Minister Cox presents on Digital Transformation at XII Ministerial Forum for Development in Latin America and the Caribbean

Port-of-Spain --- Minister of Social Development and Family Services, Senator the Honourable Donna Cox, presented on Day 2 of the XII Virtual Ministerial Forum for Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, which is jointly being hosted by the UNDP, ECLAC and the Government of Colombia over the period January 12th-14th, 2021. The theme for Wednesday’s roundtable discussion was Inclusive Digital Transformation as a Mechanism for Productivity, Inclusion and Resilience, and featured contributions from the esteemed Ministers of the Governments of Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Honduras and Argentina. Opening remarks were delivered by Luis Felipe López-Calva, UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, whilst Victor Munaz, High Presidential Consular for Innovation and Digital Transformation of Colombia served as Moderator.

Aimed at facilitating dialogue around public policies for social protection systems, digital transformation and effective governance, amongst other areas of interest, the Ministerial Forum will also mark achievements in the field of social and human development, as well as, chart responses to the new challenges of the region in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic.

Minister Cox commenced her presentation on a positive note by highlighting the fact that Trinidad and Tobago, like other countries around the region, seized the opportunity presented by COVID-19 to accelerate its digital transformation agenda. Special mention was made of the Government’s National Development Strategy Vision 2030, the National ICT Plan, which outlines the blueprint for the country’s digital transformation agenda and the recent creation of the Ministry of Public Administration and Digital Transformation.  According to Minister Cox, we have therefore embraced the opportunity to Rethink, Reset and Rebuild and further brought some of the Ministry’s core strategic initiatives to the forefront. Minister Cox also elaborated on some of the digitalisation initiatives that were introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic by the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services and other Government Ministries and Agencies such as those of Education, Public Administration and Digital Transformation and the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago.

Additionally, Minister Cox used the opportunity presented by the Forum to showcase the premier ICT initiatives that are being implemented in the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, which will help revolutionise the delivery of services in the social sector; namely the Social Services Client Management System (SSCMS) and the Integrated Social Enterprise Management System (ISEMS). The Minister stated that, during the heights of the pandemic, the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services capitalised on a web-based solution to facilitate the digitalisation of client data to upgrade data management processes, improve service delivery and enhance the customer experience. This IT solution was also able to facilitate client data entry, validation and seamless generation of payment files and allowed interoperability with the banking system, allowing for direct deposit payments and the creation of client payment cards.  The Minister also shared with her regional colleagues, the Government’s intention to set a new transformative agenda to chart a roadmap to recovery and build a more inclusive post COVID-19 environment for the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.

As the lead agency in the social sector, charged with the mandate of providing quality social services to transform lives, Minister Cox assured the Forum participants that the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services is on track in adapting its operations and building the capacity of the citizens for greater resilience in the future. 

Minister Cox later participated in the Fourth Meeting of the Presiding Officers of the Regional Conference on Social Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, which brought together all the authorities of the Social Development Ministries or Secretariats from Argentina, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Columbia and others. It was chaired by Javier May Rodriguez, Secretary of Welfare of Mexico, in his capacity of President of the Board of Directors of the Regional Conference. The meeting’s aim was to discuss the continuing implementation of the Regional Agenda for Inclusive Social Development, which was adopted at the third session of the Regional Conference on Social Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Mexico City in October 2019.

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