Barbados??? Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, has urged the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), to ???move beyond mere advocacy of the issues to concrete action which would lead to positive streams of income for small states???.
Senator McClean made this appeal recently during a meeting with UNCTAD???s Secretary General, Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting was held on the margins of the World Trade Organization???s Third Trade Policy Review of Barbados.
The Foreign Affairs Minister praised UNCTAD for its work undertaken on behalf of Small Island Development States (SIDS), and both she and Dr. Kituyi stressed the importance of recognising the vulnerabilities of SIDS.
The follow-up on the Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA Pathways) was highlighted as one of the areas in which UNCTAD and Barbados could engage. Other areas identified for possible cooperation included bio-trade, bio-technology, and climate change and the challenges in transitioning to Green Economies.
The SIDS perspectives on the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, which are scheduled to be finalised this year, were also raised. In terms of future work, Senator McClean identified innovation and investment as two major areas of significance for Barbados.
The need for greater investment in the areas of science and technology was highlighted, with the view that this investment would facilitate business opportunities in areas such as bio-technology and green exports.
The Foreign Minister also shared that the issue of maritime transport was an area being explored by Barbados and the CARICOM region, and underscored the need for investment to facilitate intra-regional transport.
Secretary General Kituyi reiterated his commitment to work with Barbados on issues under UNCTAD???s mandate. The officials pledged to work together to identify specific proposals to address the fundamental issues of vulnerability in small states and a possible programme of work for Barbados.