Ms. Maria Francesca Spatolisano Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs

Closing Remarks
“Learning Conference on Implementing the 2030 Agenda in the Caribbean Region”

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have come to the end of our Learning Conference in Port of Spain. We have had very rich discussions and debates during the past two days. I am inspired by the national experiences and innovative practices on SDG implementation shared by so many countries of the Region. The issues we have discussed, such as mobilizing public institutions, policy coherence, integration of international development agendas, partnerships, monitoring and evaluation of SDG progress and capacity building for sustainable development, are really key elements for successfully achieving the SDGs by 2030.

It is clear to everyone that (business as usual) is not an option to achieve sustainable development. We need to be bold, innovative and committed to achieve the transformative goals of the 2030 Agenda. Year 2030 is just around the corner in terms of achieving the change needed – not one day should be wasted, not one person should be left behind.

The innovations, experiences and shared lessons that we had the privilege to learn from over the past two days will not just stay here. The discussions and recommendations will feed into the discussions of High-Level Political Forum in July and the High-Level Mid-Term Review of the SAMOA Pathway in September.

For my part, I would like to highlight some key messages from these two days. Knowing there are others, you will convey very well yourselves. So, 5 key messages on my side:

1. There is no one blueprint. Capacity Development is critical to achieve this goal, as this Conference proves; and DESA stands ready to help.
2. SDGs require strong institutions, transparency and inclusion. Weak government institutions impede development. There is a value of having a focal point in each ministry to ensure coordination.
3. Collection and management of data is one of the most daunting challenges that SIDS are facing. The UN system can really help to do it. Data help improve making effective policy decision and allocation of resources. Policy coherence needs operationalization at the national and local levels.
4. Engaging other stakeholders is crucial to the government’s ability to deliver on the SDGs and Samoa Pathway. It brings partnerships with the private sector and also the support of your civil society, your citizens, without which the political level is not prepared to act.
5. Finally, how to make sure that SIDS issues are not crowded out is important. The High-level SAMOA mid-term review should help to highlight the key issues for the SIDS and we should link this event to the other high-level events of the September GA week.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I personally look forward to the Voluntary National Reviews of St. Lucia and Guyana during the High-Level Political Forum in July. I strongly encourage more countries from the Caribbean to participate in the Voluntary National Reviews in the coming years. It is of extreme importance that the international community hears the challenges, successes and lessons learned on SDG implementation in the Caribbean.

I also look forward to your active participation as we gear towards the Mid-Term Review of the SAMOA Pathway taking place in September. The Review is a key opportunity for you to determine your priorities going forward and raise the global level awareness about SIDS challenging issues. Please, take full advantage of this process.

We, DESA, are here to help.

Finally, I wish to thank our host, the government of Trinidad and Tobago, and our partners UNITAR and ECLAC for the success of this Learning Conference. I am confident that we all return home with new ideas and insights, inspired to continue our joint efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda and the SAMOA Pathway.

Thank you.

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