DOMINICA, May 2 (IPS) – Caribbean countries sign the 2022-2026 agreement, hoping to increase development aid to improve health, education and social services while addressing climate-related challenges. When Dominica joined the United Nations Multicountry Framework for Sustainable Development for the English and Dutch Speaking Caribbean (MSDCF) in March, the country joined others such as Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Aruba as part of a 5-year framework to plan and implement UN development initiatives.
Support for the 2022 to 2026 agreement has continued to grow since December 2021, when Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and Guyana signed the Cooperation Framework, which hopes to help countries achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
For countries in the Caribbean, one of the most vulnerable regions in the world, the framework is a crucial tool, based on building climate and economic resilience, promoting equality and improving peace, security and the rule of law.
It’s also crucial for a country like Dominica, which lost $1.4 billion, or 226% of its GDP, to Hurricane Maria in 2017. The small island nation has been on a mission to build resilience across all sectors through initiatives such as its Climate Resilience and Recovery Plan as it grapples with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.
The country’s representatives have used platforms such as the United Nations General Assembly to urge development partners to consider the unique vulnerabilities of small island states in their aid packages.
The country’s prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, says the UN framework will help Caribbean governments implement programs that strengthen health, education and social services while contributing to economic growth.
“We are in a tumultuous period marked by enormous environmental and climate-related challenges, conflict and economic uncertainty. The agreement proposes to help our small areas meet the trials of our time and achieve economic resilience and prosperity. There is cause for optimism as we devise ways to tackle our common problems together,” he said.
The agreement builds on a 2017-2022 framework signed by 18 Caribbean countries. Initiatives in that regard have focused on areas such as building resilience in the Caribbean and implementing low-emission, climate-resilient technology in agriculture.
UN officials say the new agreement, dubbed “the second-generation framework,” takes lessons learned into account. Developed during the pandemic, it also recognizes that COVID-19 has exacerbated structural vulnerabilities for Caribbean countries, which now need to “build better.”
“This new agreement opens a new era of cooperation to foster cooperation and mutual commitment for the people of Dominica,” said United Nations Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Didier Trebucq at the Dominica signing.
For months, leaders in the Caribbean have talked about the risk of failing to meet the sustainable development goals as they divert scarce resources to deal with the protracted pandemic.
According to preliminary data from the UN, Goals 1 to 6, known as the ‘people-centered goals’, have been hit hard by COVID-19.
The Prime Minister of Barbados, the first leader in the Barbados and OECS grouping to sign the MSDCF, said the pandemic has slowed progress towards achieving the SDG goals.
“We will have problems in the fight against poverty, we will have problems making sure people don’t go hungry, we will have problems making sure people have access to good health and well-being, as we know is already happening. during the pandemic. We will face difficulties in delivering quality education and who are the biggest victims of this pandemic, if not our children around the world, many of whom have been denied access to education because they cannot access things like electricity and online tools to receive it,” Prime Minister Mia Mottley said, referring to Goals 1 to 4.
She said Goals 5 and 6 – Gender equality and clean water and sanitation are also at risk, noting that women have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, while countries like Barbados remain concerned about access to groundwater in light of the crisis. climate crisis .
The MSDCF was developed by the six UN country teams, after consultations with government agencies, the private sector, development partners and civil society organisations.
It will function on two levels; regionally by adopting joint approaches to common challenges and nationally to address country and area-specific problems and vulnerabilities and help governments prepare for future external shocks.
According to the MSDCF, the vision is for the region to become more resilient, “have greater capacity to achieve all SDGs and become a place where people choose to live and reach their full potential.”
It promises to provide more effective support to signatory countries, through streamlined use of UN resources and in line with the goals of the recently approved reform of the UN development system.
It hopes to accelerate progress towards achieving the SDGs and facilitate a faster recovery from the socioeconomic and health impact of COVID-19, with one regional voice on a shared development path.
Report of the IPS UN Office
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© Inter Press Service (2022) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service