Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is now in a better position to articulate the views of civil society in Barbados when he makes his input at the upcoming Third Global UN Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Mr. Stuart was presented with a copy of the report on the National Civil Society Organisations??? Consultation on SIDS and the Post 2015 Development Agenda Processes on Monday evening at Government Headquarters.

Approximately 44 persons from 22 organisations participated in the recent civil society consultation, which was facilitated by the Barbados Chapter of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN), and co-hosted by the Global Environment Facility???s (GEF) Small Grants Programme of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The primary objective of the meeting was to ensure the development of a strong and coherent civil society position on the sustainable development priorities for Barbados.??The Prime Minister said he was pleased to receive the report, saying: ???I want to thank all of you for the hard work you have put in, the conscientiousness you have shown, and the sense of purpose and mission which you young people are demonstrating???

???You have my assurance that I will study the document and I will reflect your concerns in the many spheres in which I am being called upon to operate while I am in Samoa over the next few days. I want to assure you that the civil society???s perspective, and the perspective of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network will receive my strongest possible advocacy.???

Mr. Stuart stressed that sustainable development was an important issue for all SIDS and said that is why Government had positioned itself to create a Barbados that is socially balanced, economically viable, environmentally sound, and characterised by good governance. ???That is sustainable development,??? he maintained.

He noted that small island developing states were exposed to many vulnerabilities and had to deal with many challenges which they did not create, on a daily basis.

Special Envoy to CYEN on SIDS, Stefan Knights, applauded Government for taking meaningful steps to assist civil society in creating a platform through which citizens could share their views on issues that would impact their lives.

???Indubitably, if we have Government, civil society and the private sector all working together, Barbados will secure a brighter future for present and future generations. Equally important, enhanced participation and effective engagement of civil society and other relevant stakeholders will promote transparency and broad public participation and partnerships to implement sustainable development,??? Mr. Knights stated.

National Coordinator of the GEF Small Grants Programme-UNDP, David Bynoe, commended Government for practising an inclusive form of governance, saying sustainable development could only be achieved if civil society is fully embraced.

Mr. Bynoe explained that the Small Grants Programme was trying to build the capacity of civil society organisations, encouraging them to engage at the national, regional and international levels. He said his organisation provided CYEN with a grant to host the consultation, which was flawlessly executed.

He told the Prime Minister: ???It is a comprehensive document, reflective of the position of the civil society organisations in Barbados. Therefore, when you go to Samoa, as the leader of the delegation, you will be speaking, not only in a position of authority from Government???s perspective, but representing your people from civil society organisations.???

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