November 20, 2009
Civil Society organisations take important decisions

Civil society organisations in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have met and taken a number of important decisions relating to the consolidation of local civil society, the proposed Social Contract with Government and constitutional reform.{{more}}

The occasion was a meeting of local non-governmental (NGOs) and community-based organisations (CBOs) at the conference room of the SVG Credit Union League on Tuesday, November 10, 2009, under the sponsorship on the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDEC).

The meeting, chaired by Angela “Ideisha” Jackson, coordinator of NESDEC’s capacity-building project, heard presentations from resource persons J.Burns Bonadie (social contract), Renwick Rose (constitution reform) and Angela Patrick (formalisation of a civil society umbrella body). Lively and informed discussion followed all three presentations.

At the conclusion of the deliberations, the following decisions were taken:

1. That preparations should be made for the formal signing of the Social Contract between Government and the Civil Society sector. A draft Social Contract, drawn up and approved several times by Civil Society representatives has been awaiting formal signing for the past three years.

The Social Contract, described in the document as “… an expression of the commitment of Government and Civil Society to work in partnership for the betterment of society”, sets out the purpose and objectives of the proposed partnership, establishes core principles, and then goes on to specify the obligations and commitments of the partners to the proposed contract (Government, trade unions, the private sector and organised civil society).

2. Full support for the successful conclusion of the constitutional reform process as manifested in the Constitution Bill 2009.

3. The formal consolidation of the Civil Society Forum as the umbrella body for local CBOs and NGOs.

The meeting also urged greater support from government in facilitating the provision of adequate resources to enable CBOs and NGOs to develop their capacity to make a greater contribution to the development process by meaningful engagement in fruitful partnership with Government.