Dominica makes successful debut VNR presentation to the United Nations High-level Political Forum in New York
13 July 2022
The Government of Dominica has received high-praise for its work in accelerating progress of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This came as Dominica's Minister of Planning, Economic Development, Climate Resilience, Sustainable Development and Renewable Energy, the Hon. Dr. Vince Henderson delivered the island's first Voluntary National Review (VNR) to the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) taking place in New York, 5-15 July.
Prior to taking his audience on a multi-media journey that depicted their path in building the world's first climate resilient country, Minister Henderson told the gathering that Dominica's story was one of vulnerability, resilience, and sustainability. He noted that just over five year ago, in 2017, Dominica was completely devastated by Hurricane Maria which resulted in losses amounting to 226 percent of GDP, causing significant destruction to every sector and community.
"Notwithstanding, hurricane Maria provided us with a unique opportunity to review our development pathway and create new solutions and ambitions to advance our sustainable development prospects," he underscored.
Observing that Dominica was "seeing big wins under each of the 17 SDGs, " Minister Henderson said over the past several years, his Government had approved three key policy documents - the National Resilience Development Strategy; the Climate Resilience and Recovery Plan 2020 – 2030 ; and the Disaster Risk Financing Strategy - which represented their roadmap for achieving the 2030 Agenda.
Despite impressive development gains made over the years, the Dominican official noted the inherent vulnerabilities facing Caribbean SIDS, including limited fiscal space, a hostile global financial system and climate change. He stressed the need for adequate and sustained levels of resources, and for translating conversations into deliberate actions.
"Although Dominica’s resilience agenda and vision are fully aligned with the SDGs, we recognize that the SDGs necessitate much more than that. As a global community we must recognize that small island states need more to move apace to 2030, but we can only do so with the partnership and commitment of this community. Otherwise, we will be travelling a long and lonely road to 2030."
In addressing the forum, Dianne Quarless, Chief of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) Sub-regional Headquarters, congratulated the Government on its first VNR, noting that the Commission was pleased to have supported what was a truly consultative process, with active participation of the full range of stakeholders notably the indigenous people of Dominica.
"The Dominican experience epitomizes the multi-dimensional challenges faced by many of the island states of the Caribbean not withstanding persistent economic, infrastructural devastation caused by extreme climatic events, social welfare concerns, further aggravated by Covid-19. Dominica has remained resolute in advancing its Sustainable Development Strategy and empowering its people. Investment in social protection programs has cushioned the effects of the pandemic and the implementation of restoration and reforestation has halted by biodiversity loss consistent with the country’s determination to become the first climate resilient country in the world."
UN Resident Coordinator, Didier Trebucq, in expressing congratulations to the Government, praised the efforts of UN Team in helping to coordinate and support the multi-stakeholder process.
"The UN remains fully committed to supporting Dominica to achieve its 2030 vision. I once again wish to congratulate the country for its achievements thus far, and reaffirm our dedication as the UN to support you in ensuring a prosperous future for all Dominicans."
The High-Level meeting, being held under the theme: "Building back better from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" provides a space for the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to discuss, at the ministerial level, how to best develop forward-looking policy approaches to building back better and put the world back on track to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development while advancing a more inclusive and networked multilateralism. It will aim to discuss how to balance short-term crisis relief with long-term analysis, planning and thinking.