BRIDGETOWN – Senior Caribbean government officials and United Nations representatives are gathering in Barbados this week to assess the initial three years of their collaboration through the UN Multi-country Sustainable Development Framework (MSDF), and to agree on strategies for strengthening this mechanism.
Some 50 participants are attending the MSDF Annual Coordination Meeting (ACM), which is being co-hosted by the Government of Barbados and the UN Barbados and the OECS from 27 to 28 November 2019 at the Hilton Hotel, Barbados.
Discussions will review the effectiveness of the MSDF, which is designed to support more direct access to technical expertise from the United Nations and – through integrated, multi-country initiatives - facilitate the resource mobilisation and partnerships needed to move regional development efforts forward.
The meeting will also discuss progress of UN System reform and its potential to deliver innovative collaborations and strategic approaches for tackling the range of sustainable development challenges being addressed within the MSDF. Among the most pressing of these concerns are climate change resilience, social inclusion, and protecting vulnerable populations. Participants will also explore the means of strengthening the UN’s support to regional governments through continued implementation of the MSDF.
In his welcome, Mr. Didier Trebucq, Chair of the MSDF Regional Steering Committee and UN Resident Coordinator Barbados and the OECS, thanked the Government of Barbados for their continued partnership with the UN.
“Supporting all states in the Caribbean to achieve sustainable development, remains of paramount importance to the United Nations Development System. The MSDF intends to facilitate a more efficient and effective development system to support governments in achieving the SDGs, especially through dedicated support to all SIDS. The UN in the Caribbean will be further strengthened to deliver at the country level,” Trebucq said.
The Multi-Country Sustainable Development Framework is a USD$197.9 million facility of UN support to Caribbean governments for achieving the SDGs and delivering on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and other international development agreements. The four MSDF priority areas are: An Inclusive, Equitable and Prosperous Caribbean; a Healthy Caribbean; a Safe, Cohesive and Just Caribbean; and a Sustainable and Resilient Caribbean.
Eighteen UN agencies contribute to the implementation of the MSDF, with individual UN agencies continuing to focus on areas of their mandate through their respective country programmes and strategies.
In her opening address, the Hon. Marsha Caddle, Minister of Economic Affairs and Investment Barbados, welcomed UN support while echoing that the MSDF remains relevant for responding to regional developmental priorities.
“The MSDF will not be all things to all people and all countries but it can provide an opportunity to address issues that require action, attention and investment at the regional level. Countries are at different stages of development. It [MSDF] gives us a chance to tackle the issues which require a regional approach and with the UN working as One,” Minister Caddle said.
To date, the UN MSDF has mobilised partner governments and other stakeholders around the SDGs. A number of countries’ national development plans are well aligned with the 2030 Agenda. The MSDF has also allowed for strengthened inter-country cooperation and UN mobilisation in responding to disaster relief, recovery and resilience-building in the Caribbean.
A Joint SDG Fund as well as the Caribbean component of the Spotlight Initiative (a programme for tackling family violence and gender-based violence at the national and regional levels) are other examples of UN-government cooperation at work.
Virtual policy networks as well as knowledge sharing through regional trainings and workshops, often in collaboration with CARICOM, the OECS and other regional entities have been key features of MSDF cooperation.
Through the MSDF, the UN remains a committed partner to Caribbean countries as they pursue their national strategic priorities, by achieving the SDGs and delivering on the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Minister Caddle thanked the UN System for continuing to recognize the importance of a regional approach to development.
“Together we are stronger. Together we deliver for the people of the Caribbean to ensure that no one is left behind,” Trebucq said.