Bahamas PM Remarks at UN Debate on Achieving Sustainable Development Goals

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NEW YORK – Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie addresses the United Nations High Level Thematic Debate on Achieving The Sustainable Development Goals, April 21, 2016. (UN Official Photo)
NEW YORK – Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie addresses the United Nations High Level Thematic Debate on Achieving The Sustainable Development Goals, April 21, 2016. (UN Official Photo)

NEW YORK (April 21, 2016) – Statement by the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie, MP, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, High Level Thematic Debate on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals United Nations:

The Bahamas welcomes the opportunity to speak at this most timely event of the President of the General Assembly on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Indeed, we can be proud of what we accomplished last year in our efforts to eradicate poverty, adopting the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other key agreements. But now is the time to get to work.

Here at the UN and at home, we have begun to ask ourselves: how do we implement the SDGs? And the answer is not an easy one.

Chair,

In The Bahamas, we began the current national development planning process in 2012, with a view to setting a pathway towards a long term vision for the country. As recent as last week, I gave an address on the State of the Nation to the people of The Bahamas, to officially launch the National Development Plan: A Vision for 2040.

Like the 2030 Agenda, the National Development Plan of The Bahamas seeks to address the key dimensions of sustainable development – the economy, social policy, governance and the environment – in an integrated policy framework.

We too have engaged in a widespread consultation process with the Bahamian people, in order to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard.

Now we are setting out the details for the action plan on the way forward, and we are, in every way possible, seeking to align our plan with the implementation of the SDGs.

Chair,

For The Bahamas, this represents an ambitious departure from business as usual, in the direction of comprehensive medium- and longer-term planning, and innovative policy making and policy making structures.

For example, our education policies will now take into consideration important variables, such as crime rates and the realities of the country’s transportation system. We are also working toward the development of a capital planning process for infrastructure that would enable decision-makers to prioritise and, where necessary, integrate investments across ministries and sectors.

We will pursue these and other goals, all while making the necessary linkages to the SDGs, targets and indicators.

Chair,

Again, this is no easy task. The Bahamas is a small island developing State, with the added challenge of being an archipelago. We are also judged, more often than not, by only our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, when it comes to access to concessional financing.

Indeed, we will need the support of the international community to achieve our Goals. We will need a global environment that enables sustainable development, facilitating the necessary means of implementation to Small Island Developing States, like The Bahamas, particularly in the areas of finance, technology and capacity-building.

In this connection, The Bahamas will participate constructively in the follow-up and review processes of the 2030 Agenda. With this, we hope to strengthen international cooperation, share best practices and lessons learned, and better position the UN system toward achieving the SDGs, in respect of all countries.

I want to affirm my country’s commitment to the development of women and girls. In this connection, we are mobilizing resources as we speak to ensure that our Constitution reflects this gender equality. On 7 June, we are asking our people to vote “yes”, approving four bills to give women equality in law

I wish also once again to speak up for the engagement of young people, the future of our Bahamas, the future of our region and the world. Without their engagement and buy in, without taking care of their needs, including but not limited to education and training, nutrition and health care, we act in vain. I pledge my country’s support to these efforts.

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I thank you.