Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley is calling for further regional cooperation to deal with the effects of climate change as the region’s premier financial institution, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) says it is committed to helping eradicate poverty and other social ills in the region.
Addressing the CDB’s 50th Thanksgiving Service, Mottley, who is also the chairman of the 15-member regional integration movement, said that while the bank has made an indelible mark on the region, it needs now more than ever to be strategic in its work.
Mottley acknowledged also that the CDB had made great progress in the areas of education, health care, water and physical infrastructure, but added that the time had come for it to be strategic in its goals
“ I want to suggest that at this time when the climate crisis is doing its upmost best to create not citizens but refugees of Caribbean people that we have an obligation to do a few things now and well”.
“One, to help us as a Caribbean Community with labour and with the private sector to simply remain focus and stay the course until we can achieve larger elements of some progress towards food security. It is not beyond the capacity of out Caribbean people”.
She said that second initiative should be the need to deal equally “with the security of access to affordable water.
“Climate crisis is playing havoc with our ground water,” she said, adding that region also urgently needs to in its single domestic space a commitment to a minimum floor of social rights and for the regional population to benefit from renewable energy.
“I am comfortable and confident that within the walls of the Caribbean Development Bank, the Caribbean Community and our other regional institutions and our governments we have the capacity to come up with the financial instruments that can result in our populations, our people benefitting in real ways from the profits to be determined as a result of the exploitation of the sun, the water, the wind that can be used to power our nations as we fight the battles against the climate crisis,’ she said.
She said she was asking for this, because “we kill two birds with one stone. We meet the needs of our society playing its part to ensure that there is no increase in greenhouse gases, but we meet the expectations of those who fought for independence, those who gave us independence, those who built after independence to be able to allow us to make people who never thought that they would know what it is to be true and full citizens in their nation to so achieve rather than to be tenants in their land>
CDB President Dr. Warren Smith told the service that while the journey is not yet over, the CDB is committed to the sustainable goals of the region.
“Our Caribbean region continues to face immense pressures in realising our legitimate development aspirations. An uncomfortable truth is that approximately one in five persons in our region still live in poverty”.
He said even as the bank celebrates its 50th anniversary and is making plans to continue the celebrations of its achievements over the years “ we have not lost sight of the need to chart the path forward”.
He said last year, the board of directors approved the bank’s strategic plans for the period 2020-24 and that it “defines a new business model for CDB and provides a sound platform to keep our institution the center of the region’s social and economic transformation.
“I can assure you that we will be seeking to better support our region’s push to reduce poverty in a fair, inclusive and sustainable manner as we also close in one of the ambitions set out in the Agenda (Sustainable Development Goals) 2030 and its associated sustainable development goals,” he said.