The Sustainable Development Goals in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean
The United Nations Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean in collaboration with its partners is supporting implementation of the sustainable development goals across the 10 countries covered by our multi-country office (MCO). These 17 Global Goals are a roadmap to address the most pressing challenges facing Caribbean citizens and persons all over the world, to create a sustainable future for all. Kindly note that the data visualizations show an aggregate of the Caribbean. To view the disaggregated data per country, please click on the name of the country or territory you wish to explore.
05 September 2023
The 2030 Agenda: Connecting the Dots and Bridging Political Commitments to HIV and Sustainable Development
By Dr Richard Amenyah In the global spotlight, all eyes are currently fixed on the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 78), in New York, as we reach halfway of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. With the clock ticking on majority of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) being off-track or regressing, it is now abundantly clear that the world must intensify its efforts and accelerate progress toward achieving the SDGs with leaving no one behind as our guiding principle. In a complex world where geopolitical interests sometimes overshadow multilateralism, the UN faces challenges which are multifaceted. UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres has sounded a rallying cry, urging world leaders to make concrete commitments to rescue the SDGs during this crucial “SDG summit.” Tremendous strides have been made globally in the fight against AIDS. New HIV infections have been significantly reduced, especially in the hardest-hit regions. More individuals now have access to HIV treatment, and countless lives are being saved. These achievements underscore the fact that SDG 3.3, which aims to end the AIDS epidemic, without complacency, is attainable with sustained commitment and unwavering effort in applying science-based interventions. However, facing the reality, the 2023 Global AIDS Report reminds us that challenges persist. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 4,000 adolescent girls and young women are infected with HIV every week whereas in the Caribbean, every week, over 300 individuals become HIV positive. These stark numbers serve as a clear and unequivocal reminder that ending AIDS hinges on the political commitments made by governments. The countries that have exhibited unwavering commitment to ending AIDS as a public health threat have already made significant progress, achieving the 95-95-95 global AIDS targets. As our leaders gather at the 78th UN General Assembly in New York this September, it is vital to celebrate the successes of countries like Botswana, Eswatini, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. These nations have embraced data-driven strategies and the science of effective interventions. They have upheld their 2021 Political Declaration and commitments on AIDS and placed people and communities at the core of their responses, treating HIV fundamentally as an investment rather than a cost. Furthermore, they have boldly dismantled and reformed policies and laws that perpetuated stigma and discrimination against marginalise populations, including women and girls, prisoners, and migrants. The core principle of the SDGs is “leaving no one behind.” Addressing the social determinants of health and vulnerability faced by those living with or at risk of contracting HIV is imperative. Without substantial investment in all 17 SDGs, particularly the 10 highly relevant to the AIDS response (i.e., SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 11, 16, and 17), the dream of peace, prosperity, and a safe planet will remain unattainable and out of reach. It is important to connect the dots between HIV and the other SDGs so that when countries invest in a particular goal, they can see how their investments impact their commitment to end AIDS. SDGs 1, 2, and 3: Poverty and hunger increase vulnerability to HIV infection, particularly among affected households and women with low socioeconomic status. Therefore, investing in HIV-sensitive and shock responsive social protection policies and programmes, including food security, cash transfers and social insurance helps to enhance household resilience to fight HIV. Similarly, by improving access to sexual and reproductive health services, most-at-risk, marginalise and vulnerable people would have the essential services they need to prevent HIV transmission and improve their health and wellbeing. SDGs 4, 5, and 8: Education empowers individuals to make informed choices, negotiate safer sexual practices, reduce vulnerability to HIV and early pregnancies. Investing in transforming education programmes and making them relevant for social and economic transformation will help to lift people out of poverty. An educated and knowledgeable society engender gender equality which is key to protecting women and girls from HIV and gender-based violence. Creating job opportunities which are decent and dignified with full protection of labour rights and HIV-friendly policies fosters productivity and economic growth and reduces HIV transmission risk in the world of work. SDGs 10, 11, 16, and 17: Tackling inequalities is paramount. Currently, SDG 10 is among the poorest performing indicators as it is linked directly or indirectly to the rest of the SDGs. Stigma and discrimination hamper public health efforts because they prevent marginalised and vulnerable people from accessing public services. Therefore, championing people’s rights and ensuring social solidarity protects everyone. Monitoring inequality trends is crucial in understanding the root causes and patterns of inequalities and what policymakers can do mitigate and close the inequality gaps in society. The UNAIDS Eminent Group on Inequalities has a lot to do to support the rescuing of SDG10. Global partnerships for public good are essential for sharing health technologies and ensuring access to new HIV medicines worldwide. It is important to connect the dots between our global commitment and solidarity to ending AIDS as a public health threat to securing the promise for our Sustainable Future by 2030. Investing in the SDGs is a political choice with high social and economic returns. Caribbean leaders must recommit to the SDGs by demonstrating political will and making bold investments to address the HIV needs among those who are most marginalise and vulnerable. Eliminating gender inequalities and upholding human rights are essential for universal health coverage and ending AIDS as a public health threat. We need to embrace and celebrate victories in the HIV response. The five African countries that have achieved the 95-95-95 targets have proven that ending AIDS is not just attainable; it’s a political choice that demands hard work, global solidarity, and unwavering commitment to achieve the people-centered global targets. Our leaders must fulfil their commitments to address the HIV needs of marginalise populations, eliminating gender inequalities and upholding human rights to end AIDS and achieve universal health coverage by 2030. Caribbean countries, with over 100,000 people living with HIV and waiting to access lifesaving antiretroviral medicines, must follow their lead and redouble efforts to end AIDS as a public health threat once and for all. The time to act is now. Connecting the dots and bridging the gap between HIV commitments and the SDGs is not just a necessity but a moral obligation. Let us unite, learn from success stories, and work together towards a sustainable and healthier future by 2030.
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30 August 2023
Developing Youth, Accelerating Action
Youths account for 16 percent of the population in the Eastern Caribbean and possess immense potential as agents for social change, economic development, and innovation. Yet many of them, like their global peers, face socio-economic challenges that prevent them from realising their full potential. Poverty, child abuse and neglect, disability, inequality, limited access to quality education and lack of employment opportunities are obstacles faced by youth, with the potential for negative impacts and outcomes lingering well into adulthood. While some are able to overcome these obstacles, unemployment, social exclusion, low pay and continuation of the cycle of intergenerational poverty is the reality for many others. Young people must be provided with the knowledge and opportunities they need to thrive. More specifically, they need equitable access to education and skills training that align with the demands of the labour market. This is essential for a successful transition into the labour force and attaining decent work. Within the Eastern Caribbean, the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-Funded joint programme Resilient Caribbean - Engaging & Training Youth, Strengthening Integrated SP Sector Delivery is accelerating action towards the SDGs by ensuring that youth are empowered and enabled to effectively enter the labour market. Building the Capacity of Educators, Community Leaders, and Youth in Grenada In Grenada, where the youth unemployment rate stands at 29 percent, 3 the Joint Programme has launched the Grenada Youth Empowered for the Digital World of Work initiative. Led by UNESCO, the programme focuses on equipping Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) educators, community youth leaders, and post-secondary youths with emerging digital and entrepreneurial skills required to increase national and regional productivity. Under this initiative, 46 community youth leaders have received certifications in entrepreneurship. These individuals will benefit from further support in the form of mentoring sessions to strengthen their capacity to engage and facilitate peer mentorship with youths within their communities. Additionally, over 100 TVET teachers and instructors have been engaged in a Train the Trainer programme for digital advertising, and workshops intended to strengthen the capacities of educators to plan, develop and deliver learning in the online and blended environment. Developing digital skills is important for the success of youth in the job market and entrepreneurship. The Joint Programme is supporting the advancement of SDG 8 (decent work for all and economic growth) by enhancing the knowledge and skills of post-secondary youth in the areas of digital technology and entrepreneurship. Six hundred and thirty-seven youths are currently registered in the Aleph Digital Ad Expert Certification Programme, which began in June 2023 with all initial places filled. Aimed at developing entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial competencies, the certification programme covers areas such as digital marketing, marketing strategy development, digital analytics, and content creation. The second cohort of students is due to start training in September 2023. Making Learning Fun The Joint Programme is also leveraging accessible technology to provide 21st Century skills to young people in the Eastern Caribbean without access to quality education through FunDoo. Launched by UNICEF in 2022, FunDoo is a chat-based programme aimed at young people between the ages of 13 and 24. Available on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram Messenger, the programme utilises technology to facilitate experiential learning (learning by doing), ensuring that the journey is both fun and rewarding. Almost 2,000 young people have completed FunDoo’s self-paced modules, strengthening their personal, interpersonal, and higher-order cognitive skills through real-world activities. Participants have credited the platform with boosting their self-esteem and confidence and improving their public speaking, stress management, and budgeting skills. Originally developed in India, FunDoo’s curriculum has been adapted to the local context. This curriculum is based on UNICEF's 21st Century Skills framework and is organised as a modular library of tasks that learners can choose from. The Resilient Caribbean Joint Programme is committed to accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. By prioritising youth empowerment and creating opportunities for education and training, the Joint Programme will continue to work towards driving social mobility and providing an equitable chance in life for youth in the Eastern Caribbean. Note: The Joint SDG Fund's joint programmes are under the prestige leadership of the Resident Coordinator Office and implementing United Nations Agencies. With sincere appreciation for the contributions from the 🇪🇺 European Union and Governments of 🇩🇰 Denmark, 🇩🇪 Germany, 🇮🇪 Ireland, 🇮🇹 Italy, 🇱🇺 Luxembourg, 🇲🇨 Monaco, 🇳🇱 The Netherlands, 🇳🇴 Norway, 🇵🇹 Portugal, 🇰🇷 Republic of Korea, 🇪🇸 Spain, 🇸🇪 Sweden, 🇨🇭 Switzerland and our private sector funding partners, for a transformative movement towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.
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12 July 2023
UN Delivering As One To Harness Blue Finance In The Caribbean
Caribbean islands have been traditionally viewed as playgrounds of the rich and famous due to its pristine beaches and crystal blue oceans. In lieu of this, regional Governments, with the support of the United Nations, are exploring ways to maximize the ‘Blue Economy’ to promote economic recovery and growth while conserving natural resources. For a region which is home to more marine space than land territory, and is contending with the challenges of undiversified economies, limited fiscal space, rising unemployment, and burgeoning debt, the pursuit of economic diversification through Blue Growth and the sustainable use of ocean resources is an important step in the right direction. "As vulnerable Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) continue to grapple with multiple shocks and emerging threats, including climate change and the Triple Crisis of food, fuel, and finance, through the Harnessing Blue Economy Finance for SIDS Recovery and Sustainable Development Joint Programme, we are helping countries to enhance livelihoods and promote economic growth,” says UN Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Didier Trebucq. Under the Resident Coordinator’s leadership, and through the collective efforts of participating UN Agencies, UNDP, the lead Agency, FAO and UNEP, the Joint SDG Fund- supported programme has laid the foundation for financing a sustainable Blue Economy in Barbados, Grenada and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Despite the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, various hurricanes, and the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano, phase one of this two-year initiative has already made tangible progress in placing pilot countries on the path towards a sustainable financing and policy framework. Photo by Hugh Whyte on Unsplash Unearthing the hindrances to Blue Economy The first step in financing this integral driver for resilient economic recovery and growth in the Eastern Caribbean, was to conduct baseline research which identified key constraints, policy gaps and institutional shortcomings to Blue Economy development, including for example debt-service obligations. With staggering debt-service obligations rendering Governments unable to invest in Blue Growth, and local financial institutions perceiving Blue Economy investment opportunities to be risky, the UN also presented recommendations to support the delivery of Blue Economy initiatives. These included greater incentive-based private sector investment, Public-private partnerships, and venture capital financing, an underdeveloped aspect in the region, as an alternative to conventional funding methods. Engagements and training targeting diverse stakeholder groups also contributed to increased awareness and comprehension of the potential of the Blue Economy and highlighted the importance of technical assistance to support project design, capacity building, and mobilisation of international funding for Blue Economy development. Reports produced under the project also underscored the need for multisectoral coordination mechanisms to help implementation of the Blue Economy at the local and regional levels. Development Finance Assessments (DFA) were also conducted for all three participating countries, with a view to support the creation of an Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF); a system which brings together and aligns different sources of financing to boost sustainable development and national priorities. Photo by Hugh Whyte on Unsplash Developing the Fisheries and Aquaculture Sectors Another major output of the Blue Finance joint programme was the development of a public and private sector Blue Economy Finance Strategy for the fisheries and aquaculture sector for Barbados, Grenada, and St Vincent and the Grenadines. When speaking of Blue Economy growth in small island developing states (SIDS), the development of fisheries and aquaculture sectors is an integral part of the conversation. With Caribbean countries boasting high fish consumption rates, the fisheries and aquaculture sectors of SIDS are under increased pressure to maintain supply of fisheries products, while being challenged by the increasing prevalence of severe weather phenomena and environmental decline. These shocks adversely impact the industry either by limiting revenue or discouraging investment in this vital sector, thereby increasing the vulnerabilities of those most at risk of being left behind. Finance and financing mechanisms remain key, and should include policy mechanisms that improve available finance, payment for ecosystem services (PES) schemes, natural capital as publicly traded equities, debt swaps, blue and other sovereign bonds, and advancements in financial technology. All of these seek to increase available capital and encourage investment both from local and international sources, to facilitate cross-sectoral development. This project has highlighted the fact that an enabling environment that simultaneously prioritizes sustainability and the protection of the environments that underpin the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, is critical to encourage growth in these sectors, with benefits that redound to the entire blue economy. The establishment of sustainable blue economy finance principles, integrating fisheries and aquaculture into the wider blue economy, the increased use of available development tools and reporting structures, and the facilitation of public-private partnerships all need to be prioritized to ensure the greatest potential for successful sustainable development. Stronger Together In keeping with the saying that ‘no man is an island’, the joint programme also supported the establishment and expansion of partnerships with a wide cross-section of stakeholders, including the private sector, academia, and development partners, to promote transformative change regarding the funding of the SDGs. These partnerships have helped to harness UN capacity, resources, and assets to scale up SDG financing initiatives in the countries while also boosting collaborative knowledge exchange between across the UN country team and other development partners. From facilitating public-private partnerships, establishing blue economy financing principles to integrating fisheries and aquaculture into the wider blue economy, this joint programme has highlighted that in order to fully harness potential of the ocean economy, there are a number of key pillars that must be simultaneously prioritized, and integrated into national development planning. With these principles in mind, the Resident Coordinator’s Office and the rest of the UN country team in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean are committed to turning this blue vision for the future into concrete action today. Note: The Joint SDG Fund's joint programmes are under the prestige leadership of the Resident Coordinator Office and implementing United Nations Agencies. With sincere appreciation for the contributions from the 🇪🇺 European Union and Governments of 🇩🇰 Denmark, 🇩🇪 Germany, 🇮🇪 Ireland, 🇮🇹 Italy, 🇱🇺 Luxembourg, 🇲🇨 Monaco, 🇳🇱 The Netherlands, 🇳🇴 Norway, 🇵🇹 Portugal, 🇰🇷 Republic of Korea, 🇪🇸 Spain, 🇸🇪 Sweden, 🇨🇭 Switzerland and our private sector funding partners, for a transformative movement towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.
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28 August 2023
Remembering so as not to Repeat: Sowing the Future of Dignity for Afro-descendants
Bridgetown, Barbados: On the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, there is a call for urgent action for Justice for Afro Descendant people. Chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on People of African Descent, Dr. Epsy Campbell Barr said: “Systemic racism challenges Afro-descendants' right to life and we can end it with action and real commitment, using all the tools that are in our favour”. Dr. Epsy Campbell Barr. UN Women Photo/Lisle Warner The former Vice President of Costa Rica was addressing the Government of Barbados and United Nations System for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean inaugural lecture for the UN observance. Watch the full event replay here. 📼 Congratulating the Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados for her leadership on the global stage, she urged support for consolidation of the agenda for reparatory justice and a new global Pact: “That is why I strongly promote the Global Coalition Against Systemic Racism and for Reparations. It is a space for action involving communities, organizations, local and national governments, academia, the private sector, international organizations and everyone committed to ending racism. We use art, culture, creativity, science and knowledge in favor of an anti-racist culture.” Read Dr. Epsy Campbell Barr’s full remarks here >>> Representative, UN Women MCO Caribbean Tonni Brodber. UN Women Photo/Lisle Warner Representative, UN Women MCO Caribbean Tonni Brodber stressed we must remember and recall our connections to ourselves and one another. “Because when we remember, we remember that before the slave trade, we were, we came from people, we came from culture. What this experience led to unfortunately is a forgetting, a forgetting of our relationship with our land … and we forgot the relationships that we have with one another. Rather than organising black families around the principle of authoritarian rule, of the strong over the weak, we should organise our understanding of family around anti-authoritarian models that posit love as the central guiding principle. Recognizing love as the effort we make to create a context of growth, emotional, spiritual and intellectual - women and men equally creating families based on love.” Read Tonni Brodber’s full remarks here >>> UN Resident Coordinator Ad Interim, Renata Clarke. UN Women Photo/Lisle Warner UN Resident Coordinator Ad Interim, Renata Clarke said the transatlantic slave trade was a horrific chapter in human history and one of the worst violations of human rights ever recorded. She added that the legacy of slavery continues to have an impact into the present: “Women of colour are more likely to live in poverty, to be unemployed, and to experience violence. They are also less likely to have access to education and healthcare." Click here to view full event album 🎞️ She continued in her speech by saying that in the Caribbean, women of colour face several specific challenges, including: • A high rate of abused women not seeking help. According to a study by CARICOM, only 1 in 10 abused women in the Caribbean seeks help from a formal source. This is due to several factors, including the stigma associated with domestic violence, the lack of access to services, and the fear of retaliation from their abuser. • A high adolescent birth rate. The adolescent birth rate in the Caribbean is 50% higher than the global average. This is due to several factors, including early sexual initiation, lack of access to sexual and reproductive health services, and the high rate of violence against girls. The UN is committed to working for the empowerment of women including women of colour in the Caribbean.” Read Dr. Renata Clarke’s full remarks here >>> UN Women Photo/Lisle Warner
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29 August 2023
IOM Opens Coordination Office for the Caribbean in Barbados
BRIDGETOWN, 25 August 2023 – The Government of Barbados and the International Organization for Migration (IOM-UN Migration) signed an agreement, establishing the IOM Coordination Office for the Caribbean and IOM Mission to Barbados, in Bridgetown. This development makes IOM the most recent UN organization to establish a regional and national office in Barbados. The new IOM Office in Barbados will enable the Organization to best implement migration related initiatives in Barbados and the region. As the Coordination Office for the English and Dutch Speaking Caribbean, the Office also has the responsibility to coordinate IOM’s support to migration opportunities and challenges, in line with its Strategy for the Caribbean, released on 28 July 2023. The Office will be led by Mr. Patrice Quesada as IOM Coordination Officer for the Caribbean and Chief of Mission Barbados. Now, with its presence in nine countries in the sub-region, IOM can help bring Caribbean countries’ migration governance issues and opportunities to the forefront, including through its engagement with regional institutions, such as CARICOM and OECS. Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kerrie Symmonds of Barbados and Michele Klein-Solomon, Regional Director for IOM Central America, North America and Caribbean signed the document at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in the presence of Deputy Coordinator for IOM Caribbean, Eraina Yaw, and other officials of the Government of Barbados and the United Nations. “This signing has immense potential to continue to help the Caribbean community to harness the benefits of regular migration, even as we confront the challenges of our time...among those...migration triggered by climate emergencies, and migration triggered by civil instability in our region,” commented Barbados’ Honourable Minister Kerrie Symmonds. Meanwhile, Regional Director of IOM, Michele Klein-Solomon expressed her pleasure with the new development. “Last year on the 30th of November, Barbados became IOM's 175th Member State, rounding out the membership for the Western Hemisphere, so now all the governments of the Western Hemisphere are Member States of IOM, and we are so pleased to welcome you into the IOM family,” said Klein-Solomon. Minister Symmonds expressed gratitude for the support of IOM and remarked that the "agreement would allow for the further pooling of resources between IOM and the Government of Barbados to mutual benefit." The Minister further noted that the "Government is currently embarking on the process of fine tuning the new Citizenship and Immigration Legislation for Barbados, and intends to have a managed migration policy to attract the skillsets that would take the Barbados population forward." IOM and the Government of Barbados are pleased to have a formal presence established in Barbados and look forward to continuing to foster collaboration for safe orderly and regular migration to the benefit to all. For more information, please contact: email@example.com, Communications Officer, IOM Caribbean.
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06 July 2022
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