- Hon. Alfred Sears, Minister of Works and Utilities & Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service
- Sen. The Hon. Michael Halkitis, Minister of Economic Affairs
- Mr. Peter Deveaux Isaacs, Permanent Secretary
- Mr. Eugene Newry, Acting Director-General
- Other members of The Bahamian (Buh-hay-mee-un) Government
- Colleagues of the United Nations Country Team
- Dr. Eldonna Boisson, Representative, PAHO/WHO, The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands
- Karen Moss-Timothy, Head of Mission, IOM Bahamas
- Denise Antonio, Representative, UNDP Multicountry Office for The Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, and Turks & Caicos Islands
- Ava Whyte, Assistant Resident Representative, UNDP Multicountry Office for The Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, and Turks & Caicos Islands
- Tonni Ann Brodber, Representative, UN Women - Multi-Country Office Caribbean
- Mariko Kagoshima, Representative, UNICEF Jamaica
- Aneesah Abdullah, Country Coordination Officer, The Bahamas (UNRCO)
- Esteemed members of the Media
- Partners, Colleagues and Bahamians
A pleasant morning to you all.
First, allow me to, on behalf of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the entire United Nations Country Team to congratulate the Government of The Bahamas for further cementing its partnership with the UN Development System with its signature to the Multicountry Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (MSDCF) 2022-2026.
Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, Minister Alfred Sears and, in his absence, Minister Frederick Mitchell and your teams for your efforts that brought us to this point.
This Framework is the primary roadmap for United Nations partnership with member states of the Caribbean. This is the first time that The Bahamas will become a signatory to the MSDCF. As such, today is a historic one for the United Nations and The Bahamas, and it is indeed my pleasure to be here in person to facilitate its signing.
The reform of the UN Development System, undertaken by the UN Secretary-General, has given new meaning to the Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework to make it “the most important instrument for planning and implementation of the UN development activities” in any given country. In its absence, The UN Country Team has still been able to respond to the needs and support the priorities of the people and Government of The Bahamas – from Dorian and COVID19 Response and Recovery, to supporting issues of migration and trade, and to support efforts in climate change mitigation and disaster preparedness, we have been your steady partner in the trenches.
But, this instrument will allow us to scale up and be more predictable, even more ambitious, and sustainable in our developmental partnership.
Mr. Prime Minister, today, your Government’s commitment to strengthen engagement with the international community, gains new roots as you sign on to this Framework, with your regional colleagues.
In fact, as you have articulated in your administration’s Blueprint for Change, this framework is a commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals and its core values: to end poverty; ensure quality education and lifelong learning opportunities; guarantee gender equality and empowerment for women and girls; safeguard clean water and quality sanitation; ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy and to build resilient communities – able to adapt to climatic changes.
The signing of this Framework today, commits us further in this Decade of Action, and reaffirms that more than ever, the 2030 Agenda is still very much relevant.
An assessment of multicountry progress on Agenda 2030 revealed that throughout the Caribbean, the SDGs related to the planet remain under serious threat and are generally not improving. It indicates that people-centred SDGs are likely to have taken a particular hit from COVID-19 and will require recalibration of priorities to minimize the negative impact. It found that different segments of the population are in particularly vulnerable situations and struggle to engage with the opportunities presented by social and economic development. Overall, the data shows that dramatic acceleration is required across multiple SDGs in all countries if Agenda 2030 is to be substantially achieved.
But, here is the good news. Countries like The Bahamas are making the commitment and taking the actions necessary to meet our shared priorities. The strategic partnership between the UN and the Government of the Bahamas will result in tangible steps towards achieving these goals.
This UN Multi-country Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework is very much aligned with this ambition and your priorities.
I wish to acknowledge the work that has been done in the country and the work of various sectors of society, along with a range of stakeholders, to touch on the major priorities outlined in this framework.
Under the MSDCF Priority Area 1: Shared Prosperity and economic resilience we will support your agenda to recover, rebuild and revolutionize the Bahamian economy through the technical expertise and mobilizing the power of the UN and its partners. Key to this, is your already instituted learning recovery committee, realizing the power of education as essential to the journey towards social and economic empowerment for all Bahamians. A journey we are committed to supporting.
The MSDCF Priority Area 2: Equality Well-being and Leaving no One Behind, will continue to see UN agencies supporting your response in ending the health and socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and building your resilience and preparedness for future health emergencies. Let me also congratulate your response to the pandemic, your commendable vaccination rates and COVID19 testing availability.
The UN Development System, takes note, Mr. Prime Minister, of your own commitment to MSDCF Priority Area 3: Resilience to Climate Change and Shocks and Sustainable Natural Resource Management, where just days after assuming office, you addressed the 76th session of the UNGA, calling for greater climate financing. Then at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 26, you appealed to world leaders for specific and concrete efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change.
And in close alignment with MSDCF Priority Area 4: Peace, Safety, Justice and the Rule of Law, and in an effort to address gender inequalities, the UN takes note that you have moved to initiate progress towards the implementation of a Gender-based Violence Bill to be passed in the coming months – processes we welcome and stand ready to support during the period.
I can say, unequivocally, that these steps, and the Country Implementation Plan we will develop and tailor together, will, with our unwavering mutual commitment, can result in sustained progress for The Bahamas and its people. With this Framework, we intend to yield results on behalf of the Bahamian government and its people. As well as demonstrate any progress as best practices to countries around the world.
This is only the beginning of a five-year journey.
With this historic signing, the work has just begun.
Together, we will work to create shared prosperity and economic resilience. We will raise the bar for equality and well-being, leaving no one behind. We will build resilience to climate change and other shocks and support sustainable natural resource management. And together, we will promote peace, safety, justice and the rule of law.
Your Excellency, thank you for inviting the United Nations into this journey of accelerated progress as we step closer to achieving the 2030 Agenda and fulfil the promise for a better, more equal, sustainable and resilient future for all.
*Media Note: Resident Coordinator’s Speech, as prepared. Changes may exist in live presentation