There is need for greater collaboration among countries and subregional multilateral agencies to promote and articulate clear positions on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Caribbean. This, especially in the lead-up to the Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States to be held in Antigua and Barbuda in 2024. Particular attention must also be given to the challenges implementing sustainable development in the Caribbean, with the suggestion for stronger institutions to collaborate and overcome the challenges in the region.
These were two of the important recommendations coming out of roundtable discussions at the 21st Meeting of the Monitoring Committee of the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee (CDCC). Held in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on 3 November 2023, the ECLAC Caribbean meetings focused on how best to pursue a strategy to reposition the Caribbean in a changed, dynamic and uncertain global environment.
In a video message, Executive Secretary José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs acknowledged that countries of the subregion need to take stock of their development and focus on measured steps for renewal and recovery post COVID-19 pandemic. He said: “No doubt you are grappling with significant, pressing challenges that demand urgent and innovative response. The world has changed in unanticipated and unprecedented ways. The international landscape is fraught with heightened geopolitical tensions threatening fragile economic recovery and growth.
ES Salazar mentioned that the war in Ukraine, with the resulting spike in food and fuel prices and supply chain disruptions, has somewhat complicated the post-pandemic recovery in the subregion. “And now to make matters worse, we are faced with the prospect of prolonged war on the Gaza strip which could spread, leading to spiraling inflation and supply chain disruptions, thereby dampening overall global recovery.”
The high-level meeting’s roundtable discussions, focused attention on strategies to advance recovery and economic transformation; the SIDS agenda in the Caribbean; repositioning the Caribbean in the competitive global environment; and confronting the implementation deficit through strengthened institutional capacity.
At the end of the session, Director of ECLAC Caribbean, Diane Quarless, presented a comprehensive view of the ongoing research and projects that were undertaken in the subregion in 2022. She said to participants: “I encourage you to take note of the extensive areas we have been working in. We are here to continue providing our support in these and other areas, and I urge you to call on us if you need help.”
ECLAC Caribbean serves as the secretariat of the CDCC. Regular sessions are held every two years, with meetings of the Monitoring Committee convened during the intervening years. Trinidad and Tobago accepted the chairmanship of the CDCC in 2024, where the Committee will meet for its 30th session.