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Measuring Social Development in Caribbean Societies – Some Emergent Challenges and Lessons. Author Godfrey St. Bernard Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies The University of the West Indies St. Augustine Trinidad and Tobago Email Contact: gstbiser@gmail.com

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Measuring Social Development in Caribbean Societies – Some Emergent Challenges and Lessons


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    1. Measuring Social Development in Caribbean Societies – Some Emergent Challenges and Lessons Author Godfrey St. Bernard Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies The University of the West Indies St. Augustine Trinidad and Tobago Email Contact: gstbiser@gmail.com Paper presented at: International Conference on Small States and Economic Resilience Foundation for International Studies Old University Building St. Paul Street Valletta VLT 07 MALTA 23-25 April 2007

    2. Introductory Statements • Social Development as a universal imperative as reinforced by the MDGs • There is a need to promote “wellness” within Caribbean social systems and by extension, societies • This requires careful observation and social measurement • The paper recognizes the need to adopt a paradigmatic framework and therefore embraces a structural functionalist approach rooted in Action Theory

    3. The Content of the Paper • Provides a historical account of the production of social indicators with particular reference to the Caribbean • The experience of Trinidad and Tobago • Central Statistical Office • Consumer Affairs Division • The contribution of key stakeholders • Academia – the University of the West Indies • The Caribbean Development Bank • The United Nations Children’s Fund

    4. Classifying Indicators • According to Carley (1981), social indicators can be classified as follows: • Informative Indicators – descriptive • Predictive Indicators – empirical, association and logic of causation • Problem-oriented Indicators – identifying systems and populations that warrant amelioration • Programme evaluation Indicators – facilitate impact assessment • Target delineation Indicators – determine “at risk” and “at need” populations and systems

    5. The Central Statistical Office Table 1. Subject-Matter Domains by Year of Publication of Social Indicators Report

    6. Delivery was based upon the UN Publication entitled “Measuring Change in Consumption and Production Patterns – A Set of Indicators Review current status of data collection and storage Review National Policy Documents Listing Action Areas Consumer Affairs Division

    7. Health Education Living Conditions Economic Activity Human Settlement Environment Recreation and Leisure Key Resources – Electricity, Water, Petroleum and Natural Gas Food Security International Trade Indicators Consumption Indicators Individuals and communities meeting their basic needs Whether done in socially and environmentally friendly manner Production Indicator Production processes and output environmentally friendly, sustainable Disposal practices of households and companies Meeting population needs in socially and environmentally friendly manner Consumer Affairs Division

    8. Caribbean Development Bank Interventions St. Lucia (2 SLCs) St. Vincent and the Grenadines Grenada Belize St. Kitts and Nevis (2 SLCs) Dominica Turks and Caicos Islands British Virgin Islands Anguilla Antigua and Barbuda Cayman Islands Independent Initiatives Jamaica (annually since 1988) Trinidad and Tobago (3 SLCs) Barbados The Bahamas Living Conditions

    9. Unit of Analysis/Target Population Individuals Households Vulnerable Sub-Populations Coverage, Estimates and Output Household Consumption Expenditure Quintile Groups Poverty Line – Poor/Non-Poor Poverty Gap FGT-2 Measure Gini Co-efficients Social Outcomes – Education, Housing, Health and Nutrition, Labour Force Characteristics, Water, Sanitation and the Environment Living Conditions

    10. Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) Guyana Suriname Trinidad and Tobago Monitor and Evaluate Interventions geared towards enhancing the status of children Satisfying the requirements of specific MDGs focusing on children Children’s Status

    11. Unit of Analysis/Target Population Care givers Women Mothers Children Households Coverage, Estimates and Output Child Health Child Mortality Child Development Child Discipline Child Care Child Rights Child Labour Literacy Education Maternal Health Water and Sanitation Environment Children’s Status

    12. Human Development Index • Human Capability and perhaps as an indication of overall social development in specific social systems • Based on an Education Index, a Health Index and a Wealth Index • Refined insofar as it has been adjusted to take into account variations in gender inequalities across countries • Thus, has resulted in the articulation of other indices such as the GDI and the GEM

    13. Youth Development Index (YDI) • A feature proposed under the auspices of the Commonwealth Secretariat • Original intention was to propose a measure that was analogous to the GDI • More specifically, it could be used as a tool for gauging youth empowerment and hence the plan of action of youth empowerment

    14. PAYE recognizes the significance of enabling conditions that assume the following forms: the promotion of economic and material bases that are consistent with youth empowerment the establishment of mechanisms that will enhance political will, facilitate the allocation of resources and foster the adoption of critical legal and administrative frameworks, the development of attitudes and practices that are consistent with equality, democracy and peace and, the dissemination of knowledge, information, skills and values. Commonwealth PAYE

    15. Ten Action Points - PAYE

    16. Further Thoughts on the YDI • Having adjusted HDI based on gender inequalities, there should be further adjustment to treat with variable prospects and attainment with regard to youth empowerment across countries • Perhaps a YDI, renamed a Youth Related Development Index should be pursued analogous to the GDI. • Alternatively, a YGDI – a Youth and Gender Related Development Index could be proposed adjusting for variations in gender inequality and youth empowerment processes across countries

    17. Social Vulnerability Index • Spearheaded primarily by the United Nations ECLAC • Social vulnerability status as characterizing social outcomes due to the interplay between strengths, weaknesses and opportunities on one hand, and threats on the other • Based upon a functionalist framework where reference is upon social systems, social institutions and their respective sub-systems

    18. Institutional Sub-Systems and Indicators

    19. Key Parameters for Data Collection

    20. Emergent Questions and Concerns • Is there a basis for developing a composite index bearing in mind environmental, economic and social vulnerability measures? • Is there a basis for developing a composite index of environmental, economic and sociaql resilience? • Having adjusted the HDI to take into account gender inequalities in order to arrive at the GDI. A further recommendation in this paper has been the need to also take into account adjustment of the HDI to take into account variations in youth empowerment to arrive a YDI

    21. Emergent Questions and Concerns • Should consideration be now given to obtaining holistic measures of vulnerability and resilience to permit further adjustments as means of further refining the HDI?

    22. Further Challenges • There is need for additional sample surveys targeting adult literacy, the computation of disability-free life years lived, access to ICT, and governance indicators • There are also concerns about the reliability and validity of emergent estimates and indicators due to the quality of survey administration, the capabilities of technical skills involved in the conduct of survey research and the pursuit of survey data analysis • There is need to consider harmonization prospects for concepts and definitions given different data collection standards and protocols across the Caribbean Region, especially with respect to the pursuit of comparative analyses

    23. Thank You