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Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Anthony Hylton, has called on members of the World Congress of Consuls to unite in forging alliances and partnerships at the national, regional and multilateral levels, in the effort to achieve the goals of environmental protection and sustainable economic development.
“Sustainable development is more than just economic growth; it involves the broad-based improvements of living conditions, while protecting the environment.
The pursuit of sustainable development requires balancing the objectives of economic growth, environmental protection and social development. The natural environment provides the basis of protection for many exported products and services and is an important input to long term sustainable development objectives,” the Minister emphasised.
Senator Hylton was addressing the closing day of the 8th World Congress of Consuls at the Ritz Carlton Golf and Spa Resort in Montego Bay, yesterday (November 8).
Speaking on the theme: ‘Sustainable Development Through Trade’, the Minister pointed out that protection of the environment as well as disaster management and mitigation, remained central to efforts by the government of Jamaica towards achieving sustainable development.
Citing activities in specific sectors, Senator Hylton noted that sustainable development of tourism was critical to the economic survival of Jamaica and that the government remained “steadfastly committed” to its development in a manner that would guarantee its continued contribution to the economy for generations to come. “In order to accomplish this, there is need for greater public and private sector partnerships and initiatives. Several tourism entities in Jamaica have secured the prestigious Green Globe certification on the basis of the application of environmental standards to their tourism product. In addition, a number of our beaches and marinas have received Blue Flag certification, which attests to their sound environmental practices,” he said.
He also observed that agriculture, which was central to sustainable development, was the mainstay of Jamaica’s rural population, which accounted for 48 per cent of the total population.
“The livelihood of the rural population . is central to sustainable development and poverty alleviation. Agriculture contributes in a major way to rural employment generation, lower rural migration, improved household nutrition, local food security and greater self reliance in Jamaica,” the Minister stressed. “All these issues I present to you are critical to our political, economic and diplomatic discussions in the national and international context. I challenge you as Consuls to be aware of your wider role in this important dialogue on sustainable development . which is crosscutting and touches on all aspects of our lives,” Senator Hylton added.
He reminded them that as private sector representatives and members of the business community, they were important stakeholders in the efforts at achieving the goal of sustainable development. Honorary Consuls from more than 80 countries participated in the six-day conference.