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Jamaica’s PM: Clear message of hope


CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Jamaica’s PM: Clear message of hope

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UNITED NATIONS, Sept 28 – Jamaica today called for a “clear message of hope” to many millions around the world as the theme of the Post-2015 Development Agenda continues to dominate the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly (INGA) debate.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller told the international community that sadly there still too many people living in poverty and inequity.
“Let us redouble our efforts to fight against the scourge of poverty,” Simpson Miller told the 68th UNGA Debate.
The theme for the UN debate is The Post-2015 Development Agenda: Setting the Stage and Simpson Miller reminded her audience that “poverty is a hellish state to be in. It is no virtue. It is a crime”
Quoting Jamaica’s National Hero, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, she said “to be poor is to be hungry without possible hope of food; to be sick without hope of medicine; to be tired and sleepy without a place to lay one’s head; to be naked without the hope of clothing; to be despised and comfortless; to be poor is to be a fit subject for crime and hell”.
The Jamaican Prime Minister lamented that too many of the world’s citizens were facing the reality of poverty and inequity, urging the fulfilment of the 2000 Millennium Declaration, which charts a path towards development underpinned by a commitment to eradicate poverty based on a global partnership.
As the deadline for the attainment of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) draws near, she warned that the world faces many challenges, including the global economic and financial crisis, climate change, natural disasters, and high levels of debt and conflict.
“It is imperative for us to accelerate our efforts with the limited time remaining. Anything less would be a disservice to our people.”
While contemplating a post-2015 development framework, she also called for the reversal of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), malaria and tuberculosis, and increasing access to reproductive health.
In shaping a global compact, Prime Minister Simpson Miller said the UN’s deliberations must also take into account the special needs of disadvantaged groups of countries, in particular the “vulnerable group” of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), “which are grappling with climate change, sea-level rise and the need to deal with new and emerging economic and social situations.
“We are pleased that international attention will be focused on Small Island Developing States in 2014, when the international community will observe the International Year of SIDS,” she said, adding that the success of the Samoa Conference in 2014 will depend on “strong international support and mainstreaming SIDS issues in all activities across the UN system”.
The Jamaican leader said a sustainable approach to development should include disabilities in the post-2015 development agenda, and provision for the prevention and control of NCDs and additional financial resources to sustain the global fight against HIV/AIDS.
Stating that the high incidence of road crashes is another major threat to development, Simpson Miller called on all countries to “take more seriously” the challenge of reducing injuries and fatalities resulting from road crashes and traffic accidents as a “serious policy issue”.
She said there is an “urgent need for innovative and sustainable financing” to underpin developmental efforts, pointing out that reforms should be undertaken in a manner that will assist Middle Income Developing Countries, such as those in the Caribbean, to deal with the challenges they face.
She said these reforms must address public debt sustainability and review the classification system of middle income developing countries “to ensure the utilisation of more relevant and appropriate measures of development”.
In addition, Prime Minister Simpson Miller called for greater focus on job creation including for unemployed youth, pointing to statistics from the International Labour Organization, which has estimated that global unemployment will rise to 202 million this year.
“This alarming statistic is overshadowed by estimates of the global working poor, which are in the order of 869 million, almost 400 million of whom live in extreme poverty. Jobless growth is reflected in rural and urban pockets of poverty and social deprivation.”
She said increased investment in developing countries, with a focus on job creation, is “an avenue that must be actively pursued”.
Additionally, Prime Minister Simpson Miller urged more assistance for people to cope with daily life, stating that growth and prosperity are “unevenly distributed and the most vulnerable are at risk of falling through the cracks, being overlooked and failing to achieve a decent quality of life. (CMC)

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