Social development a significant issue to CARICOM

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Ambassador Rodney Charles

Social development continues to be a significant issue to the governments and peoples of the Caribbean Community, the representative of Trinidad and Tobago Ambassador Rodney Charles told the General Assembly's Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee.

He said it is evident that social development cannot be considered in a vacuum but must be duly incorporated and taken into account in the wider sustainable development agenda alongside the economic and environmental pillars in order to accelerate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

” CARICOM has long adopted a people-centred approach to sustainable development, which focuses on the empowerment of its citizens and addressing inequalities in efforts to enhance human development and by extension, social and economic development. Recognizing their needs, as well as their potential to make invaluable contributions to the sustainable development of our region, we continue to undertake initiatives to attend to the vulnerable groups in our societies including women, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, youth and the elderly. We also strive to ensure that citizens have equal access to education, health care, transport and other necessary services which form an integral part of the social development framework.”

Ambassador Charles noted that another means of creating an enabling environment to facilitate empowerment of the people involves steps towards the diversification of the region's economies. He pointed to one such initiative in the area of agriculture where citizens in rural areas which are largely dependent on agriculture can engage in agricultural activities which would be used to contribute to enterprise development.

“Within CARICOM, we recognize the importance of contributions of families to the development of our societies. As a result, we continue to implement a number of policies and initiatives which support their roles and will remain engaged in the preparatory process leading up to the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family to be convened in 2014 here in New York.  CARICOM is also fully supportive of the thrust towards a disability inclusive development agenda which seeks to ensure that the needs of persons with disabilities are adequately addressed.  In this connection, many of our Member States have either signed or ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its optional protocol.  Additionally, recognizing that the differently-abled are usually among the most marginalized in our societies, CARICOM Heads of Government took the decision at their last meeting held in July this year in Trinidad and Tobago, to begin a regional dialogue to highlight and address the issues being faced by persons with disabilities, and to convene a regional High-level meeting on persons with disabilities and special needs.”

Ambassador Charles also touched on the subject of youth. He said recognizing the significant role of youth as partners in development and in order to facilitate their continued empowerment, CARICOM has developed a regional strategy for youth development.

This is Donn Bobb reporting.

Duration: 3’03″

Filed under Caribbean News.