JIS News

The Barbados Programme of Action (BPoA) for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are not just abstract concepts developed by environmental and social scientists in far away places.
This was emphasized yesterday (February 3) by Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Representative, Keith E. Evans, when he addressed a civil society national consultation to assess the implementation of the BPoA and the MDGs, held at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston.
“In many ways, the actions and the goals that are contemplated therein, have been your actions and your goals for as long as you can remember,” Mr. Evans told the participants.
The BPoA specifically addresses the priority issues within developing countries by reaffirming the commitments and principles embodied in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (the Earth Summit), which is a programme of actions that investigates innovative ways of attaining global sustainability within the 21st Century.
It not only reinforces the principles outlined in (the Earth Summit), but it also reshapes them into a programme for SIDS. SIDS refers to coastal countries sharing similar challenges for sustainable development and these range from having small populations with limited expertise and natural resources, to being ecologically vulnerable and susceptible to natural disasters.
“The BPoA and the MDGs are for us at the IDB a call to arms, a call to re-engage ourselves more vigorously than before in areas that are key to the sustainable development of SIDS of our region,” Mr. Evans stressed.
He added that the IDB perceived a synergy between the dictates of the BPoA, the MDGs and its own mandate to accelerate the pace of social and economic development of its borrowing member countries.
Mr. Evans also pointed out that in the years since the launch of these two initiatives, the synergy of purpose had been transformed into one of partnership in an array of areas of common endeavour, that recognized and appreciated the efforts of those members.
“With this act of transformation and appreciation has come an embrace of the vital role of civil society in the process of sustainable development,” he said.
Mr. Evans further noted that this embrace of civil society had been strengthened by the presence of Civil Society Advisory Committees, which worked with the staff of country officers throughout the region.
These committees are comprised of representatives of a broad cross section of non-governmental organizations and community based organizations, whose primary function is to input local knowledge, experience and expertise into the formulation of bank policy and strategy and then into the design and execution of its programmes, so as to ensure that these are fuelled by equal and appropriate measures of relevance and realism.
There are 41 countries, which are a part of SIDS. It was out of a conference held in Barbados in 1994 to highlight the concerns for special development needs and to formulate an Action Plan for Sustainable Development, that the 14-point BPoA was formulated to focus on addressing the needs of SIDS.
Meanwhile, the MDGs are an agenda for reducing poverty and improving lives, that world leaders agreed on at the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000. One or more targets have been set for each goal, with 2015 as the target, using 1990 as a bench mark.
The goals are: to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development.
The consultation was hosted by the IDB and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

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