Meetings held by the Clinton Global Initiative this week in Puerto Rico have brought global attention to the island and the Caribbean and should become a platform for concrete actions that take advantage of that international attention and attract investment.
Bill and Hillary Clinton´s visit have put on the global table crucial issues such as the effects of climate change, and economic and human development in natural disaster-prone areas. The moment calls to join purposes here and in the Caribbean region to benefit from the support of the Clinton Foundation.
The Clinton Global Initiative brought together leaders from government, business, and civil society to discuss ideas and growth initiatives for countries and jurisdictions in the Caribbean. It is clearly necessary to develop joint project that boost the economy and build structures to mitigate and adapt to natural disasters.
Clinton himself stressed the shared needs of neighboring islands for strong, efficient and cheaper energy production; to retain youngsters through job opportunities and secure the access to medicine and healthcare for the poor.
In his opening remarks in San Juan last Tuesday, Clinton highlighted that they have “seen incredible strength and resilience throughout the region—people working together to help their neighbors." We need have to substantially enhance that social capital, learn from their dynamics and strengthen their capabilities.
They launched initiatives that the organization will support with technology, medical equipment and other supplies. Initiatives aimed at developing technology to prevent damage and improve disaster response were among the outstanding projects. That includes optimizing disaster giving and engagement as well as promoting agro-industry activity to reach food security. During the meetings, they also discussed ideas to promote tourism in the region.
The Clinton Global Initiative meetings allowed participants to discuss steps aimed at addressing economic growth in the region. A top topic in the debate was that reliable and updated economic and social data necessary for investment is limited and that should be addressed.
The fact that countries can overcome their historical isolation to solve common problems such as population loss and fair access to healthcare services was highlighted as a strong value during the sessions.
In the same line, also legal and political limitations for these countries and jurisdictions to received aid from international organizations were also debated.
Clinton remarked the importance of reviewing relations and regulations created in a historical context that is very different from that the Caribbean faces today.
Thus, furthering a dialogue over opportunities for the region as a drive for change, adaptation and response to new challenges becomes crucial. Joint purposes and actions are always positive to achieve good goals.
Materializing the opportunities outlined during these meetings calls for consistent and integrated actions from all sectors.
The Clinton´s visit to Puerto Rico has provided the region with invaluable global attention on crucial issues such as economic growth and solutions to climate change. We should now work for the world to see that after all the solidarity during the hurricane, the Caribbean –through joint efforts- is now a land of opportunities for progress on the way to sustainable growth.