Still a number of critical issues facing SIDS as the world moves beyond the MDGs

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Maxine McClean

As a small island developing state (SIDS), Barbados recognizes that as the world moves beyond the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), they still have a number of critical issues, some of them related to those goals.

That's what Barbados' Foreign Minister Maxine McClean told me during a telephone interview from her office in Bridgetown.

” I believe at the end of the day we would not as a world and certainly among Small Island Developing States, would have eradicated poverty and hunger. That is critical. And as we focus on our people, we have to ask ourselves how do we then address in any strategy to eradicate poverty or hunger, speak to the issues of youth development. And in looking at youth development, critical components of that would be education and employment. We also have to recognize that within the context of many Small Island Developing States, the issue of gender equality is very critical, and women's empowerment. In relation to that, I would want, however, to flag that as we talk about gender equality from the prospective of Barbados specifically, we have to focus on our young males in particular. I think as a region and in fact, it may be an almost global phenomenon, a lot of young men are being left out of the loop so to speak in terms of taking advantage of educational opportunities. So, to my mind, gender equality and women's empowerment, I separate them in a sense, because we have to focus on males as well. If we are also to achieve development, we have to recognize that we are plagued in Barbados and in many developing countries and Small Island States with chronic non-communicable diseases and these things must be tackled not post the diagnoses of a CNCD, but we also have to focus on preventative programmes and therefore to my mind a critical component of that has to do with health and nutrition, and linked of course would therefore be a programme of sustainable agriculture because at the end of the day, we cannot separate these. We are talking about sustainable development and in looking at that, we have to ask ourselves how do we within our countries identify elements which characterize such development as well as how do we identify what are the critical initiatives or interventions that must be taken in order to achieve that.”

Barbados' Foreign Minister Maxine McClean.

This is Donn Bobb reporting.

Duration: 2’47″

Filed under Caribbean News.
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