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.
14 September 2022
Water-Energy-Food-Environment Nexus Tools for enhanced climate resilience in Latin America and the Caribbean, one of the priority items during World Water Week
Around the Caribbean and Latin America, the need to focus on the full value of water to society is becoming increasingly important, like in the rest of the world, as the resource continues to face supply and demand challenges. Raising awareness on this was a central goal of the ‘’Focus on the Americas’’ sessions at the Stockholm International Water Institute’s World Water Week held in Stockholm, Sweden, from 24 August to 1 September 2022, in a hybrid online/in-person format. In this context, the FAO Subregional Office for the Caribbean (FAOSLC) joined forces with the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Organization of American States (OAS), RTI International and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to showcase regional examples of promising WEFE nexus tools for better decision-making across the board. Bringing to light water’s full value for Latin American and Caribbean societies requires finding innovative ways to address competing sectoral interests and ensure equitable resource allocation. Jacinto Buenfil, Policy Officer for Environment and Climate Change at FAOSLC and Coordinator of the Mexico-CARICOM-FAO Initiative ‘’Cooperation for Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change in the Caribbean’’, participated in a panel discussion on the efficient use of water and climate data to inform cross-sectorial decision-making, and shared related lessons from the ongoing Water-Energy-Food (WEF) nexus project in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Jamaica, and St. Kitts and Nevis. Agri-food systems within these small island developing states are highly challenged with the dwindling availability of renewable freshwater resources and the strong dependency on imported fossil fuels to meet the rising energy demand. Buenfil explained that the South-South cooperation project, funded by Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) and the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID), supports beneficiary countries to implement climate-resilient solutions and practices, including water and energy efficient irrigation systems for small-scale agriculture, as well as data collection tools and decision support systems for policy makers to enhance water and food security in the Caribbean. In her opening remarks for the session, Gloria Sandoval, General Director for the Execution of Projects Abroad at AMEXCID, reinforced Mexico’s commitment to help improve living conditions in the insular Caribbean and increase resilience of the most vulnerable populations, stressing that ‘’Mexico is and will continue to be deeply supportive of the sister countries that make up our region.’’ During his presentation, Buenfil introduced the audience to the AGRI (AGua para RIego – Water for Irrigation) World Sources tool, a web-based decision-support platform. AGRI was developed by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), now part of the Alliance of Bioversity International, with financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and technical collaboration with FAO’s Investment Centre (CFI) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The platform, designed for technicians and institutional decision-makers, facilitates the planning and design of reservoirs and irrigation systems for small farms. It helps to identify suitable sites for rainwater harvesting or river intakes based on biophysical selection criteria and water needs for crops. Under the WEF nexus project, officers at the Ministries of Agriculture in the four countries are being trained to use the platform effectively. Buenfil is convinced that the AGRI World Sources tool has the potential to be upscaled across the region and stated, ‘’FAO aims to support Caribbean small island developing states to increase the availability and reach of these climate-resilient interventions. For this we work closely with Governments and stakeholders to present funding proposals to international climate and environmental financing mechanisms such as the Adaptation Fund, the Global Environment Facility or the Green Climate Fund.” World Water Week is the leading annual global event for the water and sanitation sector, which explores the value of water for people, the economy, development, nature and the climate. Guided by this year’s theme “Seeing the unseen: the value of water”, the IDB coordinated 13 region-specific ‘’Focus on the Americas’’ sessions and seminars, featuring high-profile water and sanitation experts from government agencies, utilities, international organizations, universities, the private sector and donor agencies, amongst others. The goal was to foster cross-regional and cross-sectorial dialogue on innovative financing mechanisms, novel water security experiences, nature-based solutions and other relevant information. For more information, please contact: Jacinto Buenfil Policy Officer Environment and Climate Change FAO Subregional Office for the Caribbean E-mail: email@example.com Marquita Sugrim FAO National Communications Consultant FAO Subregional Office for the Caribbean E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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04 July 2022
Suriname gives ‘hope and inspiration to the world to save our rainforests’: UN chief
Considered a global leader in biodiversity conservation, with more than 90 per cent of its land surface covered by native forests, the nation’s unrivaled natural resources more than make up for its size. Suriname is considered a carbon negative country, as its rainforests absorb more emissions than the country emits.Thick green foliage seems to be just about everywhere, even near the outskirts of the capital, Paramaribo, which is itself dotted with bustling markets and cultural centres. On Saturday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres saw first-hand the commitment of the Surinamese people to protect their natural treasures and ancestral knowledge. “Rainforests are a precious gift to humanity. That is why from here in Suriname, I want to send a message to the world: We must honour and preserve the gift of rainforests because this is not a gift that will keep on giving”, Mr. Guterres told reporters at a joint press conference with President Chan Santokhi at the end of his first day in the country. The UN chief also delivered a stark warning: “If we keep seeing the [current] scale of destruction across the world’s rainforests, we are not just biting the hand that feeds us – we are tearing it to shreds”. Mr. Guterres stressed that rampant deforestation and worsening climate impacts are increasing forest fires and droughts. “This is outrageous and shameful. It is global suicide in slow motion,” he said, adding that such destruction should be a global wake-up call to save the lungs of our planet. A call from the indigenous peoples of Suriname Earlier in the day, the Secretary-General visited the indigenous village of Pierre Kondre – Redi Doti, some 67 kilometres south of the capital. The area is surrounded by 9,000 hectares of forest, and home to about 100 inhabitants. After driving through the iron-rich countryside, characterized by its reddish-brown soil, Mr. Guterres was received by the Captain Lloyd Read of the Kaliña peoples, along with the women and men of the community They were singing and dressed in their traditional predominantly red- coloured clothing. “The challenge [we face] to protect Mother Earth and the Amazon rainforest is not appreciated and poses threats to our lives,” Mr. Lloyd lamented, adding that his people – through no fault of their own – are currently endangered due to exploitation of natural resources and the consequences of climate change, such as large and sustained rainfall and flooding. He said that mercury contamination – mainly caused by illegal extractive activities – is also threatening indigenous lives and livelihoods in the region. “In the South, life is ruined by Mercury. There is no fish, no meat and no clean water to drink. Even extremely high levels of this metal have been found in the hair of our natives,” he said. The Secretary-General noted these concerns and asked Mr. Lloyd for more details, promising to be the ‘spokesperson’ of the community during his later meeting with Government officials. “This is a visit of solidarity with the indigenous communities in Suriname and around the world. When we witness that we are still losing the battle of climate change, when you see biodiversity more and more threatened everywhere, when you see pollution around the world it is very important to recognize that indigenous communities are showing the wisdom, the resilience and the will to be in peace with nature”, he told those gathered in the village. Pineapples for sustainable development Redi Doti village, partially nestled within Surinam’s savanna belt, an area of white silicate sand that is mostly infertile, manages to cultivate pineapples, passion fruit and cassava, which represent the community’s main source of livelihood. Today’s visit coincides with the International Day of Cooperatives, and Mr. Guterres was able to see the work of two cooperatives that are supported by the UN and its agencies, including the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), as well as the European Union. One such cooperative, led by local women, creates organic pineapple derived products, such as jam, juices, and fruit cups. The other cooperative deals with the cultivation process, which is trying to turn the pineapple harvest into an all-year production, instead of a seasonal. According to the UN Development Programme (UNDP), inclusion of indigenous and tribal communities in economic prosperity is critical. While they constitute only 4 per cent of the total population, their rights to land cover more than 80 per cent of the territory of Suriname, but they are not recognized officially by national legislation. Before leaving the community, Captain Lloyd Read told the Secretary-General that he would ask Tamushi the all-mighty [the great spirit God], to give him the strength and power to go further, in a world threatened by climate change and war. Singing a beautiful prayer in his native language Kaliña, he said goodbye and told him he hoped he would remember them. “Indigenous peoples have not contributed to climate change, yet they are among the most affected. At the same time, they have solutions that the world can learn so much from. They are proud guardians of some of the planet’s indispensable biological diversity, and they need support to do so,” the UN chief underscored later at a press conference. Planting hope with mangroves From the forest, the Secretary-General made his way to the beach, where he could see the devastating impacts of climate change fueled coastal erosion, flooding and sea-level rise. Weg Naar Zee, an easily accessible coastal area of about 10,000 acres situated north-west of Paramaribo and part of the 386 kms of the mainly muddy coastal zone of Suriname, has suffered from extreme erosion which has resulted in an absence of soft sling mud, a preferred foraging habitat for shorebirds. Since 2016, the UN has supported the country’s efforts, led by academics and students, to increase conservation, natural restoration and rehabilitation of mangroves. One such project, led by Anton de Kom University of Suriname, installs sediment trapping structures along the coast and plants to reverse the damage. Walking along the muddy shore with Suriname’s Minister of Spatial Planning, Silvano Tjong-Ahin, Mr. Guterres planted a young mangrove tree. This project is being led by Professor Sieuwnat Naipal, who is one of the driving forces behind mangrove conservation in the country. “Nature-based solutions – such as preserving mangroves, rainforests and other essential ecosystems – are vital. The world needs more such initiatives,” he told the press. Earlier, the Secretary-General said that mangroves held a special meaning for him, because the first book he read as a child was about those hardy, uniquely beneficial trees and shrubs. Mangroves play an essential part in the fight against climate change, as they can capture and store huge quantities of carbon in their roots and even in the soils in which they grow. They are also extremely important to our coastal environments and habitats and nursery havens for a diverse array of species. They are called the ‘kidneys of the coasts’ because of the role that they play in nutrient cycling within the coastal environment. An exceptional example “What I have seen here in Suriname gives me hope and inspiration. But what we are seeing around the globe is cause for deep shock and anger”, Mr. Guterres further said at his end of the day presser. The UN chief stressed that unfortunately, Suriname stands out as an exception in a world that is moving in the wrong direction. “Around the world, we are seeing the failure of climate leadership and the proliferation of disastrous climate disruption… To meet the goal of limiting temperature rise by 1.5 degrees, global emissions must decline by 45 per cent by 2030. Yet current national climate pledges would result in an increase in emissions of 14 per cent by 2030,” he warned. Underlining that the big emissions emitters have a particular responsibility, Guterres highlighted that Caribbean nations are on the front lines of the climate crisis and have consistently shown steadfast leadership. “As I saw today, we have the tools and the know-how. Our world needs the political will and solidarity to make the difference that is needed. Suriname and the Caribbean region are leading the path forward. We must follow that lead – for people, for posterity and for our planet”, he concluded. The Secretary General will be in Suriname until Sunday, when he will attend the opening of the 43rd Regular Meeting of the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) Conference of Heads of Government. This article was written and published by UN News.
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02 December 2021
UN Resident Coordinator Congratulates Grenada on Spotlight Results.
The celebratory event themed "Spotlight on Results: Ending Family Violence" held on November 25, 2021, sought to highlight the impactful work being done by the Recipient UN Organizations, and Government and Civil society partners through the Spotlight initiative, to jointly contribute to the elimination of violence against women and girls in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. UN Resident Coordinator, Didier Trebucq, opened the event, highlighting the significance of the 16 Days of Activism and the importance of this work, while quoting the prevalence of violence against women in the Caribbean and in Grenada. “46% of women have experienced at least one form of violence over their lifetime, and this rate was 39% in Grenada," he stated. Mr. Trebucq acknowledged notable results made under the spotlight initiative, including improvement of essential services to victims and survivors, enhancement of the Government's regulatory framework, and strengthening of the National Gender Machinery, the women’s movement, and civil society organizations. He commended the Government for its leadership and commitment, as shown by approval of the Standard Operating Procedures and introduction of gender budgeting in the national budget, which are central to addressing to gender inequality and applying the principle of “leave no one behind”. He also commended UNICEF, UNDP, PAHO/WHO and UN Women for their immense support to Grenada under the Spotlight Initiative and for delivering the Spotlight as one UN. Mr. Trebucq emphasized that even while improvements have been made, further work must be done to achieve the goal of ending violence against women and girls. “Let’s celebrate the successes we have seen so far, but let’s not forget that as we speak during this event, more girls and women are, or would be, abused,” he said. See a clip of the address here: Address from UN Resident Coordinator, Didier Trebucq
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25 November 2021
UN Launches initiative to tackle Vaccine Hesitancy and increase COVID-19 vaccine uptake
To address this issue, UN Barbados and Eastern Caribbean mission, in collaboration with regional authorities and development partners, have embarked on an initiative to boost uptake, counter misinformation and save lives. An inter-agency proposal that aims to support the Eastern Caribbean countries and Overseas Territories was formally launched by the UN and is being implemented with the support of development partners, primarily USAID and Canada, who have committed financial resources to the endeavour. Addressing the virtual ceremony, UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Didier Trebucq highlighted the importance of vaccination as the pandemic is heavily impacting economies and societies, increasing debt and deepening existing inequalities. Noting that restrictions of movement through border controls, curfews, school closures and lockdown measures have come at a huge cost to the region with countries’ debt to GDP ratios increasing by 21 percentage points between 2019 and 2020, and currently exceeding 100% of national income in some instances. The UN head urged other partners and donors to join the UN in this important undertaking. “Partners and colleagues, the time for developing innovative strategies is now; if Caribbean SIDS are to restore their economies and have a fighting chance to get back on track the 2030 Agenda." The joint proposal brings together six UN Agencies – PAHO/WHO (acting as technical lead agency), UNICEF, UNDP, UN Women, ITU and ILO – who are partnering with regional Governments to address vaccine hesitancy through policy advisory support; behavioural change strategies to complement ongoing communication and advocacy; addressing vaccine motivation; and strengthening vaccine rollout. PAHO/WHO Representative, Dr. Yitades Gebre, painted a picture of lagging vaccine rates in recent months that has resulted in more than 62,000 COVID-19 doses being discarded due to expiration dates. He called for a more holistic approach to combatting misinformation perpetuated via social media and online forums. “In August 14,000 vaccines were unused, In September 38,200 doses were also wasted and in October 9,600, which is a rough estimate. There is both vaccine hesitancy and open vial wastage.” Dr. Gebre also revealed plans by the UN to strengthen vaccine delivery to minimize hesitancy, with a global coverage target of 70% by June 2022, with interim targets of 10% and 40% by September and December 2021 respectively. Health Ministers from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda were also present to support the initiative, while giving first-hand reports of the COVID-19 situation in their countries. Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Hon. St. Clair Prince, told the forum his Government had been navigating the impact of multiple crises - Dengue, COVID-19, and the eruption of La Soufriere volcano. Reporting evidence of vaccine effectiveness in reducing transmission, illness, and death, he strongly signaled his Government’s commitment to working to combat vaccine hesitancy. “Our commitment is to continue to work on these key areas - research and policy, behavioural change strategies, risk communications and advocacy, vaccine rollout, vaccine monitoring and of course continuing to work with the UN and our partners to get vaccine hesitancy down in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.” Minister of Health and Social Security, the Hon. Nikolas Steele, noted that at the start of the pandemic in early 2020 Grenada had a 98.5 percent vaccination rate on all of the other WHO approved and prescribed vaccines. He emphasized that what had changed was the messaging surrounding COVID, the public debates on vaccines and most definitely the rise of conspiracy theories. “But I think the most important aspect that we did underestimate was the power of social media and the fact that we have no control over it." Minister Steele also referenced the fact that unvaccinated persons were demonstrating and encouraging others not to be vaccinated, and persons who traditionally complied were becoming weary of the sacrifices being made to help those who chose not to. He underlined the need for maintaining balance. "As we move forward we need to find that ideal balance between carrot and stick to deal with the vaccination issue. There have been different reactions from the public, and time will tell which combination was the most effective. In Grenada , we choose to use more of education and less of legislation, and use legislation based on the risk levels of certain sectors, but there is no rule book.” Minister Steele also underscored the need to ensure supply frequency and reliability of vaccines , that the vaccine debate to be restricted to only COVID-19 vaccines, and for the region to maintain vaccine certificate integrity. The Hon. Sir Molwyn Joseph, Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment of Antigua and Barbuda, told the forum that Antigua had always felt it important to maintain the delicate balance between protection of lives and livelihoods, which had not been an easy. He further admitted that enough may not have been done to educate the public on their personal role in public health, and the fact that this responsibility did not solely rest with clinicians. “We have paid a high cost for our failure to really invest sufficiently in preventing the morbidities in our populations and allow the coronavirus to thrive. Recently there were 99 deaths at our hospital and 95 persons were unvaccinated. Yet with this alarming state of affairs with deaths and suffering we still have hesitancy, and this is why I welcome this dialogue and commend the UN and PAHO for facilitating[it]" Minister Joseph emphasized that in Antigua they did not start off with mandates, but these only became necessary when a rapid decline in the economy and an increase in deaths and suffering were witnessed. He reveled that between September 30 when COVID-19 vaccine mandates were announced and November 17, Grenada recorded an uptake in vaccines by 13,000 persons. "We can with the right measures save lives and livelihoods," he concluded. USAID Regional Representative, Mr. Clinton White told the forum that bolstering country readiness, with emphasis on addressing vaccine hesitancy and misinformation, is critical to getting vaccine doses into the people who need them. "As announced at the Global COVID-19 Summit USAID plans to provide an additional $195 million in American Rescue Plan Funds for vaccine readiness and delivery around the world, which builds on the almost $700 million USAID is programming in vaccine readiness and delivery to help countries around the world to strengthen their programmes and enhance equity.” Head of Cooperation, Global Affairs Canada, Ms. Jennifer Heys also reiterated Canada’s commitment to a robust global effort to stop COVID-19 and address its devastating health, socio-economic and security impacts on people around the world. She stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic is a global threat that will only be overcome through coordinated global action. “To date, Canada has mobilized more than $2.5 billion in international assistance in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic globally. Over $1.3 billion in new funds has been committed to date to help ensure access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments for people around the world.” UN Heads of Agencies from UNICEF, ITU and ILO also provided insight on current approaches to counter vaccine hesitancy. These included more concerted efforts to utilise social media to directly target and educate youth, other target groups and the public, with trusted, sourced, reliable information to counter misinformation and fake news. Minister of Health St. Kitts and Nevis, the Hon. Akilah Byron- Nesbitt, in delivering closing remarks, while providing a country update, noted that unfortunately before the first COVID-19 vaccine could have been granted emergency use authorization, conspiracy theorists had already begun a huge anti-vax campaign with social media providing the platform for these theories to be spread at a pace that made it difficult to counter effectively. She noted that by the time they as health officials were armed with the requisite scientific data they were faced with the daunting task of convincing persons that vaccines in general were safe and effective, before they could even begin the conversation about the COVID-19 vaccines. Yet, they were able to make significant strides. “In St. Kitts and Nevis we have managed to convince 79.4 % of adults in our population (which is 57.1 % of total population) to be vaccinated with at least one dose and 72.9 % of our adult population (which works out to 52% of entire population) with at least a second dose by November 17.This was achieved through a robust community campaign that commenced in February, and without the use of mandates. The vaccine hesitancy proposal is costed at USD$3.1M ($3,182,000), with a funding gap of USD$2.3M ($2,346,388). Read more here:
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27 October 2021
UN Resident Coordinator calls for redoubling of efforts to increase universal access to COVID19 vaccines in his UN Day Message
Speaking as the United Nations celebrated the adoption of the UN Charter by its founding members in 1945, the Resident Coordinator urged people everywhere, including youth, to step for climate action and to make their voices heard on matters that will impact their future. Meanwhile, he pledged the UN's continued commitment to the region, and to helping Caribbean countries to build back better, greener, and stronger, truly leaving no one behind. In delivering his message across Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Mr. Trebucq stated: "As we approach COP 26, now only one week away, the UN is demanding a strong commitment from world leaders to increase funding for climate adaptation and to achieve carbon neutrality by mid-century. This is a matter of survival for Caribbean SIDS. The UN will continue to advocate at the highest level for the region to access the resources needed to effectively minimize vulnerabilities, reduce debt dependency, and accelerate progress towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals." He concluded: "Together, we must ensure that we support efforts to not only increase universal access to COVID19 vaccines, but also to reduce vaccine hesitancy. Together, we must step up for climate action, and must ensure that the rights and freedoms that underpin the UN Charter, are realised for women and girls, men and boys, and marginalized individuals and groups everywhere. Together we must commit to leaving this planet in a better shape for future generations. On this UN Day let us agree that we and will do it together!"
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06 July 2022
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