- Mr. Luis Felipe Lopez-Calva, Assistant Secretary-General and Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP);
- Dr. Armstrong Alexis, Deputy Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat;
- Other Members of Staff of the Secretariat and the UNDP.
It is my pleasure, to be signing this Memorandum of Understanding between our Organizations as an expression of the long-standing and strong partnership between CARICOM and the UNDP. I am confident that this formalization of our partnership will enhance our ongoing collaboration in the interest of those we serve.
The Caribbean Community and UNDP have worked closely together on technical cooperation initiatives for more than three (3) decades. We have collaborated on many programmes that have contributed towards the development of, and accrued benefits to, the Member States of CARICOM.
The CARICOM-UNDP Technical Cooperation relationship has been distinguished by considerable flexibility, relevance, a capacity for quick response and a longstanding willingness to respond to development priorities identified by Member States. Thus, as we look to strengthen our partnership, I look forward to practical interventions that will propel our mutual interest.
Our current partnership with UNDP as well as other UN Agencies in the ongoing implementation of the UN Spotlight Initiative is a good example. This regional Initiative, which focuses on Strengthening Regional Cooperation to Prevent and Respond to Family Violence in the Caribbean, seeks to build economic and social resilience especially among women and girls, particularly the most vulnerable. This will enable them not only to live free of violence, but also to achieve their full potential while enjoying the full complement of their human rights.
I am anticipating that this MOU will enable us to develop new programmes of cooperation that seek to address other critical issues in the Region. There is a critical need to find solutions for those barriers to equitable and sustainable development that became clearly visible during the COVID pandemic.
We need to, for example, accelerate ICT capabilities in public administration to truly enable the implementation of e-government across the Region, and in the delivery of education to enable our young people to develop those ICT-based skills that are now clearly so critical to learning methodologies and working in this new economy.
We also need to ensure that the impact of climate change is fundamentally addressed not only in our regional and national development planning and implementation, but that the cost that the Region bears as a result of climate change is taken fully and fairly into account in the global conversations about financing actions to address the impact of climate change;
With respect to the CARICOM Secretariat itself, we look forward to working together with the UNDP to strengthen our capacity to support Member States in addressing these critical issues.
There are other areas in which we are planning to collaborate as well, and I therefore look forward with some anticipation to the continuation of our engagement to build a strengthened and mutually beneficial partnership in the interest of the people of the CARICOM Region.
I thank you.