By: Eric Rose
During the Occasion of The Bahamas becoming a signatory to the U.N Multi-Country Sustainable Development Co-Operation Framework, on February 11, 2022, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis said that the signing event comes at an opportune time for The Bahamas.
“Like the rest of the world, The Bahamas is still steadying itself amid the continuing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Prime Minister Davis said at the event held at the Office of the Prime Minister, on Goodman’s Bay. Also speaking at the event and signing the documents were Minister of Works and Utilities and Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service, the Hon. Alfred Sears; and United Nations Resident Coordinator Dr. Garry Conille. In attendance was Minister of Economic Affairs the Hon. Michael Halkitis; and other officials.
Prime Minister Davis pointed out that, while The Bahamas also wrestles with hefty economic burdens, and the rapidly-shifting dynamics in geo-political relations, the continuing and increasing adverse impacts of climate change reminds all that they also face a threat which is existential.
“We understand too well that rising sea levels, rising temperatures, and more frequent and more severe hurricanes are not challenges that we can overcome on our own,” Prime Minister Davis said. “The need for partnerships, especially global partnerships, is now greater than ever before.”
“And so we are thrilled to become a part of this regional framework,” he added. “Grateful that it is to be created with our input, and happy that it ensures that all voices from participating countries in the region are heard and represented.” Prime Minister Davis noted that occasions like the one that day reminded all that “we are more alike than we are different”.
“This ‘Multi-Country Sustainable Development Co-Operation Framework’ reflects our determination to strengthen regional collaboration towards a common goal,” he said.
“And it is exactly the kind of initiative envisioned by Sustainable Development Goal 17, which urges us to ‘… strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development’,” he added. Prime Minister Davis pointed out that their collective mandate was clear.
“In these extraordinary times, we must reinforce our social-protection apparatus, invest in human capital, and establish a robust economic foundation for sustainable growth,” he said.
“While tourism has, for decades, served as the bedrock of our economy, we clearly see the need to diversify our economic model generally, and our model of tourism specifically,” he added.
“The precipitous decline in visitors during the pandemic, taught us lessons that we will not easily forget.” Prime Minister Davis said that, thankfully, tourism was a vast and diverse industry, which allowed a focus shift to a model that was both more inclusive and more sustainable.
“Given that we are surrounded by breath-taking flora and fauna, and have the most beautiful waters in the world, expansion in eco-tourism is an obvious example of how we plan to develop,” he said.
Prime Minister Davis pointed out that a quick glance at a few of the other priority areas demonstrated how much of his government’s ambition and planning was in line with the Multicounty Sustainable Development Framework.
“The drive towards ‘Shared Prosperity and Economic Resilience’; the commitment to promote ‘Equality and Well-Being’ and the determination to ‘Leave No-one Behind’; the effort to build ‘Resilience to climate change shocks and sustainable natural resource management’; and the commitment to promote ‘Peace and Safety’, and to uphold the principles of ‘Justice, and the Rule of Law’,” he said.
“These priority areas also encompass the ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ and serve as a roadmap to guide us to a Bahamas where we all feel heard, feel safe, feel included and financially secure.” he added. Prime Minister Davis noted that The Bahamas was a country “filled with brilliant creative minds, people who deserve an opportunity not only to share their talents with our visitors and friends, but to earn a living doing so”.
“Our Country Implementation Plan which will flow from this Framework, will make every effort to furnish that opportunity,” he said. “And we will do all that we can to ensure that the plan steers us towards success.”
Prime Minister said that, however, the success of that Framework ultimately depends not only on the cooperation of the government and its multilateral partners, but also on the co-operation of civil society, the private sector and “everyone here in our Bahamas”. He added that it was imperative that all voices were included, so that none were left behind.
“Through this partnership with the United Nations Development System and the Resident Coordinators Office, we will have more resources to address gaps in digitalization, capabilities and service provision within the public sector, data collection and analysis, financing, and policy development and implementation,” Prime Minister Davis said.
“My warmest thanks to Dr. Conille, and the other UN representatives, for their role in supporting The Bahamas at this critical juncture in our history,” he added. “We are very grateful for your continuing efforts.
“There is an African proverb that says: ‘If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’ “With this partnership, we look forward to moving farther forward, together.”
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