The United Nations Multi-Country Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UN MSDCF) for the English and Dutch-speaking Caribbean, covering the period 2022-2026, is the most important instrument for planning and implementation of the UN development activities towards the fulfilment of the 2030 Agenda. This framework has been developed in a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has exercised and aggravated the structural vulnerabilities, particularly in the developing economies of the Global South.

The Caribbean region, like all other developing regions, has been hit hard by the COVID pandemic. The MSDCF outcomes cover all Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs), recognizing their interconnected nature. However, the strategic prioritization process undertaken by the UN with its partners, considering UN comparative advantages and the region’s peculiarities. MSDCF 2022-2026 builds on lessons learned from the first multi-country sustainable development framework for the Caribbean region that covered the period 2017-2021.

Taking cues from those lessons, the MSDCF 2022-2026 for the Caribbean region identifies the following: 1) Provide more effective support to the countries in the region through efficient use of UN resources, including reducing transaction costs for UN counterparts in their cooperation with UN entities; 2) Leverage regional synergies while remaining relevant at the national level; 3) Adopt collective approaches to common challenges such as climate change, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and COVID-19; 4) Build on and strengthen common instruments such as the SAMOA Pathway, the CARICOM Strategic Plan, Caribbean Cooperation in Health Phase IV (CCH4) and other regional and international frameworks; 5) Deepen regional and triangular cooperation and improve the effectiveness of UN technical cooperation and 6) Bring into effect the goals and objectives of the recently approved UN Development system reform, ensuring that the UN response is fit for purpose.

The UN MSDCF 2022-26 for the Caribbean envisages the following eight outcomes: 1) More productive and competitive business ecosystem designed to improve people’s standards of living and well-being; 2) The Caribbean has fully transitioned to a more diversified and sustainable economy that supports inclusive and resilient economic growth; 3) National governments and regional institutions use relevant data to design and adopt laws and policies to eliminate discrimination, address structural inequalities and ensure the advancement of those left furthest behind; 4) People in the Caribbean equitably access and utilize universal, quality and shock- responsive, social protection, education, health, and care services; 5) Caribbean people, communities, and institutions enhance their adaptive capacity for inclusive, gender responsive DRM and climate change adaptation and mitigation; 6) Caribbean countries manage natural resources and ecosystems to strengthen their resilience and enhance the resilience and prosperity of the people and communities that depend on them; 7) Regional and national laws, policies, systems, and institutions improve access to justice and promote peace, social cohesion, and security and 8) People in the Caribbean and communities actively contribute to and benefit from building and maintaining safer, fairer, more inclusive, and equitable societies. Member States of the Non-Aligned Movement in the Caribbean region have been actively becoming signatories to the UN MSDF 2022-26, On January 29, 2022, Grenada joined British Virgin Islands, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, and St Lucia to become a signatory to the UN MSDF 2022-26. The new cooperation framework was signed by Dr Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada; and Didier Trebucq, UN Resident Coordinator, during a hybrid ceremony between UN House in Barbados and Grenada’s Cabinet Office, via Zoom. Trebucq stated that “the MSDCF represents the beginning of a new era of cooperation for the UN and the Caribbean” in terms of reflecting the challenges and priorities of the Region and its approach to implementing initiatives to address the same. Grenada Prime Minister Mitchell, while acknowledging the support of the UN agencies over the years, referred to their reassuring presence and contributions relevant to the socio-economic impact of Covid-19, conveyed his pledge of support “to work collaboratively with the UN in the implementation of the UN MSDF 2022-26.

Saint Lucia had earlier signed the UN MSDF 2022-26 on 15 January 2022. St Lucia’s Prime Minister Philip J Pierre highlighted the need to address the complexities of the country’s socio-economic dynamics with an approach to development that involves effective coordination and integration of the government’s efforts to optimise benefits to Sr Lucians. The Prime Minister explained that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the support of the MSDCF will allow St Lucia, as a developing nation, to find innovative strategies to end poverty, address inequalities, and address the pressing issue of climate change.

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