About the Caribbean Observatory on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
With the recognition of the link between gender-based violence and limited access to sexual and reproductive health services, the Caribbean Observatory on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, also called the SRHR Observatory, was launched in September 2021 to help strengthen regional cooperation to prevent and respond to family violence in the Caribbean.
The SRHR Observatory is intended to serve as a platform for social monitoring and advocacy, which will provide timely and independent analysis to address the high tolerance of gender-based violence and related harmful social norms across the Caribbean. Its primary aims are:
Enhancing the region’s capacity for advocacy to eliminate gender-based violence.
Advancing legislative and policy changes and making programmatic linkages between gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Improving access to and uptake of services to address both gender-based-violence and sexual and reproductive health and rights for vulnerable populations.
The participants who engage with the observatory comprise primary, secondary and tertiary communities. The primary community includes civil society organisations, advocacy groups, technocrats, public servants within key line ministries, and other decision-makers in government, including parliamentarians. The secondary community is made up of academia, such as researchers and students, international development partners, legal professionals, faith-based organisations, healthcare workers, and media. The tertiary community comprises users of healthcare services and the general public.
The Observatory will ensure that there is particular focus on the most vulnerable populations; namely: women; adolescents and youth; persons living with disabilities; sex workers; persons living with HIV and specifically women living with HIV; and persons of diverse gender identity and/or sexual orientation; and migrants.
The SRHR Observatory was launched under Pillar 3 of the Spotlight Initiative Regional Programme to contribute to strengthening regional cooperation to prevent and respond to family violence in the Caribbean. It is aimed at strengthening the region’s positioning to deliver on key advocacy goals to eliminate Gender Based Violence (GBV) and promote SRHR through galvanising movements to advance legislative and policy changes, making programmatic linkages between GBV and SRHR and being an impetus for social monitoring and advocacy by ensuring that no one is left behind. Launched in 2017, the Spotlight Initiative is a global initiative of the United Nations, which with support from the European Union is aimed at eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls.
The Spotlight Initiative is being implemented in Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. The regional programme, however, benefits both Spotlight, and non-Spotlight Caribbean countries through the production of and access to regional public goods. It prioritises working with regional bodies, regional advocacy with civil society organisation networks, transferring lessons learned and engaging in South-South and triangular cooperation. It also addresses specific regional challenges that inhibit progress on the prevention of and response to violence against women and girls.
UNFPA in Caribbean
UNFPA provides continuous engagement with the Secretariat of the SRHR Observatory and provides technical support, guidance and coaching to ensure that the platform carries out its functions effectively during the Spotlight Initiative and beyond.
The UNFPA Sub-Regional Office for the Caribbean (SROC) serves 22 countries and overseas territories in the English and Dutch-Speaking Caribbean. UNFPA promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity by furthuring sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equality and equity and supporting the use of population data in the formulation of national policies and programmes.
As the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, UNFPA seeks to end unmet need for family planning, end preventable maternal death, and end gender-based violence (GBV) and other harmful practices by 2030.
The Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation (CFPA)
The SRHR Observatory is hosted by a regional civil society organisation, the Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation (CFPA), which is a leading advocate for sexual and reproductive health and rights at community, national and regional levels. Established in 1971, CFPA comprises twelve (12) Member Affiliates, four (4) Associate Members, and four (4) partner Family Planning Associations (FPAs), which are leading sexual and reproductive health and rights-focused civil society organisations in the Caribbean. The Affiliates are: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Bermuda, Curacao, Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; the Associates are: Barbados, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago; and Partner FPAs in Belize, Haiti and Guyana.
The SRHR Observatory, through CFPA, is integral to help advance sexual and reproductive health and rights in the region and combating gender-based violence.
A Caribbean where the sexual and reproductive health and rights of its people are respected, protected, promoted and fulfilled and gender-based violence is eliminated.
To advocate and promote social monitoring for strengthened policy and programmatic linkages between gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health and rights.