mental abuse; undesirable adolescent sexual behaviour; the impact of HIV/AIDS on children; street children; and children as perpetrators and victims of violence.
She said it was expected that the evidence and analyses gathered over the two days would help to establish priorities, strategies and guidelines for future action surrounding these issues. “It is hoped that this conference will therefore, mark the beginning of greater efforts in the region to promote and uphold the rights of our children to happiness, growth and development in childhood and a safe and secure future,” Dr. Knight said.
Continuing, she argued that the conference was very timely in light of the fact that the Jamaican government was preparing to formulate a national development plan. The outcome from the forum, she said, would “represent a wealth of valuable information that will feed directly into the preparation process”. “We in the PIOJ are convinced that policies and programmes must be based on the facts and we are pleased to have contributed to the organization and planning of this landmark event,” the Director added. The conference, which is the first of its kind to be held in the English-speaking Caribbean, was organized by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in partnership with the PIOJ, the Child Development Agency; the Ministries of Health, and Education and Youth; the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social Economic Studies, the Caribbean Child Development Centre of the University of the West Indies; the Early Childhood Commission; and the Children Issues Coalition.