UN and Caribbean Governments Intensify Efforts Under New Cooperation Framework January 26, 2023

Barbados’ Minister Senator Dr. Shantal Munro-Knight (left) and UN Resident Coordinator, Didier Trebucq at the meeting on Tuesday.
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With only seven years left to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals, Caribbean governments and the United Nations have renewed their commitment to intensifying efforts to achieve the vision of the 2030 Agenda, under the new United Nations Multi-country Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (MSDCF) 2022-2026.

An inaugural meeting of a sub-regional joint steering committee, the governing body charged with strategic oversight for implementation of the regional MSDCF in the Eastern Caribbean, was held on Tuesday at UN House, with robust participation from government leaders. It was co-chaired by UN Resident Coordinator, Didier Trebucq and representative of the Government of Barbados, minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Senator Dr. Shantal Munro-Knight.

In delivering opening remarks in his capacity as co-chair, Trebucq said the first steering committee meeting was opportune for the sub-region since it allowed partners to come together after one year under the cooperation framework, to continue their partnership in the work started last year.

“High debt burden, already a longstanding concern in this region is increasing its pressure on countries. This year alone global debt service payments skyrocketed to 35 percent – the largest increase in decades, and food insecurity has risen from 33 percent to 57 percent.

Coupled with the lingering effects of the pandemic and the acceleration of climate change, people and governments in the sub-region are increasingly facing difficult choices to build resilience. In this context, working together and working effectively is of paramount importance. And that is why we are here today,” the UN head explained.

Identifying efforts around tackling learning losses following the pandemic, increasing access to financing and strengthening food-security as among the key critical issues delivered for the sub-region in 2022, the UN head said going forward increased attention will be placed on SDG acceleration, digitization across key sectors, and climate change and resilience, with greater emphasis on climate financing.

Senator Munro-Knight, in addressing the gathering, noted the unprecedented challenges that faced the region over the past two to three years in terms of intensity, continuity and impact.

“I don’t think that there’s ever been a time in the history of the globe that we have seen shock, after shock, after shock coming, and particularly for small states,” she maintained, positing that the region is poised to overcome these challenges by virtue of its history of survival, strong partnerships and penchant for innovation.

She also underscored the importance of having partners like the UN System that is focused on walking beside countries, focused on delivery, listening, being flexible, and ensuring they are demand-driven.


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