St. Maarten is among Caribbean countries represented at Caribbean Action 2030, a regional conference seen as a major event for Caribbean countries, particularly the 18 countries, including St. Maarten, which are signatories of the United Nations Multi-country Sustainable Development Framework (UNMSDF) for the Caribbean region.
Government representatives from the Caribbean will deliberate in plenary, panel discussions and solutions workshops, and will be joined by delegates from civil society, academia, youth and non-governmental organizations.
More than 30 local, regional and international academics and experts in their field are expected to present papers highlighting research, national experiences and opportunities in implementing the United Nations long term Sustainable Development goals (SDGs) in the region, being held in Kingston, Jamaica, from June 28 to June 30. St. Maarten is attending at the invitation of the Jamaican government.
The objective is to reaffirm the commitment amongst countries in the Caribbean region through a Partnership Framework, which would promote cooperation and coordination in achieving the SDGs, Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities for Action (S.A.M.O.A pathway), the Paris Agreement on climate change and Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development. These are all aimed at strengthening regional policies in support of the preservation of so-called global public goods, which are essential to all countries, people, and generations. Examples of global public goods are clean air and drinking water.
The 3-day meeting wants to step up intergovernmental cooperation to advance its cause, supported by the United Nations Multi-Country Sustainable Development Framework (MSDF) that has been agreed between Caribbean governments and UN partners as one appropriate platform for the coordination and focus of our further efforts.
Countries worldwide have agreed on a series of bold measures to overhaul global finance practices and generate investments for tackling a range of economic, social and environmental challenge. That commitment was made at the United Nations Third International Conference on Financing for Development, held in Addis Ababa in 2015.
In support of implementation of the sustainable development goals, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda contains more than 100 concrete measures. Importantly, it addresses all sources of finance.
At this week’s conference in Jamaica, participants look forward to a final report with recommendations for policy implementation and follow-up.
Recognizing that this will require long-term commitment and partnerships, the conference looks, for instance, at the establishment of a regional online platform that takes due consideration of existing efforts in the region and that will enable the academic community, civil society and policy makers to engage in ongoing dialogue on the basis of evidence-based research, open data and exchange of good policy practice.
Not being overlooked is the importance of national and regional multi-stakeholder partnerships that are imperative for national and regional sustainable development implementation. These require creative efforts to increase financial resources.
The United Nations has been approached to seek further advice and support from within and outside the Caribbean region, including from international financial institutions to explore ways to best address the special capacity needs and policy challenges facing middle income countries in the Caribbean. The idea is to have the UN assist Caribbean countries in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
The mobilization of domestic resources and the access to funding in the international community continues to be a challenge by members of the Caribbean region.
Financial sustainability is a vital element in ensuring not only that the SDGs are achieved but also that the accomplishments have a positive impact, particularly for the most vulnerable ones of the population. The exclusion of countries within the region from concessional and grant resources, based on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita can result in the erosion or hindrance of gains impeding sustained development, for all.
St. Maarten has a relative strong economy and high GDP compared to other Caribbean nations. But still the island faces challenges that she cannot overcome without support like dealing with the effects of climate change and the resulting sea level rise and more frequent and more severe weather events.
Attending the conference, on behalf of St. Maarten, is Andrea Ortega-Oudhoff, Senior Project Manager at the St. Maarten government’s Department of the Interior and Kingdom Relations. She is joined by Tom Woods, a UN appointed projects leader, presently assisting the St. Maarten government.
The conference is being hosted by the Jamaican Government in partnership with the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the United Nations, which is funding the event.