Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins. (FP)

COVID-19 has impacted several developing countries and with less than a decade left to achieve the global deadline of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), now is a good time to reset, refocus and reengineer the approach to achieving the SDGs. 

Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins, shared this view during the UNCTAD15 Youth Forum Pull Up: Change di Riddim, this morning.

Speaking during the session ‘Where are we now? Equality, Prosperity, COVID-19 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, Minister Cummins pointed out what she believes is required to change, accelerate, or keep the rhythm going towards the steady march to the 2030 agenda.

She called for countries to include youth in creating and revising their policies aimed at achieving their SDGs because they are the ones who will have to live with the decisions being made today.

“We have to meet the 2030 targets, and we have to be able to plan beyond that; we have to plan for the future that you want; the future that you deserve …. And so, we must bring our young people to the table.  There has to be that level of inclusion, transformation and transition that allows for that inclusion of youth, and ultimately, that new policy framework development,” Senator Cummins emphasised. 

She also called for attention to the future distribution of policies, in terms of equality.  Minister Cummins asserted that inequity existed pre COVID-19, and with the advent of COVID-19 that inequity had increased in areas such as education and digitalisation.  

She stated: “New policies in a post COVID environment must continue to take into account innovation and technology, but it must be focused on vulnerable populations that allow for intersectionality to take place across education, gender, poverty and inclusion lines.”

Another suggestion by the Minister was that there be a correlation between short term policy interventions and future goals; that is, creating and implementing short term policy interventions that would help countries to craft the future that is needed for their people.

In addition, Senator Cummins noted that statistical analysis could assist in achieving the 2030 agenda. “So many of our agencies are currently collecting data, and they’re looking at census results, population surveys, social impact assessment, environmental impact assessment, levels of unemployment, in mitigation of all of the impacts of COVID-19, on the society as a whole. A lot of this data has been collated in silos, we need to pull this data together to ensure that the outcomes of these impact assessments benefit our youth and allow us to meet the 2030 targets.”

Also participating in the session was Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM, David Comissiong. He declared that the SDGs “was always revolutionary and ambitious, but also a very necessary and critical agenda”. 

“If we were ever to achieve that sustainable development that the world needs, it was always going to call for a very serious global partnership. In fact, I would say it was going to call for a revitalised global partnership, coming together in a spirit of global solidarity and in support of a truly universal and transformative global development agenda,” he stated.

Ambassador Comissiong stressed that in order for the necessary global partnership to take place, it would need young people to mobilise right across the globe in a very serious international mass movement.

He said the mass movement was “not going to come easily, and should be dedicated to bringing about a new world economic and political order”, in which those Sustainable Development Goals are at the core of it.

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