Antigua and Barbuda is in the final stages of completing its Voluntary Nation Report for presentation to the United Nations in July on the steps it has made towards achieving the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
The International Trade Unit within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs along with the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) are currently conducting a series of consultations to gauge the nation’s progress towards the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda also known the as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“This process involves consulting with a wide cross-section of stakeholder groupings inclusive of government agencies, the private sector, youth, academia, NGOs and the media. This initiative will inform the nation’s first Voluntary National Report (VNR) to be presented at the United Nations High-Level Political Forum slated for July 2021,” Director of International Trade in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Joy-Marie King indicated.
She said Antigua and Barbuda’s VNR is expected to capture the experiences, successes, challenges and lessons learned towards the implementation of the SDGs. “It will be conducted under the theme ‘Sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that promotes the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development: building an inclusive and effective path for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in the context of the
decade of action and delivery for sustainable development,’” King revealed.
Separate consultations were held Thursday that focused on the private sector, NGOs, youth, academia and the media. In offering welcoming remarks, King stated that “Over the past year, Antigua and Barbuda and the region have been grappling with the catastrophic actualities of the COVID-19 pandemic, a reality which has rapidly evolved and expanded beyond just being a serious health concern to include economic and social fall-outs.” She further expounded that “As
a region, we are now faced with the very real possibility of this pandemic substantially eroding development achievements in addition to undermining efforts towards the implementation of the
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.” In conclusion, Director King emphasised the need for “a renewed commitment, redoubling of efforts towards building a resilient society and utilising the sustainable development goals as the impetus for such an achievement.” Elizabeth Emanuel, a consultant acquired through the assistance of ECLAC, during her presentation outlined the importance of localising the Sustainable Development Goals and aligning them with the national development strategy while Catarina Camarinhas, a representative of ECLAC, underscored the importance of each stakeholder participating in the consultation process and its value towards the implementation of the goals.
The Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda in 2019 charged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the responsibility for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The SDGs comprise of seventeen interlinked goals designated as a blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. They were adopted in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly.