Message from ECLAC Director

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is pleased to partner with the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) at The University of the West Indies in organizing the SALISES 22nd Annual Conference taking place virtually during 28-30 September 2021.

The theme of this year’s conference, “Re-imagining Development for Small Island Developing States (SIDS):  Post-Pandemic Transformations,” epitomizes the current strategic objective of ECLAC Caribbean in its effort to support the countries of the subregion in building more resilient economies and societies post-COVID-19. It is therefore with pleasure that we contribute to the rich dialogue that this conference promises to stimulate, and to the visioning of policy options that will inevitably arise from this engagement.  

COVID-19 stalled the global momentum advancing sustainable development through the 2030 Agenda. Although the pandemic has forced us all to rethink the essential elements and the trajectory of our development strategy, our resolve to secure a sustainable future for the people of the Caribbean has not wavered.

Indeed, ECLAC Caribbean had launched a special programme of assistance for Member States in January 2018, with focus on “Strengthening institutional frameworks in the Caribbean for an integrative approach to implement the 2030 Agenda and the SIDS Sustainable Development Agenda”.  Our principal objective then was to assist Caribbean countries’ efforts to integrate implementation of both the 2030 Agenda and the SIDS sustainable development agenda into their national development planning, with a view to ensuring greater congruence of global development goals with national development priorities. When confronted with the unique challenges presented by COVID-19, we adapted this programme to respond to the emerging, urgent needs of the beneficiary countries.  This timely, highly impactful project is scheduled to close at the end of December this year.  We at ECLAC consider that this SALISES conference offers an excellent platform to share with the subregion’s community of decisionmakers and development partners the important accomplishments of this project.

Among the countries that benefitted from this programme of assistance were Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.  Our support included institutional strengthening for improved development planning; strategies for enhanced implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals; national statistical capacity building; and COVID-19 policy response. The success of our interventions in these and other areas will be presented at this conference for peer learning among the Caribbean countries we serve and for feedback among development practitioners.

It is therefore my hope that ECLAC’s participation in this year’s conference will allow us to demonstrate how the Regional Commission, through its Caribbean First strategy, continues to meaningfully support achievement of the sustainable development aspirations of the subregion and the building of a future Caribbean that safeguards the welfare of all our peoples.

Diane Quarless
ECLAC Subregional Headquarters for the Caribbean