Regional ministers endorse Caribbean Action 2030 framework agreement
KINGSTON, Jamaica — A partnership framework agreement endorsed by ministers of government from several Caribbean countries will give targeted guidance for accelerating and advancing action on the Sustainable Development Goals in the region, following the successful conclusion of Caribbean Action 2030 on 30 June.
Conference chair, Jamaica’s minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, outlined that the draft agreement is to be further reviewed by the participating countries before signing. The framework agreement contains specific undertakings to accelerate action and is completed by an appendix of recommendations including from youth in the areas of resource mobilization, civil society engagement, research and capacity building.
She was speaking at the closing ceremony for the three-day conference on the global Sustainable Development Goals at the Faculty of Law at the University of the West Indies Mona campus. Johnson Smith was joined by a number of senior government ministers from other Caribbean countries who also endorsed the framework agreement while prasing the conference.
Among the ministers giving endorsements were Carl Greenidge, vice president of Guyana; Delmaude Ryan, deputy premier of Montserrat; Sarah Flood-Beaubrun, minister for external affairs, St Lucia; Mark Brantley, minister of foreign affairs and aviation, St Kitts and Nevis; Oliver Joseph, minister of economic development, planning, trade and labour, Grenada; and Omar Figueroa, minister of state, ministry of agriculture, fisheries, forestry, the environment, sustainable development and climate change, Belize.
Brantley of St Kitts and Nevis commended Caribbean Action 2030 as “an excellent event”, noting that it is now time for action. He said governments and opposition must agree on the way forward and that implementation must transcend parliamentary cycles.
The closing ceremony marked by performances from the University Singers and an overview of draft framework agreement culminated three packed days of presentations on Agenda 2030 topics from 32 presenters from across the region and beyond and solutions and strategies workshops which refined recommendations for inclusion in the framework agreement.
At the opening ceremony two days earlier Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, said he would be taking a keen interest in the implementation of the SDGs and their alignment with Vision 2030. He said that recently government had received a progress report on the implementation process for the SDGs from the Planning Institute of Jamaica and was paying close attention to implementation of the accelerators as recommended in the SDGs Roadmap for Jamaica.
UN assistant secretary-general and UNDP director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Jessica Faieta, in her comments at the opening, noted that key areas of concern to the region in the SDG era included addressing the needs of those often left behind first, especially women, youth, elderly, children and indigenous peoples; the challenge of data availability, access and quality for building more targeted integrated policies and monitoring progress achieved on the SDGs; financing the SDGs given the limited fiscal space of the region’s governments; and the implementation deficit, which she said requires urgent attention to capacity building in this SDG era.
“This will require new ways of working and stronger partnerships not only in government but with the private sector, civil society and the international community,” Faieta stated.
United Nations resident coordinator and UNDP resident representative in Jamaica, Bruno Pouezat, said that the UN in the Caribbean is convinced that while the SDGs are ambitious, they are achievable throughout this region within the remaining timeframe.
“We look forward to the coming discussions in helping shape a lasting framework agreement for accelerated action at the regional and national levels, and we commit to the governments and the peoples of this region to continue supporting their efforts, across the Caribbean, to uphold the global 2030 Agenda commitment to ‘Leave No One Behind’,” he noted.
Highlights of the conference included the presentation on the SDSN Sustainable Development Goals Index and Dashboard, which will monitor implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the region, a youth forum which generated excellent ideas from young people and a presentation from Dr Idris Jala, a former minister of government of Malaysia who presented on Malaysia’s breakthrough economic performance on the basis of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The National Planning Committee for the conference will seek to build a regional post conference movement for the Sustainable Development Goals also branded Caribbean Action 2030.