Democratic Governance: Building Social Cohesion



Since the turn of the millennium, more and more countries have been focused on making a concerted effort to develop democratic governance. At the Millennium Summit of 2000, the world's leaders resolved to 'spare no effort to promote democracy and strengthen the rule of law, as well as respect for all internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development'.

In Barbados and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the UNDP multi-country office supports our ten (10) programming countries in building democratic institutions, ensuring that processes are inclusive and embraces public participation, and are responsive to the needs of all. It also focuses on improving citizen security where there is confidence among the population as well as increased and improved access to justice. Thus UNDP Barbados and the OECS emphasizes strengthening the role of public institutions as well as improving civic engagement with special focus on youth and gender.

UNDP Barbados and OECS supports the strengthening of democracy and governance and the creation of an enabling environment for sustainable human development for its 10 programme countries by:

  • Promoting alternative development frameworks and strategies and equitable growth
  • Promoting global and regional cooperation to achieve human development
  • Strengthening capacity of key governance institutions for people-centered development and fostering social cohesion
  • Promoting decentralization that supports participatory local governance
  • Promoting an efficient and accountable public sector that serves all citizens.

Governance Portfolio
As UNDP Barbados and the OECS moves into its new programming cycle from 2012 to 2016, its democratic governance support will focus on issues of accountability, transparency, integrity and gender responsive initiatives. This will be supported by the development and use of Caribbean Democratic Governance Assessments (DGAs) that facilitate the measure of Caribbean states' capacities; promoting volunteerism within civil society and the private sector as partners in development and collaborating with United Nations, Funds, Programmes and Specialized Agencies through joint programmes to enhance crime prevention and citizen security, targeting youth and adolescents.

At present, UNDP Barbados and the OECS' current support in the area of democratic governance to our ten programming countries is encapsulated without our current portfolio of projects:

Access to Caribbean SIDS specific governance indicators for policy and decision making can be seen through our project in collaboration with the University of the West Indies and the OSLO Governance Centre Democratic Governance Assessments. This project seeks to provide the Caribbean decision-makers with the means and resources to modernize and strengthen evidence-based policy. It aims at supporting governance with comprehensive, accurate, useful and user-friendly data which can be utilized by both state and non-state entities at local, regional and international levels.

A key part of governance is youth involvement. The Youth-Innovation, (Youth-IN), programme was developed to offer and create opportunities and innovative programs for Caribbean young people in an effort to strengthen youth voice and aspirations. In conjunction with national agencies and youth NGO's, the Democratic Governance Programme seeks to invest in youth as agents of change with a focus on volunteerism and entrepreneurship.

Finally, UNDP Barbados and the OECS seeks to improve citizen security. With the wave of violent crimes being seen in Caribbean countries, improvement of citizen security has become of utmost priority. Thus, the overall goal of this project, aims at improving invlusive growth and human development as well as enhancing conflict management capabilities in CARICOM member states as a means of improving citizen security.

Democracy - Voice of the Youth

Youth talk about democracy in the region.