Archive for October 2016

AGRIMONITOR: Learn the effects of agricultural policy, food security and climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean!


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By Rachel Boyce and Carmine Paolo De Salvo

For many Caribbean countries, the agricultural sector is still of significant importance. Rice production in Suriname and Guyana, for example, represents crucial economic activity for these countries. However, on a whole, Caribbean agriculture is facing substantial challenges. This is in part due to the diminution and elimination of European Union (EU) preferences for major agricultural exports together with the general impact of globalization and the limited competitiveness of several local products. It is important to recognize as well that the performance of the agricultural sector is determined by many independent factors which require further study and exploration. One such important element of the equation is, of course, agricultural policy.

To measure and monitor agricultural policies, the IDB has adopted the Producer Support Estimate (PSE) methodology developed by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This methodology is particularly useful as it provides a standardized quantitative method of measurement of the support provided to the agricultural sector. The Agrimonitor initiative has so far applied this methodology to 18 of its member countries.

By this point you may be wondering: what is Agrimonitor? Agrimonitor is the IDB Producer Support Estimates (PSE) country-level database for Latin American and Caribbean countries. It enables policy makers, policy analysts, and students to track agricultural policies and to assess and measure the composition of the support to agriculture. How much support is given to farmers? Through which programs? How this affects prices and consumers? All these answers can be found in Agrimonitor.

Since the PSE studies, at least those conducted by the IDB, are relatively new to the region, the Agrimonitor has developed a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) to help shed light on the importance of agricultural policy and the PSE tool to targeted and potential beneficiaries.

In this course, students will learn the overall effects of agricultural policy in Latin America and the Caribbean. Specifically, the first week of the course will address agricultural policies, their instruments, their effect on the economy and the agricultural sector in specific countries.  In the second week, the Producer Support Estimate Methodology (PSE) and its importance in understanding agricultural policy will be addressed. Week 3 of the course will present AGRIMONITOR as a useful way to explain agricultural policies in the region, compare trade policies and competitive strategies for their key products in selected countries in Latin-America and the Caribbean. The effects of agriculture and agricultural policy on food security in Latin-America and the Caribbean will be the core of Week 4, whereas Week 5 will cover the use of AGRIMONITOR to evaluate the effect of agricultural policies on climate change in Latin-America and the Caribbean.

The course presents case studies from specific countries to help students to gain a better grasp of the application of the PSE methodology, its indicators and the overall effects of agricultural policy. The course will be taught by experts who include professionals from the IDB and other international institutions, professors, agricultural policy analysts, and government officials.

The best students will also be able to participate in a research grant competition and win up to 10,000 USD to develop their research proposals with the IDB Agrimonitor team!

Do not let this opportunity to learn more about the agricultural sector in your region miss you! To register or for more details click here.


Move over Engineers, the Girls are coming..


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By Inder Jit Ruprah



Many of us unconsciously remain prisoners of the past even as reality has changed. We suffer from thinking that some professions are for men and others for women. That is no longer true. In the Caribbean, there are increasingly more women enrolled in the University of West Indies than men — a pattern that has repeated in practically all the individual careers.

Women enrollment rates have been increasing their margin over men. In 1975, there was 3 and a half men for every woman enrolled. In 1980, there was one man for every woman. In 2015, there was only half a man for every woman. This is repeated by individual careers (see chart above).  In 2015, almost 80% of enrollment in Humanities and Education were women. In Law, the number was 72%. In Medicine, the number was 71%. Even in Science and Technology the majority of enrollment was by women, 53%. Only in engineering men still dominate, where women represented 36% of enrollment. But if past trends continue, this last bastion of male dominance will also succumb to women. Assuming no discrimination in the labour market, in the near future probably it will be a woman who answers when you call an engineer.

Is this good? Yes, and No.  Yes, because half the population’s innate capacity was underused. Bad because the future means the other half of the population’s potential capability will be underused…the boy problem.

Calling States and Municipalities Innovative on Gender Issues!


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By Loreto Setien


The fourth edition of the “Gobernante – Eduardo Campos Award” contest is now accepting applications! The prize awards subnational governments for initiatives that are innovative and effective, and that promote broad social inclusion in different aspects of development in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean (see video here).

Entries for the contest must be submitted by October 15. This edition of the contest will recognize outstanding initiatives in two categories: prevention of and response to violence against women, and the promotion of women’s leadership and citizen participation. Awards will be given to two initiatives in each of these categories.

The contest is open to subnational entities (states, provinces, departments, regions, municipalities and any other subnational authority) from IDB borrowing member countries that contribute in a special way through their work to modernizing the State and benefiting civil society. In addition to the prize itself, the contest enables the IDB to promote and disseminate the exchange of good practices.

Prevention of and Response to Violence against Women

 According to a study by UN Women Caribbean, violence against women and girls is one of the most common forms of insecurity facing citizens in the Caribbean. In addition, in examining statistics in five Caribbean countries (The Bahamas, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago), the Global Study on Homicide (2011) by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime found a very high rate of murders: an average of 31 per 100,000 population versus the global average of 6.9 per 100,000 population. Among female homicide victims, 41% are women who were killed by a family member.

Violence against women is not only one of the pervasive human rights challenges, it also carries high costs that range from effects on physical and mental health to reduced reproduction. Violence against women is also a predictor of violence in a society.

Because of their proximity to the citizenry, subnational governments play an important role in preventing, reducing, and responding to violence against women. With this contest, the IDB recognizes the urgency of combating violence against women in the region as well as the important role that subnational governments can perform in guaranteeing the security of all citizens.

Women’s Leadership and Participation in Civic Life

Over recent decades, Latin America and the Caribbean have seen increasing participation of women in public office. At the municipal level, for example, the percentage of women mayors has doubled, from 6% in 1998 to 12% in 2015.

However, the incorporation of women into decision-making posts continues to proceed slowly, and their presence is still low, considering that women make up half the population. At the national level, for example, and in the specific case of the Caribbean, women hold only 18% of parliamentary seats.

Subnational governments play a key role in promoting the participation of women in participatory and decision-making processes. This contest marks the IDB’s recognition of the fundamental role that subnational governments can play in guaranteeing equal opportunities for women, so that both men and women alike can contribute to public policies and participate in the decisions of their communities.

Apply here:,9734.html

Why Trinidad and Tobago needs Data on Intimate Partner Violence


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By Adria Armbrister


Irene Scott/AusAID [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Trinidad and Tobago is a twin-island nation associated with fun, sun, soca and Carnival. But the day after Carnival in February of 2016 brought memories of good times as well as news of the violent murder of a foreign visitor, Asami Nagakiya, a Japanese musician. The case made international news for many reasons.

First, because the institutional response to the murder was inappropriate, blaming Nagakiya´s behavior for her death: “The woman has the responsibility to ensure that [she is] not abused”, opined the now former mayor of Port of Spain.  In addition, a lack of technical capacity was revealed during the investigation when the forensic pathologist deemed the analysis of sexual assault samples “beyond his competence.”

Secondly, the victim was a foreigner in a country that derives a good part of its income from tourism, especially around it´s pre-Lenten Carnival celebration, the largest in the Caribbean region. Ms. Nagakiya´s body was subsequently returned to Japan and there has been no follow-up news on her case.

Despite the “extraordinary” circumstances of Asami Nagakiya´s death, the case raises the question — how common is violence against women (VAW) in Trinidad and Tobago, whether or not it results in death, and what the capacity should be to manage and resolve cases. Unfortunately, there are no data on the prevalence (the number of individuals who have (or have had) a certain characteristic within a certain time period) of femicide or intimate partner violence (IPV) in Trinidad and Tobago (nor in any other English-speaking Caribbean countries, except Jamaica). This is because the country has yet to collect national household data on IPV (The IDB and UN Women are now supporting the design of a national data collection on IPV in Trinidad and Tobago).

Studies across countries in the Latin America and Caribbean region demonstrate reported prevalence rates of physical and/or sexual abuse by intimate partners of 19% for the English-speaking Caribbean (specifically Jamaica); 29% for Central America; and over 40% for Andean countries.  But is it fair to assume that the rate of intimate partner violence in Trinidad and Tobago is similar to that of Jamaica? Are there any particularities of the Trinidad and Tobago case that might influence the experience of violence for adolescent and adult women?

To answer these questions, the IDB, in November of 2015 , collected data on women´s well-being with the participation of 227 women between 15 and 70 years of age living in a low- to middle-income urban area in the East West corridor of the island of Trinidad.   The study found that the prevalence of physical violence (having been slapped, had their arms twisted, struck with a fist or kicked, choked or pushed down by a current or former partner) was 42.3% and the prevalence of psychological violence (having been forbidden from interacting with friends, family or community or threatened with physical violence by a current or former partner) was between 41% and 63% for this population of women. That is to say that almost half of the women in this Trinidad and Tobago sample had, at some point in their lives, experienced physical and/or psychological abuse at the hands of an intimate partner (husband, boyfriend, child´s father) or former partner.

Additionally, we found that differences in experiences of violence were correlated with ethnicity.  The majority of the participants, 57%, identified as being of African ethnicity. The other largest ethnic self-identification was “mixed” (African and East Indian), 15%, and East Indian, 10%. However, despite their small numbers in the sample, 55% of East Indian women participants reported having experienced physical violence at the hands of a current or former intimate partner and 68% reported having experienced psychological violence. Just over 40% of African women reported having experienced physical violence. In fact, in all areas of violence, race/ethnicity was related to higher or lower probability of having experienced physical, psychological or sexual violence, such that African women experienced the lowest levels (though these levels are quite high considering the assumption that levels of IPV in the Caribbean are in the teens) and East Indian women experienced the highest levels, with mixed African-East Asian women between them.

Statistics provide us with information that aids governments and program designers in prioritizing their resources, defining their target populations and evaluating the effectiveness of their programming. This pilot demonstrates the importance of collecting regular data on IPV.  Women in the surveyed community have experienced more than twice the levels of IPV than is being assumed by the available data. The assumption of lower levels of violence may mean less investment in knowledge about the causes and consequences of IPV, fewer improvements in services for prevention and service provision for women and men affected by this type of violence, and oversight regarding the need to create culturally-relevant anti-violence interventions. The data showed that these areas of investment should be a priority for Trinidad and Tobago to ensure that, in the future, all can enjoy its culture under the protection of institutions prepared to manage the unexpected.

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The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Inter-American Development Bank, its Management, its Board of Executive Directors or its member Governments.

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