Chief Secretary: Private, public sector must collaborate on development

Embracing sustainable development will enhance the quality of life for Tobagonians.

That’s the view of Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles, who said the United Nation’s MAPS (Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support) Missions, and its Sustainable Development Goals Agenda will support Trinidad and Tobago’s efforts at development.

The Chief Secretary was speaking at this morning’s (April 24) UN MAPS Mission meeting at the Mt. Irvine Bay Resort, which included several groups, including the private sector, civil society and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

The event is part of a series of bi-lateral meetings and stakeholder consultations, which began in Trinidad on April 18, and ends tomorrow.

Charles said the UN Sustainable Development Goals will provide a pathway to allow developing countries to tackle issues such as poverty and climate change.

“…While (sustainable development goals) are not legally binding,” he said, “it is desirable and instructive for leaders who are seeking to improve the quality of life for their citizens, particularly in developing states such as ours, to accede to and be a part of this significant project.”

Charles said achieving the country’s development goals requires commitment and collaboration between the public and private sector, and with the support of organisations like the United Nations.

He said in Tobago, priority is being placed on both economic and social development.

“We recognise that both are closely interlinked,” Charles stated. “Providing adequate housing and infrastructure, reducing poverty, promoting healthy living and wise nutritional choices are ways of accelerating development within the social sector.”

The Chief Secretary said Tobago’s Comprehensive Economic Development Programme “aligns” with the sustainable development goals of the U.N., which he believes will help Tobago take “decisive action” and strengthen development policies, programmes and initiatives.

This includes tourism, which is a key industry to Tobago. In fact, Charles said the Tobago House of Assembly is currently revisiting and revising its tourism development plan “to improve our competitiveness, create more foreign direct investment opportunities, enhance our product and encourage increased community based tourism activities”.

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