Climate change one of the main challenges impeding SIDS efforts to achieve social development efforts: CARICOM

Eden Charles

With the world at a critical juncture in the lead-up to the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda, poverty eradication, social integration and employment must play a pivotal role in defining that agenda, the Commission for Social Development heard this week as it resumed its fifty-first session.

During a high-level panel discussion on the session's priority theme, the representative of Trinidad and Tobago Eden Charles, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said the priority theme provided the Commission ample scope for tackling current social development challenges.

He reiterated CARICOM's position that climate change was one of the principal challenges impeding efforts by small island developing States to achieve their social development objectives. Indeed, he said, small islands could have their entire economies wiped out by a single weather event, which would exacerbate poverty, increase unemployment and destroy infrastructure.

As for broader issues, Mr. Charles said CARICOM Governments and institutions were continuing to develop strategies to help the region's people surmount social development challenges, emphasizing that those efforts were impacted by the failure of some development partners to live up to internationally agreed goals and objectives. He said that situation has forced one CARICOM member country to seek redress through the World Trade Organization dispute-resolution mechanism.

Noting that the Caribbean rum industry was being negatively impacted by unfair manufacturing subsidies, the Trinidad and Tobago diplomat emphasized that achieving social development objectives, in that region and elsewhere, required allowing viable and sustainable economies to grow without being hampered by the unfair policies of large States. As for other CARICOM measures, he said the bloc was promoting coherence and synergy among the three pillars of sustainable development while focusing on regional competitiveness and the adoption of Millennium Goals-based policies in the area of socio-economic advancement.

Ambassador Charles said the region's Governments were well aware that all their strategies could be impacted by external shocks such as volatile food and fuel prices, as well as climate change, noting also that recent conferences and meetings had considered possible ways to tackle unemployment and empower young people.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 2’07″

Filed under Caribbean News.
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