Prime Minister Philip Davis said yesterday during the United Nations Bahamas Partnership Forum 2023 that “regrettably” some of The Bahamas’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have yet to be actioned, are “stagnant”, and there is still the need for sustainable funding and support mechanisms for small island developing states (SIDS), like this country, to fully carry out the SDGs.
“Action is what we need to drive the progress that has eluded us for far too long,” said Davis.
“As we set goals, we must move beyond ‘good ideas’ and keep sight of the practical reality and challenges, so that ultimately we can ensure the sustainable impact of those goals.
“This administration fully embraces the sentiment of today’s theme, acknowledging the need to turn promises and commitments into action, which we have begun doing since our first days in office.”
Davis said the country is now at the halfway mark of meeting the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
He said across the world there has been a concerted effort to design and implement policies and legislation around the five pillars of people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnerships.
“As a small island developing state, The Bahamas has taken action in this regard, with limited resources compared to many of our global counterparts, and we have made progress on the SDGs,” he said.
“We still have a long way to go to fully realize all 17 goals, and admittedly, the same can be said for many countries throughout the globe.”
He said external shocks like hurricanes and the COVID-19 pandemic have held the country back financially, leading to greater calls for global accountability in the fight against climate change.
“A large percentage of our national debt can be attributed directly to the impact of storms over the past decade,” said Davis.
“Global intervention is needed to break the cycle of ruin and repair faced by many countries.
“I will continue to advocate on the global stage for real action to be taken on climate change. It is a barrier to progress that threatens to destabilize countless millions of people.”
According to Davis, his government has introduced the school breakfast program; launched the Golden Yolk program; and increased the national minimum wage by 25 percent, along with reducing customs duties on essential food items, and reducing value-added tax (VAT), in line with some of the SDGs.
“Each of these are real actions, policies that have already been implemented and are seeing results,” said Davis.
“Even as the external pressures of inflation have dampened their impact, these initiatives have improved and will continue to improve the lives of Bahamians.”
He added: “It will not be sufficient to continue to refer to the crises of yesterday as the reasons why we cannot achieve the SDGs in The Bahamas.
“We must innovate our way toward progress. And that innovation does not come solely – or even primarily – from the government. The people are the true engine of change in this country, and it is through our brightest and most innovative minds that we will transform this nation, by developing context-specific policy solutions that pave the pathway toward significant progress on the SDGs.”