Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 22, 2016 (SKNIS): Top Government officials from across the Caribbean region, as well as officials from the United Nations (UN) and international financial institutions are presently in St. Kitts attending the 4th Meeting of the Caribbean Development Roundtable (CDR) which forms part of the 26th Session of the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee (CDCC).
The Honourable Mark Brantley, Minister of Foreign Affairs described the occasion as modest and auspicious. He expounded on the theme chosen for this year’s roundtable “The Debt Overhang: Balancing Adjustment with Sustainable Development in the Caribbean” and said that it is “particularly timely given the high debt profile of a number of Caribbean countries.”
“It is no secret that high debt burden profile constrains the ability of Government to provide a full suite of social services such as education, sports, culture, healthcare and welfare programmes,” said Minister Brantley. “Sound debt management principles and prudent fiscal policies are therefore important prerequisites for paving the way for the achievement of sustainable development.”
Minister Brantley said that the answers to challenges faced in the Caribbean do not exist in one source. “There is therefore, wisdom in arranging fora like this roundtable under the auspices of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) to present innovative ideas to address challenges affecting our sustainable development, be it economic, social or environmental in nature.”
The foreign minister praised and welcomed ECLAC’s proposal for “making a debt swap for climate adaptation strategy work for the Caribbean.” This, he said, is done by harnessing green funds to facilitate growth and economic transformation. He placed great confidence in the ideas that would be exchanged on the subject and said that they “would serve as food for thought, which when digested would translate into tangible results.”
The meeting which climaxes on Friday, April 22, required participants to take stock of the outcomes of the CDR, and review the implementation of the work programme for the ECLAC sub regional headquarters for the Caribbean for 2018-2019.
The mission of the ECLAC sub regional headquarters for the Caribbean is to deepen the understanding of the development challenges facing the Caribbean, and to contribute to solutions by conducting research and analysis and providing sound policy advice and technical assistance to Caribbean governments, focused on growth with equity and recognition of the sub region’s vulnerability.
The CDCC adopted resolution 73(XXIII) at its twenty-third session, held in 2010. In this resolution, it invited key parties to join ECLAC in spearheading a CDR to consider sustainable development challenges and opportunities in the sub region. This landmark represents the continued commitment of ECLAC to provide a mechanism that facilitates the cross-fertilization of ideas in support of the development goals of the Caribbean region.