Caribbean still faces hurdles to U.N. MDGs

Despite significant progress by some Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries in meeting the much-touted U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), several of the region’s leaders last week warned that the world is still in grave danger of failing to meet their targets.

At the just-concluded 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, CARICOM leaders spoke enthusiastically about the efforts that have been made in the various countries towards achievement of the U.N. goals. But they were equally vociferous in blaming the developed world for significantly stymieing efforts to accomplish their objectives by the 2015 deadline.

Jamaica’s Prime Minister Bruce Golding was among many who minced no words in condemning what he described as unfairness and paucity in aid distribution, and the discriminatory global trading regime, among other things.

In the race to 2015, he said many developing countries were lagging behind even before the global economic crisis begun.

“Inadequate investment in human resource development has left us with weak productive capacity,” he said.

“This, together with an international trading system that treats us as equals when we are not equal, has rendered us more consumers than producers, more importers than exporters, sustaining jobs elsewhere rather than creating jobs for our own people,” he added.

“Our mounting indebtedness pre-empts the limited resources we have,” the Jamaica prime minister continued.

He said not only is access to financing limited but the cost of borrowing is expensive because “we are perceived by our circumstances to be risky borrowers.”

“The Millennium goals must, therefore, be seen as a development imperative, not merely as statistical targets,” said Golding, urging that “much more detailed attention” be paid to the adverse impact of the global crisis on the “struggling efforts” of developing countries to meet the Millennium targets.

While stating that there is “overwhelming” evidence that progress in achieving the MDG’s is “fragmented,” Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer called for “dramatic” action in meeting the targets.

“If there is one fact that we can all agree on, it is that something dramatic needs to be done, and done urgently, if the globally-agreed MDGs are to be met,” he said.

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