Updated: November 20, 2017

Nov 20th 2017

According to the UN, civil society is the  "third sector" of society along with government and business. So, it was surprising to learn that some members of Civil Society were deliberately excluded from the UN-CARICOM Pledging Conference being held for the next 2-days, November 20th and 21st, at the UN-HQ in New York.

This Conference purports to harness resources from the World  to support Caribbean countries impacted by this years severe hurricanes (Maria and Irma) as they attempt to build better communities.  In that sense, why would CARICOM Leaders choose to exclude some members of Civil Society who simply wanted to observe the meeting. Some of the excluded participants belong to NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and CSOs (Civil Society Organizations) that will eventually participate in the rebuilding of their affected Communities. So, why exclude them?  No one knows whether certain politicians played a role in their exclusion. However,  if that was in fact the case, then that would be unfortunate.  It is incidents like these that cause Donors to be wary of handing over taxpayers monies to aid small island States when Leaders are so partisan and authoritarian.

These Leaders (CARICOM and UNDP) fail to realize that their action is contrary to the new vision of the UN, in which civil society is expected to play a major role in sustainable development. Additionally, the leaders do not seem to appreciate the enormity of the situation facing the Caribbean and, Dominica in particular. Rebuilding will not be effective without input from civil society.  The Ruling Parties in affected islands are not going to be able to 'go it alone'.   Civil Society can play a major role in helping to find funding, harness expertise and execute strategies for rebuilding shattered communities. Many Single Donors  prefer to deal with NGO's and CSOs because they are able to do things out of the bureaucratic Channel. Civil society's role in development cannot be stiffled; excluding individuals from the UN-CARICOM Pledging Conference may be beneficial to politicians but is harmful to the UN's Mission and the wider Caribbean Community.