Bahamas News

Statement by The Minister of Environment and Housing on the 2018 Economic and Social Council Integration Summit

#Bahamas, May 08, 2018 – With focus on integrating the three pillars of sustainable development (economy, society and the environment) to enhance resilience at the national, regional and global level, the United nations economic and social council (unecosoc) held a three-day integration segment at their New York headquarters.

under the theme ‘innovative communities: leveraging technology and innovation to build sustainable and resilient societies’,  member states, the United Nations system, other International organizations, the private sector, academia and social society organizations gathered to assess (a) the status of integration and coherence of actions towards achieving the 2030 agenda for sustainable development; (b) best practices on how technology and innovation can be leveraged as tools to effectively design a resilient future and (c) policy instruments and mechanisms that support risk management and reduction across the hazard spectrum, including external shocks and natural disasters.

Taking part in the ‘national strategies for resilience’ panel discussion, The Hon. Romuald Ferreira, Minister of environment and housing, reflected on some of the key challenges faced by the Bahamas that often hamper economic and social growth within our communities.

  • The lack of coordination and integration across government departments has resulted in the formulation of strategies and policies which are often ineffective, redundant and disconnected.  By identifying shared synergies and strengthening cross-sectoral approaches within the government, the Bahamas can develop effective strategies to achieving the sustainable development goals and to improve the quality of live for all.
  • The vulnerable in our society include those that live at or below the poverty line, the elderly, children and the disabled.  Therefore, climate change impacts is more than an economic and environmental issue for The Bahamas.  Therefore, national strategies developed must include initiatives that improves community-specific resilience and increase access to critical resources and infrastructure needed to prepare for and to respond to natural disasters.

 

  • Equipping local governments is also critical to reducing the Bahamas post-disaster response time.  Oftentimes, damage to airports and power systems delay communication to the capital city, leaving communities and family islands in limbo until relief can be provided.  By ensuring local governments have access to hurricane supplies and equipment, The Bahamas can decrease response time and potentially help reduce some of the impacts caused.
  • Due to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), The Bahamas often fail to qualify for relief funds.  Adopting a vulneralbility index rather that GDP can put The Bahamas in a better position to qualify for relief and climate change related funding.

The UN Integration Segment is part of a series of upcoming events that will examine options for leveraging technology and innovation to achieve the sustainable development goals.

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