A poverty reduction plan
April 23, 2012
Last week the Coalition for the Protection of Children responded to
The Royal Gazette's series on escalating food prices by calling for a national plan to address poverty. Briefly mentioned in the article were the Poverty Reduction Strategy Plans, known as PRSPs, used in developing countries.
Bermuda should seriously consider establishing a national plan to address poverty and inequality and can use the PRSP as a framework. PRSPs are required by the International Financial Institutions including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order for developing countries to receive aid and humanitarian assistance. They detail a country's plan to promote growth and reduce poverty through the implementation of specific economic, social and structural policies over a period of three years or longer.
Bermuda is by no means a developing country, nor should it be considered as such, but it does have growing social and economic concerns that need to be addressed in a more comprehensive and long term manner.
What is relevant about the PRSPs for Bermuda is that they outline a participatory and all-encompassing process for their creation. One major function of the PRSP is to encourage more participation from the population in order to increase the influence of stakeholders in policy creation, programme implementation, resource allocation and priority setting. This ought to include government participation, stakeholder participation (including the private sector, unions and other civil society groups) as well as participation and consultation of the poor which is generally facilitated by the third sector. The intent is to culminate a degree of national consensus, thereby creating a poverty reduction strategy that is more representative of stakeholders interests.
Five core principles underscore the PRSP approach (as outlined by the IMF):
1. Country-driven, promoting national ownership of strategies through broad-based participation of civil society;
2. Result-oriented and focused on outcomes that will benefit the poor;
3. Comprehensive in recognising the multidimensional nature of poverty;
4. Partnership-oriented, involving coordinated participation of development partners (government, domestic stakeholders, and external donors); and
5. Based on a long-term perspective for poverty reduction.
Bermuda should consider using the PRSP as a framework in the creation of a National Plan to address poverty and inequality.
The Coalition for the Protection of Children