The University of The Bahamas’ Government and Public Policy Institute (GPPI) will facilitate increased discussions this year with local policy makers, civil society and the private sector on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to clean water, affordable energy, climate action, life below water and life on land.
The Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme, implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), recently awarded GPPI a grant to engage various sectors in The Bahamas on SDG Goals 6, 7, 13, 14 and 15. Meaningful sustainable development is critical not only for The Bahamas, but for the world at large.
According to GPPI Executive Director and Senior Policy Fellow Zhivargo Laing, the institute will host a series of town hall meetings in New Providence, Grand Bahama and Exuma to educate and engage the public and raise awareness about these specific goals. The public discussions in Exuma will be facilitated in collaboration with the Exuma Foundation.
“The SDGs are critical to an enduring quality of life in our country and our nation’s commitment to their pursuit must be robust and persistent,” noted Laing. “The GPPI is delighted to have grant support to advance dialogue, rewriting our progress in this area of public policy.”
In the report entitled “The Bahamas Voluntary National Review on the Sustainable Development Goals”, dated July 2018, the synergy was acknowledged between the country’s national development plan and the Sustainable Development Goals. The Bahamas was recognized as having “fully embraced” the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, by ensuring that the SDGs aimed at ensuring inclusive and sustainable economic growth with quality job creation and decent work for all; ensuring social inclusion to facilitate access to quality education and health care; and promoting safe and resilient communities and environmental protection – all of which have been incorporated in the draft national development plan.
In 2017, UB played a pivotal role in the drafting of the country’s SDGs strategy paper and the national development plan, of which the SDGs are integral. In 2017, GPPI was established at UB with a dedicated focus to public policy discourse, as well as research and training to promote the good governance, prosperity and sustainable development of The Bahamas and the Caribbean.
In discussing the SDGs through its public meetings, the institute will seek to address several key questions including how best to adequately address these issues through national policies and planning; where are the deficiencies and how can they be corrected; where are the success stories and how can they be replicated; what new policies, programs or initiatives are needed and how best to engage the private sector. The SDGs at the center of these discussions will be:
• SDG 6 – clean water and sanitation: ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all;
• SDG 7 – affordable and clean energy: ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all;
• SDG 13 – climate action: take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts;
• SDG 14 – life below water: conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development ;
• SDG 15 – life on land: protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
In keeping with the GEF’s grant objectives, GPPI welcomes participation from the public.