The SDGs established last fall set an ambitious agenda, but Bradley Douglas, 27, a Correspondent from St. Vincent, says the small island state is already pressing ahead to achieve the goals and mitigate climate change impact.
As a Caribbean nation and categorised within the bracket of Small Island Developing States, amidst the varying limitations, we can still say that 17 Sustainable Development Goals drafted at a Summit in New York in September, 2015, will seek to foster socio-economic growth and further assist addressing several environmental issues.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a chain of 32 islands located within the Lesser Antilles. As a nation we act as an emerging catalyst for growth and development, as our contributions to the region’s development has been exemplary.
We may ask “What do the 17 Sustainable Development Goals have to do with us as a developing country?”
One might even wonder “What role can I play in ensuring that we as a Vincentian community – and more so as Caribbean nationals – ensure that the world we live in is shaped for future generations?”
The Post Development Agenda as an offset to the Millennium Goals has thus far had positive implications for many persons. One of the major indicators of this advancement is through improved policies, democratic governance and wider partnerships and participation of stakeholders within the public and private sectors.
The Caribbean has long produced a large number of educated and career-driven individuals in varying academic fields and disciplines. St. Vincent and the Grenadines over the years has boosted the educational system, where every child is given the opportunity for proper secondary education.
This area is addressed in (Goal 4) of the Post Development Agenda. New and emerging opportunities are given to persons to expand in the academic fields, whilst ensuring the equality for all, regardless of gender, social status or demographics.
When we discuss or highlight Sustainable Development, we have to reiterate three pivotal pointers. These pointers can be used as bench mark indicators to ensure that the objectives established are accomplished. In sustainability the social, economic and environmental areas of our nation are to be considered. Within the framework of the Post Development Agenda, as a nation we are now in a better position to address the areas of sustainable cities and environments; coupled with climate change action plans and advocacies. Climate change affects millions of persons across the globe. Within St. Vincent and the Grenadines there are several initiatives and action groups accountable for inculcating proper practices and mitigation measures towards ensuring that our environment is conserved, protected and adapted to climate change risk effects.
The agricultural sector is gradually becoming more diversified, and with increasing opportunities for partnerships (Goal 17), agriculture is now not only seen as a sector but also as an industry that is viable, stable and sustainable. The Zero Hunger Challenge across the globe and particular in developing nations is one that is of prime importance. Several initiatives and strategic policies have been developed to ensure the reduction of food import bills, ensure food security, especially within rural communities, and also eliminate poverty (Goals 1 & 2).
Already projections have been made to educate and motivate persons to have healthier eating lifestyles. Poverty reduction is an issue which can be tackled through decent work and economic growth. This economic growth has been fostered through capacity building programmes and initiatives which seek to incorporate women and girls. Persons are more aware of their life skills and abilities and their access to paid work, properties and employment helps improvement in their standard of living.
As Caribbean nations, climate change is inevitable. However, through improved technologies and innovations through cleaner and affordable energy, more persons, especially within the industry and productive sectors, can better improve their productivity levels. Geothermal energy and renewable energy many years ago was taught to be “a rocket science”. Nevertheless, indicators have proven that there is a need for renewable energy practices. St. Vincent and the Grenadines is on board in this area, as plans are already in place to establish a geo-thermal energy plant by the year 2018. (Goal 7)
So, as we as a Vincentian community, as families and individuals advance into the future we can be reminded that we have nations to build and lives to change. Shaping the world we want, we are achieving one goal at a time. The Post Development Agenda has been established. The torch has been lit. As we strive together on the sandy shores of our volcanic island, let us work together to build resilience and stand tall with pride.
About me: I am a young, innovative engineer with a keen interest for conservation, food security and sustainability. I am currently the World Merit St. Vincent country representative and a member of YPARD.
My future career aspiration is to further contribute through programmes that would address the issues of food security, climate change and youth involvement in the agricultural sector. I am an aspiring writer and blogger.
As a Caribbean national I am passionate about regional integration and progress for developing nations.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/
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