Saint Lucia and WFP partner to expand coverage of the public assistance programme as part of the national COVID-19 response
Castries – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Saint Lucia to support an expansion of the nation’s Public Assistance Programme (PAP) by 1,000 households as part of the nation’s coronavirus (COVID-19) response.
The Government of Saint Lucia has been proactive in managing the spread of COVID-19 since its first case in March 2020. Whilst mechanisms put in place have been effective, border closures, movement restrictions and suspension of business activity have had a severe socio-economic impact on the country and its people.
WFP leverages the resources of the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Operations (ECHO), the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) the India-UN Fund and United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation as well as its own internal funds to assist the most vulnerable people of Saint Lucia. The resources provided by WFP also forms part of a broader cooperation of UN agencies with the Government of Saint Lucia, under a Joint Programme on social protection. Participating UN Organisations include the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with support from the Joint Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Fund.
The expansion of PAP coverage supported by WFP will also unlock longer-term assistance through the World Bank-funded Human Capital Resilience Project, which allows for an extension of assistance for the PAP, as part of the ongoing social protection reform.
“WFP’s support, and that of its partners, comes at an important time. For the Government of Saint Lucia, meeting the needs of those most affected by the pandemic is a priority”, explained the Hon. Lenard Peter Montoute, Minister of Ministry of Equity, Social Justice, Local Government and Empowerment. “We want to ensure that Saint Lucians have the opportunity to prioritise food, health supplies, education materials for children, and other needs in this unprecedented time.”
‘’WFP is part of a multi-partner action to ensure that the most impacted men, women and children in Saint Lucia receive assistance in the short-term – to- medium term, recognising that we are still in the midst of a crisis,” explains Mr. Regis Chapman, Head of Office in Barbados, who coordinates WFP’s support in the Caribbean.
WFP, alongside UN and other partners, continues to work closely with the Government of Saint Lucia to strengthen how existing systems can more swiftly and effectively meet the needs of affected people during a shock. Strengthening the use of social protection in a crisis is crucial as islands like Saint Lucia manage climatic, economic and health-related vulnerabilities now and in the future.