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Status of Social Investment in Children in the Eastern Caribbean – An Overview

By Koen Rossel-Cambier and Leopoldo Romagnoli

Abstract

Guaranteeing the rights of children does not only imply a legal and moral responsibility. It also has implications for economic and social policies, and in particular for the allocation of a country’s financial resources. Children in the Eastern Caribbean are the majority of the poor and most vulnerable to the different dimensions of economic, social and ecological risks. The current economic crisis is creating more demand for social spending, but simultaneously putting a strain on public budgets. In this context, it is important to appreciate the current level of public spending for social services which matter for children such as education, child protection, health, and other child‐sensitive social services. This paper gives an overview of the budgeting processes and the level of the revenues and expenditures of selected governments in the Eastern Caribbean. It reviews the sources of revenue of public budgets and appreciates the level of development assistance and loans reflected in the 2009 estimates. The paper has found diverse levels of social investment, which are for the most countries below regional and internationally agreed benchmarks. To this extent various recommendations are formulated to ensure that children remain at the heart of the social investment for future generations.

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