Prime Minister calls for equity and change in categorization of Small Island Developing States

By OPM

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United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May visits New York for the Annual UNGA visit.

PRESS RELEASE – At the General Debate during the 72ND United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister Honourable Allen Michael Chastanet appealed for all multilateral discussions on development, on resilience and the sustainable development be equitable and just.

Prime Minister Chastanet noted that the UN will never succeed when few do well and a growing many do not.

Speaking about Small Island Developing States (SIDS) the Prime Minister asked: “How can we, when the progress we make is fragile and unequal? How can we when we indulge our differences to the exclusion of the work we must do together? How can we, when inequity remains the driving force of our international system – propelling some forward and leaving too many behind? How can we, as leaders talk about sustainable development goals when the people of our countries are stuck in a quagmire, every day struggling to survive?

“We, the United Nations must get better at the policies that strike at the root of the problem and ground our 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in one word – equity,” the Prime Minister went on and called for a move to ensure everyone has the most basic needs.

“There should be a minimum standard of living for each and every one of our citizens and we must maintain base standards that provide adequate healthcare, education, housing, security and economic opportunity for every citizen in our countries. Without establishing such standards we cannot engage in any meaningful discussion or action plan for sustainable development . . . Any overhaul of the UN system must be founded the principle of equity without which the sustainable development goals are dreams that go away when we open our eyes to our constant state of crisis.”

The Prime Minister also addressed how SIDS are categorized.

“We must look more honestly on how we categorize each other, and how the development and donor community rank us. How can we call a country a middle income one today based on its per capita GDP, when we know that its location means it’s likely that at some point within a decade or two, it will be impacted by a natural disaster which will bring it and its people to their knees. It is unconscionable to see our peers have to beg and plead for goodwill, and to have to depend on commercial rates to rebuild broken economies – all because the traditional system is so unyielding, archaic in its design, and at times heartless.”

Prime Minister Chastanet called for a change in this model, especially in light of the devastation hurricanes have caused in the Caribbean.

“The model has to change to allow us all the opportunity to build back stronger and more resilient, the infrastructure that can secure our futures and that of our people.”

Prime Minister Chastanet said the Caribbean region was committed to working together to rebuild stronger and better.

“We have come time and time again to each other’s aid and have provided to each other the scarce resources – truly being our brother’s keeper. We have also been very fortunate to receive support from friends near and far, as we seek to make a better world for those who will follow us. In our case, friendships like those that we have with Taiwan, Cuba and Mexico amongst others, allow us to envision a positive future.”

During the United Nations General Assembly Prime Minister Chastanet took part in multi-lateral as well as bi-lateral meetings. The Prime Minister also attended several forums including “The Caribbean After Hurricane Irma”, the Bloomberg Global Business Forum and a Commonwealth forum ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting hosted by Prime Minister Teresa May.

Prime Minister with Mike Bloomberg, three-term mayor of New York City.

Prime Minister Chastanet with the President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid.

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