CARICOM Heads renew commitment to tackle NCDs

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Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have given a renewed commitment to tackling non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in their countries. The matter was raised by  Prime Minister Mitchell during the closing press conference of the  38th CARICOM Summit, in Grand Anse, Grenada. In speaking to the issue, Prime Minister Mitchell  highlighted that it had been 10 years since the historic Port-of-Spain Declaration on NCDs.

The Grenadian Prime Minister said the Heads were aware that the Region had  fallen behind in the battle against these deadly diseases and also in fulfilling the goals of the declaration.  He said one of the most alarming signs was the high incidents of childhood obesity, a major risk factor for NCDs

“We simply cannot afford to continue the lifestyle and food consumption patterns which are literally killing us”, he said.


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Grenada assumes CARICOM Chairmanship

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Dr. the Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada, the Chairmanship of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on 1 July, 2017. See the Grenada National Report broadcast below that highlights the areas Grenada will focus on during its six-months as Chair.

What’s the picture a decade after signing Declaration on NCDs?

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Diet and nutrition are key to preventing NCDs
Diet and nutrition are key to preventing NCDs

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the signing of the landmark CARICOM Heads of Government Port-of-Spain Declaration on non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The Thirty-Eighth CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting in St. George’s, Grenada, July 4-6, is expected to celebrate this momentous achievement. In 2007, the Caribbean led the world in convening the very first conference of Heads of Government on NCDs which in turn paved the way for the United Nations High-level Meeting on NCDs in 2011.

A ten-year anniversary is a good time to take stock, to look at how far we have come and how far we need to go. In terms of progress made in the NCD response, the picture appears to be a decidedly mixed one. Awareness of NCDs and their devastating effect on the health and development of the region has grown enormously. The dangers of childhood obesity are much better known. Barbados and Dominica have introduced taxes on sugary drinks and more countries are set to follow.

According to Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) Dr. James Hospedales, “while several governments have made policy and financial provision for free medications, oftentimes people don’t take their medicines consistently and therefore don’t get the benefit.”

Regarding some of the other challenges Dr. Hospedales said “there are gains in some areas however some, like diet/nutrition/obesity just keep getting worse, and that drives diabetes, cancer, heart disease.’

CARICOM Heads of Government at the Port-of-Spain Summit
CARICOM Heads of Government at the Port-of-Spain Summit

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Put your money where your mouth is! – Barbados Culture Minister

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Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth of Barbados, the Hon. Stephen Lashley, is of the view that regional Governments needed to redirect some of their resources to the cultural industries if they were truly interested in regional economic expansion and development.

He said funding that was going to some traditional sectors that may not necessarily be bringing in the returns that were needed could be diverted to the cultural industries. The Minister was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Twenty-Fifth meeting of the Regional Cultural Committee at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana, 21-23 June, 2017.

In his remarks, Minister Lashley pointed out that when the CARICOM Heads of Government met at the Twenty-Sixth Inter-Sessional Meeting in The Bahamas in February, 2015, they recognised that cultural and creative industries represented a sector with great potential to contribute to the economic development of the Region. According to the Minister, the Heads reaffirmed the significance of the cultural and creative industries to CARICOM integration, to the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), for cultural identity, diversity and youth engagement. He said they also agreed to place greater emphasis on a development pathway based on knowledge and the creative economy and by leveraging the human, cultural and national assets of the Community, for development in all its dimensions. (more…)

Ministers green-light Single ICT Space Integrated Work Plan

Special COTED ICT 19 May 2017 from Caribbean Community on Vimeo.

“The work on the Single ICT space forces us to collaborate like never before as Ministers, policy-makers, officials and civil society, if we are going to succeed and advance as a Region.” Chair of COTED ICT, the Hon. Ferdinand Welzijn
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ministers with responsibility for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) on Friday, 19 May, 2017, approved the Integrated Work Plan for the Community’s Single ICT Space.

The approval came during discussions at the Sixty-Eighth Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on ICT. The Virtual Meeting was anchored at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana.

The Single ICT Space is conceptualised as the digital layer of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), the Region’s flagship programme. It encompasses the management of Regional information, human resources, legislation and infrastructure in the sector to elicit maximum benefit for the Region’s populace.

The Single ICT space and the Region’s Digital Agenda 2025 are premised on the Regional Digital Development Strategy (RDDS) which was approved in 2013, and will also have inputs from key regional Commissions and the Post-2015 Agenda.

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