Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Violent conflicts will not be my legacy- Holness

Published:Thursday | June 29, 2017 | 6:00 AMNadine Wilson-Harris
Holness

Violent conflicts, major development setbacks, and fragile ecosystems are all issues that the global community is currently struggling to address, but Prime Minister Andrew Holness has declared that this is not the legacy he wishes to leave behind.

"A significant number of countries are experiencing violent conflicts causing loss of life, major development setbacks, and the displacement of people on a huge scale, which also impacts directly and indirectly," he told delegates who attended yesterday's opening ceremony of a regional conference on the Sustainable Development Goals at the University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters.

"I would certainly tell you that this is not the legacy that I would want to leave behind," he said.

Instead, the prime minister hopes that by 2030, there will be access to world-class education and training in the Caribbean and increased access to health care and equal opportunities.

"I also envision a Caribbean with healthy, natural environments, lush vegetation and

forest, clean air and water, technology-driven innovation, economic growth in various sectors, and the end of poverty. And stated otherwise, prosperity for all," he said.

Sustainable Development

The three-day regional conference is expected to galvanise the efforts of regional leaders and policymakers to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were adopted by the global community two years ago in order to eradicate poverty, fight inequality, and protect the environment.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Kamina Johnson Smith noted that the establishment of effective mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating development across the region has been an area of concern.

However, there has been growing momentum within the region to make good on the potential of the SDGs, which have a 2030 timeline.

"Since the start of this year, several meetings have been held, including under the hospices of UN organisations, to explore the peculiarities of our region on the journey towards sustainable development," Johnson Smith said.

United Nations Resident Coordinator and United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative to Jamaica Bruno Pouezat pointed to the need to act quickly to achieve the goals.

"These 13 years will pass in a flash, so if we ought to reach the goals, we must move now to lay the foundations for sustained accelerated action," he said.

nadine.wilson@gleanerjm.com