St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is an multi-island country in the Lesser Antilles chain, in the southern portion of the Windward Islands, which lie at the southern end of the eastern border of the Caribbean Sea where the latter meets the Atlantic Ocean. Its territory consists of the main island of Saint Vincent and the northern two thirds of the Grenadines which include the islands of Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Mayreau, Union Island, Palm Island, Petit St. Vincent, and 28 uninhabited islets. The entire Grenadines group stretches some 60km south from Saint Vincent to Grenada.
With a population of approximately 110,255 persons, the islands cover a total land area of 389 square km: St. Vincent with a land area of approximately 345 square km; and the Grenadines with a combined land area of 44 square km. The 2012 census indicated that 91.1 percent of the total population lives on mainland St. Vincent with the remainder on the different Grenadines islands. This concentrated population makes St.Vincent one of the most densely populated islands in the Caribbean.
The National Economic and Social Development Plan (2013-2025) creates the platform for national development. The plan is organised around five strategic goals: re-engineering economic growth; enabling increased human and social development; promoting good governance, citizen security and increasing the effectiveness of public administration; improving physical infrastructure and preserving the environment; and building national pride, identity and culture. These goals are fundamental for achieving national development outcomes and improved quality of life.
The plan also incorporates all dimensions of the development paradigm (economic, social, environmental, political, cultural and institutional) into an integrated policy agenda. It offers the opportunity for profound development transformation, providing a platform which, if fully explored, will lead to a more secure future while formulating a multi-sectoral policy agenda to facilitate and guide the optimal improvement of the quality of life for all Vincentians.
A number of unprecedented and fundamental challenges have occurred, impacting on the economic, political and social environment. One such challenge faced by SVG is keeping pace with technological changes which impact significantly on the country’s competitiveness. Access to affordable and clean energy (Goal 7 of UN SDGs) is also imperative for supporting SVG’s development and security agenda. The National Economic and Social Development Plan aligned strategies with the aim of reducing the importance of imported energy. Another challenge relates to the negative impacts of climate change and the country’s increased vulnerability to natural disasters. Since 2010, the country has experienced significant adverse effects of climate-related and other extreme weather events including, drought in 2009/2010, Hurricane Tomas in 2010, and out of season flooding in 2011, 2013 and 2016. This has led to measures being implemented to respond more effectively to these challenges. These include the Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership, which promotes the adoption of climate-smart agriculture practices among small-scale producers, and the Zero Hunger Trust Fund, which was established in 2016 “to provide the resources necessary to finance the eradication of hunger in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
It is anticipated that increased natural disasters driven by climate change will have significant negative impact on both the natural and productive resources. This will significantly erode the country’s economic gains. Notwithstanding, with prudent fiscal management, good governance and significant investment in human resource development, renewable energy and the productive sectors, it is envisaged that there will be favourable growth and development prospects.
Below is a list of websites to key national institutions with responsibility for the following:
- Climate Change – Sustainable Development Unit, Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning, Sustainable Development and Information Technology
- Sustainable Development – Economic Planning and Social Development Unit, Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning, Sustainable Development and Information Technology