Building competitiveness in the face of vulnerability
The first Human Development Report for the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) calls on the nine small island member states to build economic competitiveness and promote human development, in the face of vulnerabilities ranging from trade imbalances to hurricanes and volcanoes. The Report recommends OECS members to promote a more flexible and mobile labour force and focus on generating new jobs. It also advocates the creation of a knowledge-based economy, with a greater emphasis on high-value services such as offshore banking. In addition, the Report recommends to reinforce people's skills, through a reformed education system with closer links to the labour market, and greater economic diversification, with a focus on the service sector, including financial and other business services, tourism, telecommunications and new agricultural sectors. The Report also examines the islands' economic and social vulnerabilities through an "adjusted HDI" that gauges their capacity to cope with economic crises and natural disasters.