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Anande Trotman Joseph is a lawyer and gender equality advocate from Grenada who is a member of the Civil Society Advisory Group for UN Women’s Multi-Country Office for the Caribbean. A former Solicitor General, she has been involved in drafting several hallmark national reports for Grenada, including the recent Beijing+20 national review and the country’s National Strategy to End Gender-Based Violence.
Earlier this year, Ms. Trotman attended preparatory meetings in New York City for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to be held in Samoa next week. Grenada, she says, like many other Caribbean States, faces a number of vulnerabilities and challenges for its sustainable and gender-responsive development.
Why do we need to bring attention to the unique challenges that SIDS States are facing?
We need to reposition the world’s attention to the challenges of SIDS States at a global level – in an era focused on wars, genocide, humanitarian issues, quests for new sources of energy and rising costs – lest SIDS citizens, their achievements, challenges and the realization of human rights be swept under the global carpet.
What do you hope will be achieved at the SIDS Conference in Samoa?
I hope that all State and non-State actors can collectively get past posturing and semantics, to prioritize discussions and agreements that are people-centred, around rights and vulnerabilities. I hope for strategic and necessary outcomes of the conference, aimed at the survival and viability of the present and future of SIDS populations, territories and economies.
What specific gender and SIDS-related concerns and recommendations are Caribbean States making as they undertake their Bejing+20 reviews?
Caribbean States are concerned about: sustainable economies, sustainable practices of tourism sectors, impacts of external shocks, impending/continuing austerity measures budgetary and fiscal management, poverty reduction and alleviation, unequal political and private sector leadership. Traditional, prevailing and cross-cutting discrimination, unemployment, access to financing, sustained domestic violence and cyclical poverty — all of which exacerbate women’s vulnerabilities.
Recommended measures include: eradicating gender-based inequalities through national advocacy and public campaigns; strengthening national gender equality legislation; enabling women’s access to justice and leadership in all sectors of societies; strengthening poverty reduction programmes; monitoring social safety nets to ensure women’s equal access and benefits; increasing resilience around disaster mitigation and climate change; and ensuring universal access to services (such as education, health, including sexual and reproductive health) and resources (such as arable land, food and nutrition, technology and economic resources) in a manner that promotes equal access and opportunities for women and girls.
How can we achieve the theme of this conference: sustainable development of SIDS through genuine and durable partnerships?
Given that this conference comes at a time when the focus is shifting from assessing the realization of the MDGs to adopting sustainable development goals, it is opportune that participants include State and non-State actors. Therefore, the thrust can go beyond diplomacy to focusing on priorities that include a “comprehensive and transformative Post-2015 (SIDS) development agenda”, which has regard for the social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities of SIDS and the resulting challenges for sustainable, human-rights-based and gender-responsive development.
This is an historic opportunity to build and strengthen partnerships and interrelations between national, regional and global States actors, nationals in SIDS societies and major groups across the global divide. The established mechanisms and separate conference tracks will address real threats and common issues facing developing countries to enable sharing solutions and experiences.
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