Located in the Caribbean Sea, the Republic of Cuba is an archipelago comprising more than 1,600 islands, islets and cays. With an area of 109,884.01 square kilometers, it is the largest island of the Greater Antilles. The country is home to natural resources that have great potential to be used or developed for sustainable economic and social development. The island has the richest biodiversity in the insular Caribbean and, despite its limited water resources, houses the largest water reserves in the region and has the best preserved beaches. This contributes to promoting the development of economic activities which are highly dependent on the sustainability of natural resources.

The economic and social development strategy of the Republic of Cuba is characterized by prioritizing the aspirations and needs of its citizens and its main objective is to continuously raise the standard of living and the quality of life of its people. The country seeks to grow economically by preserving the environment within a framework of social equity.

The new Constitution of the Republic, which was ratified on April 10, 2019, lays out some guidelines to be followed as the country moves towards achieving this goal. These includes promoting environmental protection and conservation and addressing climate change, based on the recognition of common but differentiated responsibilities. It also involves establishing a fair and equitable international economic order and eradicating irrational production and consumption patterns. The Constitution also recognizes the “right to a healthy and balanced environment.”

Despite the obstacles of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the U.S. government against Cuba for nearly 60 years, the country succeeded in making progress in terms of sustainable development and in the strengthening of disaster risk reduction strategies. In this regard, Cuba promotes and will continue to promote South-South and triangular cooperation initiatives with sister countries facing similar challenges.

For Cuba, addressing climate change is a top priority. Scientific studies conducted in the country since the 1990s confirm that climate change has been aggravating environmental problems and will continue to exacerbate them in the future, gradually becoming a major obstacle for sustainable development. Accordingly, Cuba has a State Plan to Tackle Climate Change, called “The Life Task.” This is an ambitious strategy to address the vulnerabilities resulting from climate change, increase resilience and promote a less intensive development of carbon emissions. At the multilateral level, Cuba is widely committed to implementing the commitments undertaken at the major United Nations conferences and summits on sustainable development in its three dimensions, including the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. Cuba is a party to the most important international environmental agreements, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought, the Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Paris Agreement.