(PRESS RELEASE) — Ministers and senior government officials from across the Caribbean have called for repositioning vulnerable, indebted Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) on the path to sustainable development. This, during the 19th meeting of the Monitoring Committee of the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee (CDCC), held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on 17 May 2019.
Addressing the high-level meeting, the Deputy Executive Secretary for Management and Programme Analysis of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Raúl García-Buchaca, on behalf of the Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena, highlighted that “our focus continues to be on building the necessary skills and institutional capacity, so that those of you who have responsibility for implementing sustainable development at home are better positioned to meeting the challenges of integrated sectoral planning and policy coherence which are essential factors to the successful implementation of Agenda 2030”.
Welcoming the Member Countries and Associate Members of ECLAC, the Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago, Dennis Moses, noted that “Trinidad and Tobago had been the beneficiary of a range of technical cooperation activities over the current biennium. Indeed, we have found a reliable and trusted partner in the UN ECLAC Subregional Headquarters for the Caribbean. We have also come to rely on ECLAC as a subregional think-tank, which facilitates increased contact and cooperation among us, the membership”.
The current Chair of the CDCC, Minister with Responsibility for External Affairs of Saint Lucia, Sarah Flood-Beaubrun, echoed these words, and further underscored that “important take-aways from the sessions this week include the importance of institutional, operational and policy coherence for more effective integrated sustainable development planning; the value of a strong network of national focal points in this regard; the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all solution; we find the best fit for our own national circumstances, and we will have to find innovative ways to strengthen our capacity for data capture and analysis to meet the monitoring and reporting obligations of the 2030 Agenda”.
To reposition vulnerable, indebted Caribbean SIDS on the path to sustainable development, senior government representatives, economists, statisticians, non-governmental organization officials and civil society leaders discussed the importance of building stronger synergies between the agendas of SIDS and SDG implementation.
Highlighting the efforts undertaken by ECLAC’s subregional headquarters for the Caribbean in this regard over the past twelve months, Director of ECLAC Caribbean, Diane Quarless, underscored that “the Port of Spain team remains enthusiastic and committed to providing targeted and substantive support to meet the specific needs of our constituents in the Caribbean. We have completed another year of initiatives in research, policy analysis, provision of technical assistance and building institutional capacity to advance the sustainable development process in the sub-region”.
In addition, Quarless reflected on ECLAC Caribbean’s contribution to the subregion through strengthening the capacity of governments with targeted training and support activities, including in the areas of debt sustainability, disaster assessments and policy making.
Discussions also centred on the outcomes of the third meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, which was held from 22-26 April 2019 in Santiago, Chile, during which authorities focused attention on the difficulties affecting the subregion and acknowledged the shared limitations on development that still persist among Caribbean States.
The meeting also presented preparations for the High-Level Political Forum and SIDS Summit, which will take place during the 74th UN General Assembly later this year, during which the Caribbean will be raising the importance of empowering people, ensuring inclusiveness and promoting equality in building strategies to improve countries’ resilience.
ECLAC’s subregional headquarters for the Caribbean serves as the secretariat of the CDCC. Regular sessions are held every two years, with a meeting of the Monitoring Committee convened during the intervening year.
In the framework of his visit to Port of Spain, ECLAC’s Deputy Executive Secretary Raúl García-Buchaca also participated in the closing plenary of the Learning Conference: Implementing the 2030 Agenda in the Caribbean Region. The event, he stated, was organized through a very fruitful partnership among ECLAC, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) “as a practical demonstration of the United Nations’ Delivering as One in the Caribbean and of our commitment to support you in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda”.
“ECLAC is optimistic that the pace of SDG implementation in the Caribbean is steady and firmly believes that capacity building interventions, such as this Learning Conference, are essential enabling factors for Caribbean SIDS to plan for and implement the SDGs in an integrated and cohesive manner”, Raúl García-Buchaca said in his closing remarks.