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Regional officials gave their commitment to make quality services available and accessible for survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) during the launch of the Essential Services Package (ESP) Community of Practice (CoP) mechanism on Wednesday 25 May in Trinidad & Tobago. 

Members of the COP signed a compact of commitment in which, among other things, they pledged to uphold a survivor-centered approach in providing services for survivors of GBV.

Alison Drayton, Director of the United Nations Population Fund Sub-Regional Office of the Caribbean (UNFPA SROC) disclosed this information in a press conference at the end of the event on Wednesday.

During the press conference, the Sub-Regional Director outlined that the participants all came together and made it clear that they were serious about having adequate measures in place to tackle the silent pandemic of GBV in the Caribbean. 

She also used the opportunity to announce that the UNFPA launched Guidelines for the Management of Safe Shelters for GBV survivors in the English and Dutch speaking Caribbean - another tool that can be used with the implementation of the CoP. 

“One essential response to GBV is safe shelters and alternative accommodation for GBV survivors. The availability and accessibility of safe shelters are lifesaving and can turn the course of someone’s life and well-being” she said. The guidelines can be found at this link.

Meanwhile, Deputy Programme Manager for Gender and Development at the CARICOM Secretariat, Ann-Marie Williams, thanked UNFPA and the European Union for their support in this initiative. She also reiterated CARICOM’s commitment to ensuring that the ESP CoP is successfully implemented.

“The Essential Services Package (ESP) Community of Practice (CoP) happens to be an opportunity for all of us in CARICOM… it is something that we want to make the order of the day when we talk about Gender-Based Violence” she said.

The ESP CoP is being established under the EU-funded Regional Spotlight Initiative which seeks to eliminate all forms of Violence Against Women and Girls.