Poverty eradication a fundamental imperative: CARICOM

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Raymond Wolfe

CARICOM Member States are of the firm belief that what is most invaluable in a society is in essence the opportunity for development given to the individual.

Speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community –CARICOM, the representative of Jamaica Ambassador Raymond Wolfe told the Commission on Social Development that the region has identified poverty eradication as a fundamental development imperative and is fully committed to the challenge of combating this scourge.

Raymond Wolfe:  Our states are characterized by our small size, our dispersed populations and economies, our remoteness from international markets, high costs of transport and limited diversification in production and exports. As a result of these characteristics our countries are extremely vulnerable to external economic shocks and highly susceptible to natural disasters, which pose a major challenge to growth and resilience. Our communities are particularly troubled with the further constraints on our fight against poverty arises from the new global environment of multiple crises – the world financial and economic crisis, the food and energy crises and the numerous challenges posed by climate change. CARICOM continues to express grave concern over the vicious cycle whereby non-communicable diseases and their risk factors worsen poverty, while poverty contributes to rising rates of non-communicable diseases, posing a threat to public health and economic social development

 According to Ambassador Wolfe, the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals is an active work in progress in the region. He said several member states have integrated the MDGs into their national planning frameworks, while others are still in the process of doing so, having completed national MDG reviews. He added that progress has been varied to the extent some goals have already been achieved or will be achieved by 2015.

Raymond Wolfe: CARICOM member states have designed and implemented domestic and regional policies aimed at eradicating poverty; however against the backdrop of the numerous challenges, these efforts are not sufficient to adequately manage the problem of poverty. Our member states recognize that the hope of the fulfillment of comprehensive poverty eradication rests in our global collective commitment.

An important issue that we will continue to stress is the situation of developing countries that have been graduated to Middle Income Status. It is our view that there is a case to be made for re-thinking the treatment of countries like ours given the challenges, constraints such as poverty, high indebtedness, and other socio-economic problems that we continue to face. Middle income classification restricts access to concessionary financing resulting for example in the cutting off of funding from the Global Fund for AIDS, which is critical to a holistic approach to poverty eradication..

Ambassador Wolfe stressed that notwithstanding the seemingly insurmountable challenges that threaten commitment to the cause of poverty eradication, CARICOM has never and will never lose focus on the purpose of its mission. He said the region will continue to work assiduously within the commission and other United Nations frameworks and organizations, with a view to overcoming the challenges and producing effective results.

This is Donn Bobb reporting.

Duration: 3’28″

Filed under Caribbean News.
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