SANTIAGO, Chili — The Sustainable Development Goals are alive and kicking in many parts of the world, also in Latin America and the Caribbean. From Monday 16th to Friday 20th of April 2018, the Forum on Sustainable Development was convened under the auspices of the Economic Council for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) at its headquarters in Santiago de Chili. Representatives of Governments of the ECLAC affiliated countries, representatives of regional civil society and grass roots organizations, Academia and representatives of regional private sector organizations came together to discuss the state of affairs on development issues in their countries and in the region. Thereby, they elaborated on the challenges in executing the Sustainable Development Goals – better known as ‘The 2030 agenda’. They have also exchanged their best practices and innovative ideas.
Drs. Loekie Morales, program manager at the department of The Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK), has visited this ECLAC’s Second Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development as representative of Sint Maarten. She has also participated in some side events connected to the main program.
Sint Maarten has made the world known at the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development in July 2017 in New York, that it embraces the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations fully. BAK as the coordination body for National Development has started the process already to make the Sustainable Development Goals known to the people of Sint Maarten. BAK has connected with the STAT department and UNESCO representative, Marcellia Henry, to develop the Communication plan for awareness on the 17 SDGs and connecting this 2030 agenda with the National Recovery Plan (NRP) and the ministerial plans.
What is now essential for Sint Maarten, is to together with stakeholders, NGO’s, Private sector, Academia etc., to determine which SDGs will be prioritized based on the needs and shape the indicators to its suitable reality. Most countries have stated that governments need to work on trust in governance. This is the overarching SDG 16 on Good Governance, Peace and Human rights. The statisticians mentioned that 75% of the people in Latin America and the Caribbean do not have trust in their governments and 85% think their government is corrupt. This is alarming and therefore, more openness, say transparency, was recommended and to work more in partnerships with stakeholders as crucial to reach a development that is in line with human rights and equality norms.
The statisticians showed figures, whereby the inequality in the world is the biggest in Latin America and the Caribbean; especially when it comes the women and children.
Incorporating the Youth and reinforcing knowledge on the 2030 Agenda in primary and secondary education is also mentioned as a must in the road map to implementation of the SDGs. With the example of CONCAUSA, tips were given on how to involve our youngsters in the development of their countries. The youth wants to take part, because they have stated in their presentation: ‘We have one world and we want to shape the world that we want.’
Preparations for the UN High Level Political Forum
During the Chili conference a series of Regional Preparatory meetings also took place in preparation of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF), which will take place 9th to the 18th of July in New York later this year. There, heads of states will elaborate furthermore on the resolutions to be taken on some details in executing and the (financing of) the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. ECLAC has presented tools for designing a Roadmap for implementation to accelerate progress in the 3 development dimensions: social, economic and environmental. Forming social pacts and fiscal reforms are also mentioned as key solutions on the roadmap to development.
Another added value in visiting the Chili conference and side events is, that it will serve to understand the dynamics of the work to be done on Sint Maarten, and the themes to focus on, in linking the SDGs agenda with our National Development Plan and our National Recovery & Resilient Plan and Process (NRRP). The recommendations need to be taken to a next level: exploring the relevancy on national level and if applicable, implementation. Information will be shared with the ministries and relevant stakeholders, to steer Sint Maarten’s development in reaching a sustainable development and eradicating inequity on various levels for the upcoming years.