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Building citizenship through social policy in the Eastern Caribbean: the role of social guarantees

Research reports

Written by Andrew Norton

The purpose of this volume is to demonstrate how the social guarantees approach can be applied to social policy design, delivery and monitoring at the country level, especially in the island states of the Eastern Caribbean where interest has been shown to further develop the applicability of this framework. The report builds on previous work done by the World Bank and the Organization of American States (OAS) on the theme of social guarantees, and is dedicated to celebrating the life and memory of Estanislao Gacitúa-Marió.

Rights-based approaches to social policy are often misinterpreted as welfarist in nature. On the surface, this argument seems to make sense. These frameworks basically guarantee certain services to the population by the government and with these rights, come responsibilities for the state to deliver. While this is true, it leaves out two important aspects of rights-based approaches. First, they create a framework for agency and mobilization on the part of citizens and not just on governments. Second, they can have direct practical benefits for the state. 

The three chapters of this short volume respectively argue that: (1) rights-based approaches to social policy are highly effective if implemented under the correct scenarios; (2) social protection systems and social guarantees are mutually applicable, and (3) the Eastern Caribbean region should consider utilizing a rights-based approach to social policy. This volume highlights some of the potential benefits and costs of using the social guarantees approach, and reflects the many tensions, subtleties and unsettled discussions that exist.

Maximillian Ashwill and Andrew Norton