PM Phillips calls for collective action to achieve SDGs

The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance in collaboration with the Ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Tuesday hosted a multistakeholder consultation on the presentation of Guyana’s second voluntary national review of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF).

The event is being hosted at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Liliendaal.

The voluntary national review (VNR) is the inaugural report of Guyana’s progress in effecting the Sustainable Development Agenda.

Delivering remarks on the national development trajectory in this regard, Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, highlighted that the SDGs are important in providing a roadmap for the creation of a resilient future.

However, the prime minister stressed that collaborative action, one that sees the participation of government, private sector, and civil society, is necessary in tackling these ambitious goals.

“Achieving the goals will require collaboration and the participation of all sectors of society. By working together, we can leverage our collective resources to make progress towards the SDGs,” he said.

Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips

The prime minister added that a key feature of the PPP/C Administration remains continuous engagements with stakeholders, and this dedication has played a key role in the progress the country has made so far.  

“Our government values the input and participation of our people in good governance. We have actively been engaging in communities countrywide to listen to concerns and receive valuable insight from the people. We believe that this is key to fostering inclusivity and reducing inequalities in our nation,” the PM said.

Government, he pointed out, has already made notable progress in areas such as improving disaster preparedness and response mechanism, the liberalisation of the telecommunications sector, and the expansion of connectivity in the hinterland and remote communities.

The prime minister noted that the country has made significant strides in establishing the institutional framework for resilience in cities and communities, through its National Disaster and Risk Management plan.  

“We have developed regional development and risk management systems for all of our ten administrative regions. We are also making progress to ensure that the legal framework is developed to create an enabling environment for disaster risk reduction to be effective.”

A section of the gathering at the forum

Further, in relation to energy security, the senior government official reminded that the country is making progress in the transition to renewable energy, especially in remote areas. 

“Our government recognises that clean and renewable energy is pivotal in fostering economic growth, energy security, job creation and poverty alleviation while contributing to climate change mitigation.”

To this end, an aggressive approach has been taken in implementing a number of solar farms, mini-grids, and hydropower projects countrywide, a testament to government’s commitment to a low-carbon future for Guyana. 

PM Phillips added, “We shall also continue to support the development of technology and knowledge for innovation. We are similarly committed to bridging the digital divide to ensure that every citizen and resident has affordable access to reliable broadband connections.”

This agenda has seen continuous efforts being made through the Industry and Innovations Unit of the Office of the Prime Minister, as residents in remote communities benefit from ICT training. Further, the ICT Access and E-Services for Hinterland, Poor and Remote Communities Project has seen continuous progress with a number of ICT hubs being erected in areas such as Batavia (Region Seven), and Wakapoa (Region Two).  This year’s review will focus on five SDGs: clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, industry, innovation and infrastructure, sustainable cities and communities, and partnerships for the goals. The multistakeholder consultation featured presentations and panel discussions on the country’s progress in achieving these goals.