Caribbean countries make a special case for development. The high and increasing exposure to hazards, combined with very open and trade-dependent economies with limited diversification and competitiveness portray a structurally and environmentally vulnerable region, composed, in the most part, of middle income countries.
Latin America and the Caribbean countries have experienced historic economic and social transformation in recent years. This has led to a considerable reduction in poverty and inequality and to advances in closing gender, labor and education gaps. These achievements are the result of a favorable economic environment as well as proactive social inclusion policies.
The world is still celebrating the Paris Agreement on Climate Change
, the main outcome of the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
. Its ambitions are unprecedented: not only has the world committed to limit the increase of temperature to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels,” it has also agreed to pursue efforts to “limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C.”
Recent new data show a worrying picture of Latin America and the Caribbean. Income poverty reduction has stagnated and the number of poor has risen — for the first time in a decade — according to recent figures from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Having lived and worked for more than a decade in four Caribbean countries, I have witnessed firsthand how Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are extremely vulnerable to challenges ranging from debt and unemployment to climate change and sea level rise.
Women’s empowerment and political participation are not only crucial for women: they are essential for effective democratic governance, one which promotes human rights and equity. The same can be said about the importance of boosting youth political participation.