CDCC. Session 26; Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis: 22 April 2016
Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, set forth in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as part of the global commitment to development, will pose a challenge to the countries of the Caribbean subregion as they continue to face a number of vulnerabilities. Their small, open, undiversified economies, hit by recession in major export markets, are striving to return to sustained economic growth following the global economic crisis. Low or declining growth, depressed domestic and international demand, and a lack of robust investment in tourism and related service industries have resulted in high levels of unemployment, particularly among women and young people.
Countries of the subregion also face mounting public debt and other severe fiscal challenges, with average debt-to-GDP ratios in the unsustainable range. For a few countries, these ratios exceed 100% of GDP, posing serious challenges to financial system stability and limiting their access to international finance. Such substantial debt burdens contribute to persistently high domestic interest rates, which constrain investment. The high public debt and the attendant focus on fiscal consolidation have limited the capacity of Caribbean governments to maintain a full range of social services. This has raised concerns about erosion of the social fabric, and the ability to meet the growing needs of vulnerable groups.
The Caribbean remains the subregion with the second highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the world, and the rise in lifestyle and non-communicable diseases has increasingly become an urgent health and development issue. In addition, the reduction of significant levels of poverty and inequality remains a major challenge for Caribbean countries.
UN Symbol: LC/L.4148(CDCC.26/3)