Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
  • Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Political Groups
  • Name: Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Sustainable consumption and production (2 hits), SCP (0 hits), sustainable production and consumption (0 hits),

Full Submission

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Submission to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) This submission is made on behalf of the fourteen Member States of the Caribbean Community that a members of the United Nations namely Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.


The unique and particular vulnerabilities of Small Island developing States (SIDS) have been acknowledged by the international community since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro (1992). The adoption by the international community in 1994 of the Barbados Declaration and the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States was seen as the first example of a global partnership in which developed and developing countries undertook to work together in support of small island developing States? development strategies, while working to ensure the protection of the fragile environment of those States. That commitment to a global partnership in support of the sustainable development of small island developing States was strongly reaffirmed during the Twenty-Second Special Session of the General Assembly, which was held in 1999 to review the implementation of the Programme of Action, and was reiterated during the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2002.

In recognizing that small island developing States are a special case both for environment and development, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, in its chapter VII called for action at all levels to accelerate the national and regional implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action, inter alia, with adequate financial resources, assistance for capacity-building and through the transfer of environmentally sound technologies.

In addition to those cross-sectoral imperatives, the JPOI reiterated the need for continued attention to priority areas identified by small island developing States as crucial to their sustainable development process, including support for the finalization and early operationalization of economic, social and environmental vulnerability indices; support for efforts aimed at poverty eradication; the further implementation of sustainable fisheries management; the development of programmes on marine and coastal biodiversity and fresh water; assistance in dealing with climate change and natural disasters; support for the promotion of efficient use of energy, including indigenous and renewable energy sources; strengthening health-care services; and the need to ensure that, in the elaboration of the World Trade Organization work programme on trade in small economies, due account was taken of small island developing States, which have severe structural handicaps in integrating into the global economy, within the context of the Doha agenda.

In 2005, the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action for Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States was adopted. The Strategy sets forth actions and strategies in 19 priority areas, including the original themes of the Programme of Action. Objectives of the Rio+20 Conference Despite the recognition that SIDS are a special case for environment and development, this has not been fully taken into account when considering SIDS developmental, financial and trade needs. For the past two decades SIDS have seen their best national and regional efforts in pursuit of sustainable development undermined by an international environment which is unsupportive and insensitive to their needs.

CARICOM believes that the outcome at Rio +20 must inter alia:

? Reaffirm that SIDS remain a special case for sustainable development and that they continue to face unique and increasing challenges, sometimes over and above those faced by other developing countries, given their small size, exposure to external shocks, remoteness, limited resources base, among other inherent vulnerability. The vulnerability of SIDS has worsened over the last two decades, primarily because of higher exposure to external shocks including increasing adverse impacts of climate change and more frequent and intense natural disasters as well as the fuel, food, and financial crises ? events of truly global character - combined with lower coping capacity as well as inadequate international support.

? Agree to convene the 3rd Global Conference on SIDS (Barbados+20) in 2014 to review progress in the implementation of the BPOA and MSI.

? Urge the international community to honour all commitments related to SIDS including those contained in Agenda 21, BPOA, JPOI and the MSI and to adopt and implement policies to address the special needs of SIDS and support their sustainable development. This commitment will entail a more coherent, coordinated and collaborative approach to the sustainable development of SIDS, through inter alia:

o The provision of new, additional and adequate financial resources,

o Simplified and prioritized access for SIDS to new and existing funds and financial mechanisms

o Active support to regional and inter-regional cooperation among SIDS, such as the Caribbean Single Market and Economy, the Caribbean Development Fund, the Caribbean Sea Commission, the SIDS University Consortium and the SIDS Dock Initiative

o Appropriate harnessing of the potential for foreign direct investment and enhancing FDI flows to SIDS

o Taking into account the specific circumstances of each SIDS when assessing the perspective of long-term debt sustainability

o Facilitating SIDS access to appropriate technology

o Providing technical assistance and access to technologies that helps resilience building in order to address the growing vulnerability (economic, environmental, social) of SIDS

o Enhancing the delivery of coordinated, effective and targeted trade related technical assistance and capacity building programmes, including taking advantage of existing and future market access opportunities, and examining the relationship between trade, environment and development.

o Extending existing trade preferences for SIDS, as well as compensatory mechanisms to offset impacts of trade preferences erosion

o The provision of assistance to address the special competition constraints of SIDS, due to their very small markets.

o The provision of financial and technical support for enhanced national, regional and SIDS-SIDS cooperation for research and technological development on SIDS appropriate renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies

o Supporting the development and implementation of national climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies, programmes and projects in SIDS, as well as to facilitate regional and inter-regional cooperation in SIDS.

o Supporting the development and strengthening of of national and regional information and statistical systems in SIDS as a means to overcome the challenges related to the collection, analysis and publication of basic information for decision-making especially as it relates to the environmental pillar. There is a need to revisit, strengthen and utilize SIDSNET in supporting the establishment and production of national sustainable development indicator programmes. The work carried out by UNDESA on indicators of sustainable development needs to be revitalized with the intention of implementing at national and regional levels, through alignment and mainstreaming via UN Statistical Division.

Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication

Several Member States of CARICOM have developed or, are in the process of developing sectoral policies, sustainable development strategies, strategic and medium term planning programmes and natural resource management frameworks that serve as the basis for a greener, low-carbon economic transition that at the same time addresses the issue of poverty eradication and the broader goal of sustainable development. These include the Barbados Green Economy Strategy, the Dominica Organic Isles Initiative and the Guyana Low Carbon Development Strategy, and the new low carbon strategy announced by Trinidad and Tobago which aims at transforming the existing consumption -based economic growth through the efficient use of resources, minimising pollution through use of environment -friendly technologies and generally supporting green industry. Individual member countries have and are interpreting the green economy concept according to their individual sustainable development priorities and national economic and social conditions.

CARICOM is of the view that the development and implementation of the green economy in our region must be as consistent with our current sustainable development priorities as contained in Agenda 21, the JPOI, Barbados Programme of Action and the Mauritius Strategy of Implementation, as well as the legal framework governing our Community, namely the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.

CARICOM believes that the outcome at Rio +20 must address fundamental sustainable development challenges crucial to achieving a green economy including those related to:

? Agriculture and food security

? Natural Resources Management including fisheries management and oceans governance

? Water resources management

? Energy including renewable energy and energy efficiency

? Climate change and sea level rise

? Sustainable consumption and production including adopt a 10year framework of programmes on Sustainable consumption and production based on the text adopted at CSD19

? Biodiversity

? sustainable land management

? Waste management and chemicals management

? Provision of the means of Implementation ? Finance, technology transfer and capacity building

In addition CARICOM believes that the following must be taken into account in the Rio+20 discussions on the Green Economy:

o The Green Economy must reflect the Principles of Sustainable Development enshrined in the Rio Declaration, particularly Principle 6 .

o The pursuit of sustainable development and the green economy applies to all countries.

o Ensuring an enabling environment at the international level must be central to the international discourse on the Green Economy. In this context, clear commitments related to the provision of financing, capacity building and technology transfer must be given and met by developed countries to ensure implementation by developing countries.

o The Green Economy should be defined and applied by each country based on its specific circumstances, especially in the context of whether it is a paradigm, a tool or an alternative path to sustainable development.

o The risks, challenges, and opportunities, presented by the Green Economy must be careful studied in the SIDS context given the narrow margin for error in development planning in SIDS. In this connection, for SIDS, cost-benefit analyses to ascertain the transition costs (e.g for the energy sector and tourism sector) versus the costs of doing business as usual, should be undertaken.

o Green economy initiatives should not be used as green protectionism

o Stakeholder buy-in will be critical in advancing the Green Economy

o The Green Economy should not become a market driven concept that only benefits developed countries

Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development

In context of the Rio+20 outcomes under the theme of institutional framework for sustainable development, CARICOM believes that form should follow function. Rio +20 discussions and decisions on strengthening the institutional framework for sustainable development must seek to ensure:

o Greater coherence and coordination among all stakeholders and governments in the promotion of sustainable development at the national, regional and international levels. Reforming existing institutions or creating new institutions at the international level will be meaningless in the absence of enhanced national and regional coordination.

o The voice of small developing states at the international level is not be diminished. CARICOM will not support proposals related to IFSD which seek to create G20 style groupings of developed countries plus emerging economies, often excluding small states who have a vested interest in the global sustainable development agenda given their vulnerability to external environmental and economic events.

o Issues related to addressing the special case and situation of SIDS through monitoring the implementation of the BPOA and MSI must remain high on the global sustainable development agenda including through strengthening existing inter-governmental processes and enhancing UN System support to SIDS.

o At the Intergovernmental level there is a need to ensure that concrete and action oriented outcomes are generated from the regular reviews of the BPOA and MSI conducted in the Commission on Sustainable Development.

o Within the UN System the SIDS Unit in UNDESA should be significantly strengthened to enable it to fulfill its mandate as the focal point on SIDS issues within the UN System.

o All organizations and bodies of the United Nations system should formally designate focal points for SIDS.

o The Inter-agency Consultative Group on Small Island Developing States which is currently an informal coordinating mechanism of the focal points of all relevant United Nations and non-United Nations organizations should be formalized. Relevant regional organizations, e.g. the CARICOM Secretariat and the Caribbean Development Bank should be represented in this group. This group should meet on a regular basis to hold consultations, exchange information and views, undertake joint planning and promote collaborative efforts in support of SIDS. The Group should report on its activities to the Chief Executives Board (CEB), and to Member States.

o The creation of any new intergovernmental structures to address sustainable development at the international level should not weaken already existing UN organs such as the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

o The scientific basis for decision making should be strengthened across the UN system and the interface between science and policy-making should be enhanced.

o No new reporting burden should be created for SIDS given their limited capacity.

o A review should be conducted on the potential for fully establishing SIDS-TAP (an outcome of the 1994 Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States) as an input to promote SIDS-SIDS cooperation.

o Support should be provided to strengthen inter-governmental institutions in the three SIDS regions.

New and Emerging Issues

Many of the challenges and issues identified at Rio, Barbados, Johannesburg and Mauritius remain relevant today and addressing them more critical given the failure of the international community to honour commitments. This list includes climate change, disasters, oceans and coastal zone management and energy.

CARICOM also believes that Rio+20 must address the following emerging issues:

o Non Communicable Diseases (CARICOM will provided detailed proposals on this issue during the preparatory process)

o Ecosystem Services ? especially pertaining to REDD+, marine ecosystem services and emerging blue carbon frameworks

Sustainable Development Goals: On the issue of sustainable development goals, CARICOM is open to considering at Rio +20, a limited set of time-bound sustainable development goals which might be useful in translating the international community?s vision into tangible objectives. These goals could serve to focus activities and encourage timely action. CARICOM notes that the MDGs mobilized unprecedented action by a range of stakeholders and became a globally accepted benchmarks for assessing progress. It is vital that any set of SDGs reflect a true understanding of planetary boundaries and the true scale of the urgent steps the global community needs to take to ensure global sustainability. The SDGs should also address the needs of the most vulnerable. For example a SDG on climate change should ensure the survival and viability of SIDS and should be consistent with the precautionary principle. These goals could be quantitative or qualitative. These goals must also apply to all countries and not just developing countries. In addition to ensure implementation, the SDGS should also encompass the means of implementation.
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