The paper presents the challenges and lessons learnt from the Project "Development of Social Statistical Databases and the Methodological Approaches for a Social Vulnerability Index (SVI); for Small Island Developing States' (NET/00/035);, which was undertaken by the Social Development Unit of
the ECLAC/CDCC secretariat. The Project aims to make available to social planners and decision makers in the Caribbean, a body of social statistics comprised of data sets being generated by national central statistical offices of the ECLAC/CDCC member States. The paper situates the Project within the context of the changing notions of social policy globally and critiques the processes of Caribbean social policy.
It highlights some of the challenges of a technological, statistical and logistical nature, raised by the process of establishing a fully searchable subregional database. Recommendations are advanced for the enhancement of national statistics and for the promotion of evidenced-based social policy in the subregion.
The paper concludes that for the Caribbean, which has allocated significant resources to social development since the post-independence period, evidenced-based social policy in this rapidly changing global environment, is possible. It recommends inter alia: (a); improving the technological capability of national statistical offices; (b); promoting evidenced-based social policy formulation among policy makers and technocrats; (c); the institutionalisation of monitoring, appraisal and evaluation of national social policy initiatives; (d); building capacity at the national level in analysis, monitoring and evaluation in the social sector; and (e); sharing best practices.