The National Economic and Social Development Plan for St. Vincent and the Grenadines covers the period 2013-2025, and outlines the country’s long-term strategies for national development. The Plan offers a vision for improving the quality of life for all Vincentians. The Plan seeks also to improve on the shortcomings of the previous ones and to outline a strategy to achieve sustainable economic growth, job creation, and poverty reduction leading to the improvement in the quality of life for Vincentians. Five strategic goals and their objectives are advanced to realise the vision that has been articulated in the present Plan: Re-engineering Economic Growth (1); Enabling Increased Human and Social Development (2); Promoting Good Governance and Increasing the Effectiveness of Public Administration (3); Improving Physical Infrastructure, Preserving the Environment and Building Resilience to Climate Change (4); Building National Pride, Identity and Culture (5). The Plan consists of 7 chapters divided into 2 Parts as follows: The Context (I) and Strategic Goals and Plans (II). Part 1 consists of 4 chapters as follows: Introduction and Conceptual Framework (1); Domestic, Regional and International context (2); The Domestic Economy (3); Strengths and Challenges: A Situational Analysis of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (4). Part 2 consists of 3 chapters as follows: Strategic Goals, Objectives and Outcomes (5); Sectoral Objectives and Strategies (6); Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation (7).SO1:As all the other islands in the Caribbean Sea, St. Vincent and the Grenadines are committed to eradicate hunger and malnutrition and reduce poverty by the year 2025. In view of the vital role of agriculture in this context, the agricultural and fisheries sector (Objective 1.2. of chapter 5) shall be revitalised. This includes strategic interventions such as restricting settlement on critical agricultural lands to ensure food security and agro-trade; enforce land-use zoning legislation to protect the critical ecological balance and bio-diversity. This means also to stimulate private sector investment in the agricultural sector and encourage public-private partnership. Objective 8 of chapter 6.1.3 concerns contribution to food and nutrition security on a sustained basis. The proposed strategic interventions are as follows: Develop policies to promote the production and supply of healthy, nutritious foods to meet minimum requirements; Finalise and implement the National Food and Nutrition Policy and Plan; Promote the use of healthy and nutritious foods through various programmes; Establish efficient and effective advisory and regulatory support institutions and systems for food safety certificationSO2: Objective 7 of chapter 6.1.3. concerns the promotion of sustainable use of land, forestry and marine resources. The suggested strategic interventions are as follows: Implement soil conservation measures in agricultural districts; Implement appropriate water management practices, including reforestation, soil conservation and river bank stabilisation; Establish incentive regimes to encourage compliance with land use policy; Institute measures to conserve bio-diversity and protection of the watershed; Strengthen coastal zone management system. Furthermore, chapter 6.4.6.deals, inter alia, with environmental sustainability ascertaining that healthy ecosystems and the sustainable use of natural resources are integral components in the continued survival and development of human societies. Consequently, careful attention must be paid to environmental sustainability and it is essential to conserve the natural resources of the country. The following strategic interventions are envisaged: Develop appropriate measures to protect the rich natural resources of the country; Develop alternative and sustainable livelihood programmes for local communities in protected areas; Provide incentives for the protection and restoration of natural resources; Develop and employ methodologies for the economic assessment and accounting of natural resources.SO3:Chapter 3 of the above-mentioned National Plan on the Domestic Economy deals, inter alia, with poverty asserting that the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has made a commitment towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as a strategy to sharpen the increasingly challenging efforts of human advancement through poverty reduction. To this end, the following strategic interventions shall be undertaken: 1) Formulate a National Poverty Reduction Strategy; 2) Foster greater collaboration among public policymakers, civil society, private sector and academics to develop appropriate solutions to poverty; 3) Strengthen the enabling environment for persons to become self-sufficient; 4) Promote and facilitate the establishment of cooperatives as a mechanism for poverty reduction.SO4:Objective 1.2 (chapter 5) on revitalising the agricultural and fisheries sector specifies that the small size of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, coupled with its mountainous terrain, restricts large-scale agricultural practices. Consequently, agriculture is practised on small holdings. Notwithstanding significant threats faced by small-scale farming, this Plan proposes that with the appropriate investment in modern technology and agricultural research, the agricultural sector can rebound. To remedy this situation the following actions are proposed: Stimulate private sector investment in the agricultural sector and encourage public-private partnership; Modernise, increase productivity, efficiency and competitiveness in the agricultural sector; Increase export market access for diversified agricultural produce; Improve the legislative and institutional framework to foster commercialisation of the agricultural sector; Encourage the facilitation of agricultural credit; Create an effective policy formulation mechanism and improve the policy framework for agricultural development; Promote the sustainable use of land, forestry and marine resources; Further develop the fisheries sector; Facilitate the commercialisation of the livestock sector; Expand agro-processing; Increase youth involvement in agriculture, especially through agricultural training and access to land. Chapter 6.1.3 regards agriculture and fishery and all following objectives refer to this chapter. Objective 1 makes provisions on strengthening policy formulation and framework for agricultural development, To reach this result the following strategic interventions are planned: Develop an operational participatory mechanism to facilitate effective involvement of the farming community in policy formulation; Adopt a participatory approach to problem analysis through community consultations; Establish a policy environment designed to attract investment to the agricultural sector; Provide fiscal incentives for private sector investment in modern marketing facilities. Objective 2 lays down provisions relating to increasing productivity, efficiency and competitiveness in the agricultural sector. Therefore, the following strategic interventions are recommended: Continue the implementation of the national irrigation programme; Invest in research and development to increase growth in the sector; Develop human resources and facilitate the improvement of skills critical to the development of the sector; Establish accessible agriculture financing schemes; Establish an effective regime of sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures. Objective 3 refers to increase of market access for agricultural produce. The following strategic interventions are advocated: Develop and maintain an effective information and market intelligence system; Develop and implement an export marketing thrust for agricultural produce; Improve marketing infrastructure; Deepen linkages between agriculture and other sectors, particularly tourism, manufacturing and the environment; Identify/research the required improvements in transportation and support services to ensure regular reliable movement of produce in the region and to international destinations; Promote local foods to consumers focusing on safety, wholesomeness and nutritional quality; Develop focused programmes and networking for marketing of agricultural produce within and outside the region, including expansion of opportunities for joint marketing. Objective 4 concentrates on how to increase youth involvement in agriculture. The proposed strategic actions are as follows: Provide to the youth, access to arable lands through a Land Bank System; Provide credit products tailored to the circumstances of the youth; Re-organize the Agricultural Training Institute; Facilitate access to and encourage the use of ICT in agriculture; Broaden agricultural training to all primary and secondary schools; Provide incentives in agriculture to encourage collaboration and group activity of youth. Objective 5 provides for improvement of the legislative and institutional framework of the agricultural sector. The following actions shall be undertaken to remedy this situation: Conduct agri-food legislative review for harmonisation with the rest of the OECS; Develop legal mechanisms to utilise idle lands; Modernise legislation to facilitate transformation and development of the sector; Enact and enforce appropriate legislation for agro-ecological zoning; Develop and enforce regulations/practices prohibiting agricultural activities and systems of production that are environmentally degrading; Institutionalise a Land Use Authority. Objective 9 concerns the increase of agricultural exports. To achieve this purpose the following strategies are advocated: Develop a comprehensive export strategy for agricultural produce; Provide incentives to increase productivity in agriculture; Provide the necessary infrastructure to improve production and export capabilities.SO5: Chapter 6.4.9 addresses Disaster Management which is an import issue because St. Vincent and the Grenadines is geographically located in an area that is highly vulnerable to natural disasters. High winds and rainfall coupled with the islands’ mountainous topography are the principal risk factors. Much of the island’s construction occurs on steep slopes often exceeding 45 degrees. There is little protection from the direct impacts of wind forces and prolonged rainfall promotes slope destabilization. Informal constructions are at greatest risk as they do not benefit from adequate engineering. Moreover, St. Vincent and the Grenadines experience rainy and dry seasons and are variously vulnerable to drought, landslides and coastal flooding. The active volcano La Soufriere, located on the north end of St. Vincent is another risk factor, posing threats from shallow earthquake and eruption events. It is therefore imperative that disaster preparedness mechanisms are thoroughly planned. The ultimate aim is to enhance the capability of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to effectively prepare, respond to and mitigate all disasters. To remedy this situation the following strategic interventions have been put foreard: Establish a comprehensive Disaster Management Plan; Formulate procedures to ensure that all commercial and public buildings have disaster plans; Build resilience at the community level; Develop land-use and maritime plans; Ensure adherence to the Building Codes; Develop post-trauma needs assessment programmes; Acquire air-assets to perform search and rescue. Goal Four of chapter 5 deals with Improving Physical Infrastructure, Preserving the Environment and Building Resilience to Climate Change. It is claimed that a sustainable development programme for St. Vincent and the Grenadines involves, inter alia, developing the physical infrastructure, while preserving the country’s delicate environment, as well as mitigating the effects of climate change. Though challenging, it is essential that the requisite methodology be developed and adhered to for achieving this goal. In particular, Objective 4.10 on To reduce the adverse impacts of climate change lays down provisions on this subject. Many scientists have argued that there is a direct relationship between climate variability and global warming. The frequency and intensity of some natural disasters and hazards in various parts of the world are signs of this phenomenon. Climate change negatively impacts the global environment and threatens sustainable development, as evidenced by: Increases in air and sea surface temperatures; Rising sea levels; Changes in weather patterns; Losses and changes in marine and terrestrial biodiversity; Increase in vector-borne diseases, e.g. dengue Fever; Loss of livelihoods. The Plan proposes several adaptation measures to reduce future restoration costs and to protect the natural environment. Public education and awareness of the potential negative effects of climate change would be at the forefront of this Plan. The following strategic interventions 4.10 shall be implemented: Increase public awareness with regard to climate change issues; Build resilience to minimise damage to settlement and infrastructure; Minimise damage to beach and shoreline integrity and marine ecosystems; Minimise the negative impact of climate change on agriculture and human health; Develop appropriate legislative and regulatory framework, for proper environmental management, and institutional systems for responding and mitigating effects of climate Regional Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (RDVRP) estimated to cost US 20.92 million is addressing policy, data management, infrastructure and capacity issues in the areas of Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management. A parallel project, the Pilot Project on Climate Resilience (PPCR) is addressing mainly infrastructural support in response to climate change and sea-level rise.
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