The Government of Grenada has welcomed efforts being made by the United Nations Sub-regional Team for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean to strengthen coordination of its support provided to Small Island Developing States, like Grenada, to meet development challenges.
A more upscaled partnership and better tailored support was the focus of a recent virtual High-Level Dialogue between the Government and UN partners. The Grenada delegation was headed by Prime Minister, Dr the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, and included members of Cabinet and senior public officers, while the UN team, led by UN Resident Coordinator, Didier Trebucq, included the heads of 13 UN agencies, funds and programmes.
The Grenada meeting is the latest in a series of country-level engagements initiated by the UN, following General Assembly Resolution 74/279, that operationalises the 2019 review of UN Multi-Country Offices (MCO). The virtual talks sought to affirm, at the highest level, the UN’s commitment to strengthening cooperation with Grenada. This includes identifying key priorities or gaps to be addressed, based on national strategies and development challenges; opportunities for advancing progress on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and establishment of a joint national steering committee to facilitate effective programme implementation.
Speaking at the start of the meeting, Prime Minister Mitchell commended the new approach which also includes an initiative to develop Country Implementation Plans within the existing 2017-2021 Multi-Country Sustainable Development Framework and the new 2022 – 2026 agenda.
“Grenada welcomes this high-level strategic dialogue between the Government and the heads of UN agencies to formally kick-off this process which will inform the development of the 2021 Grenada – UN Country Implementation Plan,” he said, noting: “While the global health crisis has interrupted the excellent progress we were making, it has also created an opportunity for us to rethink and redefine how we go forward. We must continue to work together to recover and rebuild our economy.”
Dr Mitchell described the initiative as timely, given Grenada’s position in the early stages of its home-grown 15-year National Sustainable Development Plan. He praised the ongoing technical support provided by specialised UN agencies as well as their assistance in helping Grenada to access resources from other international agencies, including the Global Environment Fund, the Green Climate Fund, and bilateral partners, among others.
The Prime Minister told delegates, “The pandemic has led to a significant reduction in Government revenue. Our tourism industry, a key income earner, has suffered a major hit, and Government has also incurred significant additional spending to provide stimulus payments to those most affected. Grenada’s economic recovery will require a significant level of development finance. We look hopefully to development partners such as the UN agencies for support in this regard.”
UN Resident Coordinator Didier Trebucq underscored the UN’s commitment to responding to Grenada’s unique needs and vulnerabilities, through a more tailored offer, enhanced by the presence of an in-country UN Coordination Officer, an extension of the Barbados-based Multi-Country Office.
He told the gathering, “Grenada, and by extension you Prime Minister, have always welcomed and enjoyed strong and open partnership with the UN system. The growing UN portfolio, as evidenced by the increase in the number of jointly implemented programmes in Grenada, is a strong testimony to your leadership and commitment. Our aim is to build on this legacy through enhanced ONE-UN country-level cooperation.”
During the talks, both parties discussed ongoing projects and opportunities, as well as opportunities for new partnerships. They also discussed the UN’s support in alignment with 6 critical cross-cutting themes namely: Covid-19 Response and Economic Resilience; Data Systems; Digitisation; Sustainable financing; Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction.
The Government of Grenada looks forward to its continued partnership with the UN to realise the shared vision of achieving the SDGs, building a greener and more resilient future, and leaving no one behind.
Participating UN agencies included UNDP, FAO, UNICEF, UNFPA, UN Women, WFP, IOM, ITU, ECLAC, UNEP, UN HABITAT, UNDRR and ILO.