Recognizing the invaluable contribution made by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) to advancing the equitable and sustainable development of the sub-region over the past seventy years, Caribbean Prime Ministers, Ministers and distinguished government officials emphasized today in Saint Lucia the need for a holistic approach to development that encompasses resilience-building and vulnerability reduction.
The twenty-seventh session of the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee (CDCC), which took place in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, on 27 April, brought together senior decision makers from across the Caribbean, who addressed the most pressing issues currently facing the Caribbean.
The continued collaboration between ECLAC and the countries of the region were highlighted by both the outgoing Chair of the CDCC – the Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Aviation of Saint Kitts and Nevis – and Dr. Ubaldus Raymond, Minister in the Ministry of Finance of Saint Lucia who represented the country’s Prime Minister, the Hon. Allen Chastanet as the incoming Chair of the CDCC. In his opening statement, Raymond emphasized that “ECLAC’s contribution to the research and analysis of development challenges in the region has been invaluable as has its efforts to promulgate initiatives to address critical problems that we face.”
On behalf of ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena, the Deputy Executive Secretary for Administration and Programme Analysis, Mr. Raúl García-Buchaca, welcomed the audience and expressed the relevance of this CDCC meeting. In his statement, he also made a thorough account of the Commission history and its contribution to Latin American and Caribbean thinking, since this year (2018) it is celebrating its 70th anniversary. García-Buchaca commented that, “In keeping with its early beginnings, the ECLAC presence in the Caribbean has remained as a think-tank stimulating ideas with the view of forging a regional approach to sustainable development with equality.”
Spearheading the discussions during the CDCC was the Deputy Director for the ECLAC subregional headquarters to the Caribbean, Mr. Dillon Alleyne. Presenting ECLAC’s newest flagship presentation – the ‘Caribbean Outlook’ –, Alleyne identified opportunities for the region to advance its sustainable development, emphasizing resilience-building and vulnerability reduction.
In this context, Alleyne explained that the fundamental premise of the Outlook is that the global development frameworks, such as the 2030 Agenda, the SAMOA Pathway and the Sendai Framework can serve to define and sharpen the path to a viable and sustainable Caribbean future. For these reasons ECLAC has suggested that the global frameworks should be mainstreamed in national and regional development plans and programs.
The CDCC also afforded Caribbean Prime Ministers and Ministers an opportunity to commemorate the 70th anniversary of ECLAC’s establishment as a Regional Commission of the United Nations, which was celebrated in February 2018 and will also be commemorated throughout the year in different events. In this regard, meeting participants applauded ECLAC for its pivotal role in addressing the development challenges faced by the member States by developing ideas and assisting in the design of policy responses. The significant contribution made by ECLAC to foster closer economic relations among countries of the region of Latin America and the Caribbean was also recognized with gratitude.
In addition, participants were briefed on the outcomes of the Second meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean for Sustainable Development, which took place in Santiago, Chile, on 18-20 April 2018. In this regard, Diane Quarless, Director of the ECLAC subregional headquarters for the Caribbean, explained that “The implementation of the Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs) is critically dependent on the data that is going to monitor that process. Data is critical!”
Other noteworthy highlights of the CDCC included the launch of a joint publication by ECLAC and the Caribbean Court of Justice, entitled Ensuring environmental access rights in the Caribbean: Analysis of selected case law; and the premier screening of an ECLAC documentary on the impacts of hurricanes Irma and Maria across the Caribbean, featuring exclusive footage and interviews.
The CDCC is a subsidiary body of ECLAC, which convenes biennial meetings to provide an opportunity for ECLAC Caribbean to highlight work undertaken, and to develop its future programme of work. The subregional office located in Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago) serves 29 countries in the wider Caribbean.