Foreign Affairs Minister Alva R. Baptiste told the United Nations General Assembly on Monday that youth unemployment has reached crisis proportions globally and high-debt levels has threatened the solvency, security and economic stability of small island developing states (SIDS).
He said that, in addition, climate change and the increasing ferocity of natural and man-made disasters, including the slow onset of events like sea level rises, have threatened the environmental sustainability and the very existence of nations.
“Global interdependence demands that the strong helps the weak so that everyone can get strong,” he said, adding that the setting of the post-20l5 development agenda is a “watershed moment in global history, and it is a process in which all countries must participate meaningfully.
“The rich must resist the temptation to retreat inwardly at this time, as this can shut down the global economic engine,” Baptiste said, urging that the post-2015 international development agenda be driven by “common aspirations, shared goals, and a unified vision of a secure and serene world, which we can proudly bequeath to the next and succeeding generations”.
He said St Lucia and several other developing countries have already embarked upon and completed post-2015 consultations, with the support of the United Nations Development Programme.
The foreign minister said the consultations showed that SIDS have “serious vulnerabilities, which seem to have escaped the gross domestic product eyes of some of our development partners” and that the post-2015 agenda must, therefore, address in a “very real way” the issues of concern to SIDS such as sea-level rise, non-communicable diseases, loss and damage assessment, and funding relative to natural and man-made disasters.
Baptiste said St Lucia was also concerned about the causes of climate change, particularly the over-dependence on fossil fuels, and its “decimating march on the debt profiles of our small, under-developed and vulnerable economies.
“And so, we want to arrest the adverse consequences of climate change before they cripple us, and we want to accelerate the transition to renewable energy using clean, green technology,” he said.