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ECLAC Will Hold its 38th Session on October 26-28

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This UN regional commission’s most important biennial meeting will be carried out virtually for the first time in history.

#ECLAC, October 22, 2020 — The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) will hold on October 26-28 its thirty-eighth session, the United Nations regional commission’s most important biennial meeting. There, ECLAC will give an account of its activities in the 2018-2020 biennium and participants will address the priorities of the sustainable development agenda in the region in a scenario characterized by the crisis prompted by the pandemic. In addition, policies and proposals for a transformative recovery with growth, equality and sustainability will be presented.

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The event, which will be held virtually for the first time in its history, will bring together representatives of ECLAC’s 46 member countries and 14 associate members. It will be inaugurated on Monday, October 26 at 8 a.m. local time in Costa Rica (GMT -6) by Carlos Alvarado, President of Costa Rica, the country currently holding ECLAC’s presidency pro tempore; Miguel Díaz-Canel, President of the Republic of Cuba; António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations; Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary; Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); and Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Commission will present the region’s countries with a proposal for recovery and development oriented towards an inclusive welfare State, a technical shift and a productive transformation associated with environmental sustainability, which would strengthen equality and democracy as the most valuable legacy of modernity. This proposal is contained in the position document entitled Building a new future: A transformative recovery with equality and sustainability, which will be unveiled by the Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena, on Tuesday, October 27.

In addition, ECLAC will present its activities report on the work carried out in the last two years, including by its subsidiary bodies, and participants will define the mandates that will guide its work over the next biennium (2020-2021). In conjunction with this, a dialogue on the post-COVID-19 economic emergency will take place between foreign ministers and other senior authorities from Latin America and the Caribbean.

The session will also bring together researchers and members of civil society, along with academics and officials from nearly 30 intergovernmental, specialized and United Nations System entities.

ECLAC’s thirty-eighth session will be transmitted online via distinct platforms: the site https://live.cepal.org/ and the United Nations regional commission’s accounts on Twitter (https://twitter.com/cepal_onu) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/cepal.onu).

The full programme of the meeting, along with general information, is available on the session’s special website: https://periododesesiones.cepal.org/38/en

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Bahamas News

PM Davis speaks of ‘boundless possibilities’ and collaboration, at the Afreximbank 31st Annual Meetings

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NASSAU, The Bahamas – While addressing the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) 31st Annual Meetings (AAM2024), on June 13, 2024, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis noted that he was reminded of the “boundless possibilities that define the Caribbean and, indeed, The Bahamas.”

“Our region is not just a collection of islands but a vibrant tapestry of culture, innovation, and opportunity,” Prime Minister Davis said, at the event held at the Baha Mar Convention Centre.  “The Bahamas, with its strategic location and dynamic economy, serves as a symbol of possibility and a gateway to broader economic horizons.”

He added:  “Growing up on Cat Island, one of our country’s beautiful family of islands, I was always filled with big dreams for my country. I may not have envisioned the specific paths our economy would take, but I always believed in the limitless potential of our nation.  Our history is one of invention, disruption, resilience, and innovation. We have pioneered in various fields, from tourism to financial services, transforming challenges into opportunities and showcasing our ability to innovate and lead.”

Prime Minister Davis pointed out that, just as The Bahamas had embraced its unique position to become a global leader in tourism and financial services, so too can they, as a collective of African and Caribbean nations, harness “our potential to shape our own economic destiny.”

“Today, our presence here underscores the readiness of The Bahamas, and indeed the Caribbean, to be a home for global leaders in various sectors,” he noted.  “The Bahamas has always been more than just a tropical paradise. It is a place of possibility, where dreams are not just dreamt but realized. This ethos is reflected in our history and in the transformative innovations we continue to champion.”

“In a similar vein, Africa is a land of immense potential, brimming with opportunities for growth and development,” Prime Minister Davis noted.  “Our collective mission is to harness this potential, creating pathways to prosperity that benefit not just our regions but the global community.”

Prime Minister Davis went further to outline “a blueprint for collaboration that we all can embrace.”

“This blueprint encompasses key initiatives designed to unite our banking systems, enhance financial inclusivity, and catalyze economic growth across Africa and the Caribbean,” he said.  “This strategic plan is anchored in our shared desire for prosperity and our commitment to overcoming the challenges of distance and disparate regulatory environments.”

Prime Minister Davis added:  “Establishing a Joint Financial Task Force can be the cornerstone of our blueprint. This collaborative body will harness the expertise of banking and finance leaders, policymakers, and stakeholders from both regions. Tasked with identifying and dismantling barriers to banking integration, this task force symbolizes our collective will to forge a unified path forward.”

Prime Minister Davis suggested that they could also harmonize their regulatory frameworks to address “critical hurdles” in their journey.

“By aligning our anti-money laundering (AML) standards, counter-financing of terrorism (CFT) policies, and digital currency regulations, we create a seamless environment conducive to cross-regional banking operations,” he stated.  “With its robust regulatory landscape, exemplified by the DARE Act, The Bahamas is a pioneer in this endeavor, guiding our efforts towards regulatory excellence and stability.”

He added:  “Additionally, promoting financial inclusion and digital banking leverages the power of technology to erase boundaries and open doors. Inspired by The Bahamas’ pioneering launch of the Sand Dollar, the world’s first central bank digital currency, this facet of the blueprint envisions a future where digital banking platforms extend financial services to every corner of our regions, ensuring that none of our citizens is left behind.”

Prime Minister Davis said that facilitating trade and investment through streamlined banking procedures and dedicated financial instruments could bolster economic exchanges between Africa and the Caribbean. By focusing on sectors of mutual interest like tourism, agriculture, renewable energy, and technology, he added, they could unlock new avenues for growth and collaboration.

“Key to this blueprint is developing human capital, underscoring the belief that our greatest asset is our people,” Prime Minister Davis said.  “Joint educational initiatives and training programs will equip banking professionals with cutting-edge skills in fintech, cybersecurity, and regulatory compliance, ensuring our financial sector is robust, secure, and innovative.”

“Creating a bilateral payment system or exploring the development of a shared digital currency represents a bold step towards financial sovereignty and integration,” he added.  “Such an initiative will facilitate smoother trade and investment, reduce our reliance on external currencies, and strengthen our economic bonds.

“Together, Africa and the Caribbean can embark on this transformative journey, driven by unity, innovation, and mutual respect. Let this blueprint be our guide as we strive to unlock the full potential of our regions, forging a path towards prosperity that will be remembered for generations yet to come.”

Prime Minister Davis noted that the Afreximbank annual meeting represented “a pivotal moment for all of us, especially for Small Island Developing States (SIDS).”

He said: “We face a global financial system that often locks us out, creating inequities perpetuated by the Global North. These powerful nations frequently establish one set of rules for themselves and another for developing states, undermining our progress and prosperity.  It is imperative that we call out this behavior and demand an inclusive, fair model for the global financial system.”

Prime Minister Davis continued:  “Our journey together – Africa and the Caribbean – supported by the visions we share and the actions we are committed to, heralds the dawn of a new era.  An era where financial inclusivity fostered by innovations like the Sand Dollar and robust regulatory frameworks become the standard across our waters.  An era where our joint task forces and harmonized policies pave the way for a future where trade, investment, and mutual growth flow as freely as the waters that connect us.”

He said that, as they all looked to the horizon, they should see not a barrier but a vast, uncharted ocean of potential.

“Let us decide, here and now, that the waters which separate our lands will not impede our progress but will act as the very medium through which we unite our dreams and ambitions,” Prime Minister Davis said.

He added:  “Friends, I ask the question again – will we allow the separation of water to get in our way? Or will we embark together on this bold journey, proving that our spirits are stronger than the oceans, our resolve deeper than the deepest sea, and our potential boundless as the sky above?  The choice is ours. Let us choose to bridge the waters, to unite our dreams, and to craft a future where Africa and the Caribbean thrive together, in prosperity and partnership. This is our moment. Let us seize it with both hands, for the sake of our present and for the countless generations to come.”

“Lastly, I hope that this annual meeting in the Bahamas is successful – and I have no doubt that it will be – and that you have time to kick off your shoes, get your feet wet in our sands, get some sand in your toes, enjoy the warmth of our people, and discover why it is better in The Bahamas,” Prime Minister Davis said.

“The moment is now.  Let us seize the moment.”

PHOTO CAPTION

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis addresses the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) 31st Annual Meetings (AAM2024), on June 13, 2024, held at Baha Mar Convention Centre.

 

(BIS Photos/Eric Rose)

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Health

Food Safety: Prepare for the Unexpected

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World Food Safety Day 2024

 

Foodborne diseases (FBDs) remain a public health concern in the Caribbean and across the world, with one in 10 people worldwide falling ill from contaminated food each year[1]. Increasing numbers of FBD cases and outbreaks have been reported across CARPHA Members States (CMS), especially in the tourism and cruise ship industry.  FBDs can cause morbidity, mortality, and economic burden of countries; it can also pose significant economic, social, and reputational impact on trade and tourism.

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) joins the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) to commemorate World Food Safety Day on June 7th.  The theme for 2024 “Food safety: prepare for the unexpected” reiterates that food safety is a collective responsibility, and everyone needs to play their part.  

 At all levels, we must be prepared to intervene if food safety is compromised, such as:

  • Governments can update national food safety emergency response plans, strengthen national food control systems, increase surveillance and coordination capacities, and improve communication.
  • Food businesses can improve food safety management plans, collaborate, and share lessons learnt and improve communication with consumers.
  • Consumers can ensure they know how to report or respond to a food safety incident.

Dr. Lisa Indar, Director, Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control Division at CARPHA stated that “Food safety is crucial for supporting economic productivity in the tourism dependent, vastly culinary diverse Caribbean region.   CARPHA is contributing to regional food security through improving food borne diseases surveillance and food safety in its 26 Member States.”

In a 2021 WHO study, the incidence of FBD was 1 in 11 during the mass gathering events, such as cricket matches, carnival, food festivals, etc.[2] With this in mind and as the Caribbean is hosting the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup (May/June 2024), CARPHA continues to be proactive and lead the regional public health response.  The Agency has collaborated with both health and tourism stakeholders of the six Caribbean Cricket World Cup (CWC) host nations (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago) to strengthen surveillance, early warning and response, laboratory, health, prevention and control and food safety capacity in preparation for CWC and other mass gathering events.

During this preparatory phase from February to May 2024, almost 900 food vendors likely to be selling food at the cricket stadiums/and its environs, were trained in Food Safety for Food Handlers for Mass Gathering Events. Additionally, a Mass Gathering Surveillance System was developed and implemented to capture the six internationally recognised potential syndromes, which includes gastroenteritis.

To adequately address FBD and food safety in the Caribbean, CARPHA is implementing an integrated foodborne diseases program, integrating the epidemiological, laboratory, environmental and veterinary aspects of FBD surveillance and response, into a coordinated programmatic approach, regionally and nationally. Its components of surveillance, training, capacity building, outbreak investigation, research, preparation and control, are addressing FBD in a wholistic manner to promote food safety in the Region. CARPHA has also trained and certified over 500 persons in nine of its Member States in advanced food safety and has developed a suite of hospitality, health, food safety and environmental standards, to provide a basis for the development of an effective food safety program for the hospitality industry.

CARPHA remains committed to working with partners and Member States to strengthen regional food safety through multi-sectoral collaboration, capacity building activities, exchange of information and communication.

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Health

Ministry of Health and Human Services recognises International Men’s Health Week 2024, coincides with Blood Donor Day

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#TurksandCaicos, June 8, 2024 – As International Men’s Health Week (IMHW) 2024 approaches, communities and organisations around the world are preparing to raise awareness about the unique health challenges men face and promote proactive approaches to maintaining and improving men’s health. This annual event, taking place from 10 June to 16 June, aims to encourage men and boys to prioritise their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

The theme for IMHW 2024 is “Stronger Together”, emphasising the importance of community, support networks, and collective action in enhancing men’s health outcomes. By fostering connections and encouraging open conversations about health issues, we can create a supportive environment where men feel empowered to seek help and make healthier choices.

Key Areas of Focus Include:

  1. Mental Health:Addressing the stigma around mental health and encouraging men to seek support for issues such as depression, anxiety, and stress.
  2. 2. Physical Health:Promoting regular exercise, a balanced diet, and routine medical check-ups to prevent and manage conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
  3. Preventive Care:Highlighting the importance of early detection and prevention strategies, including screenings and vaccinations.
  4. Healthy Relationships:Encouraging men to build and maintain healthy relationships is crucial for emotional and psychological well-being.
  5. Work-Life Balance:Advocating for policies and practices that support work-life balance and reduce stress and burnout.

Events and Activities:

Throughout the month, the Ministry of Health and Human will be hosting a series of activities.

  1. June 14: Smart Parking lot, Providenciales- ‘Check your Numbers, know your Status’– this campaign encourages individuals to routinely check key health metrics such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels to monitor their risk for chronic conditions.  The campaign aims to empower individuals to take proactive steps toward early detection and prevention of serious health issues.
  2. June 15: Governor’s Beach Grand Turk- ‘Men in the Galley’ – an engaging event where men showcase their culinary skills by preparing healthy and creative dishes. Aimed at promoting better nutritional habits, the competition highlights the importance of cooking at home and the role of diet in maintaining overall well-being. This activity includes physical fitness challenges and health status checks.
  3. June 17: Health Matters Radio Program– RTC Monday 10 am: Colon Cancer in Men.
  4. June 24: Health Matters Radio Program– RTC Monday 10 am: Kidney Disease in Men.

The Minister of Health and Human Services, Honorable Shaun D. Malcolm, commented, “International Men’s Health Week is a crucial time for us to come together and address the specific health needs of men. By working together, we can create a healthier future for men and boys everywhere. Men’s health is not just a personal issue; it’s a community issue. When men are healthy, families and communities thrive. Encourage the men in your life to prioritise their health and seek help when needed.”

For additional information please visit the Ministry of Health and Human Services Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/tciministryofhealth/.

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