(Press Release) The United Nations and the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis have solidified their partnership and commitment to working together to build resilience and recovery from multiple shocks, including the COVID crisis, while advancing progress towards the 2030 Agenda.
UN Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Didier Trebucq and Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris today formalized this commitment in the signing of the 2022-2026 United Nations Multi-Country Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (MSDCF).
The MSDCF, which follows over a year of consultations at various levels, will serve as the overarching blueprint for UN collaboration in the region for the next five years; and will cascade into a more specific Country Implementation Plan for St. Kitts and Nevis.
In delivering opening remarks to the virtual ceremony before signing the agreement on behalf of the UN Development System, Mr. Trebucq commended the Government for its leadership and commitment to put people first, as evidenced in its robust Poverty Alleviation Programme, capital projects, and other activities outlined in its 2022 budget to foster job creation and facilitate economic recovery.
Noting the difficulties faced by the region over the last two years, including loss of lives, pressure on health systems, the climate crisis, and additional macroeconomic and fiscal challenges wrought by the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Resident Coordinator added: “Prime Minister, your presence here today and that of senior officials is proof of the high level of significance that the Government of SKN places in its partnership with the UN. I want to truly thank you for the trust. To this end, you would appreciate the people-centric nature of this 5-year Cooperation Framework. It seeks to achieve two urgent priorities: accelerate progress towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals and facilitate faster recovery from the socio-economic impact of COVID-19.”
In addressing the ceremony shortly before signing the new agreement, Prime Minister Harris said the COVID-19 pandemic had exposed the vulnerabilities of St. Kitts and Nevis and other Caribbean small island developing states (SIDS), not only affecting health systems but their ability to provide for themselves and to ensure food security. Describing the pandemic as “brutal” to tourism-dependent islands like St. Kitts, he noted that over the past two years the pandemic had “literally wiped out the tourism sector.”
While able to respond in part due to fiscal prudent management, the Prime Minister observed that measures taken to address poverty and to save jobs, had come at a high cost to income flows. Given the current challenges and the difficulty of overcoming climate change consequences, while not yet out of the shadow of COVID-19, he emphasized the importance of partnerships and the need for every country that can contribute to another to do so.
“We shall continue to need the UN support to help small island developing states such as St. Kitts and Nevis because the SDGs are, still in some respect, elusive for some SIDS,” he concluded.
Members of the UN Sub-regional Team from UNDP, FAO, PAHO, ITU, UNFPA, WFP and UNOPS, also participated in the signing ceremony, and offered congratulations to the Government, while giving assurances of their continued support.
The MSDCF identifies four key priorities for achieving resilient sustainable development in the region: increased support to the economic resilience agenda; intensified efforts to ensure realization of human rights for all; strong commitment to enhancing inclusive disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation; and scaled up support to ensure that Caribbean societies remain peaceful and just societies.