The content originally appeared on: The Anguillian Newspaper

L-R: PS Chanelle Petty-Barrett, Premier, Dr. Ellis Webster with signed agreement and PS Bonnie Richardson-Lake

On Friday, 4th March, 2022, the Honourable Premier, Dr. Ellis Webster, signed the Multi-Country Sustainable Development Framework (MCSDF) in a virtual meeting with representatives from the United Nations Country Teams (UNCT).

He was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development, Mrs. Bonnie Richardson-Lake, as well as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Development, Commerce, Information Technology & Natural Resources, Mrs. Chanelle Petty-Barrett.

The MCSDF is a cooperative and support programme that encompasses the English and Dutch Speaking Caribbean countries for the four-year period 2022 to 2026. Under the United Nations Charter, regional governments make an agreement with the United Nations Country Teams that provides for the inclusion of all designated countries in the framework to benefit from various aspects of national development.

Mr. Didier Trebucq

Countries covered by the MSDF include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Curacao, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Maarten, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. The framework aims to ensure that no one is left behind in national development efforts, and exemplifies the commonly-shared belief that similar development challenges of Caribbean countries require a coherent and coordinated response by the UN.
UN representatives joining Premier Webster, via video link, included the moderator of the virtual meeting, Ms. Lisbeth Mjos, who is the Development Coordination Officer in the UN Resident Office for Barbados, and Mr. Didier Trebucq, UN Resìdent Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Carbbean. Also joining in to welcome Anguilla, as a signatory, were other UNCT officials in the Barbados-based UN Resident Office, as well as a few other government partners from the Eastern Caribbean region.

Ms. Mjos gave a special welcome to the Premier and his accompanying officials, Mrs. Bonnie Richardson- Lake and Mrs. Chanelle Petty-Barrett. She described the signing ceremony as “a very important moment to strengthen cooperation, and to reinforce mutual commitment to leaving no one behind in the region.”

Mr. Trebucq, in his remarks, said: “I am feeling very pleased to be with you today to participate in this signing ceremony. This will formalise our mutual commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework with the Government and people of Anguilla, and their relationship with the United Nations for the next five years.”

Prior to signing, Dr. Webster made a statement expressing his delight for the opportunity to represent Anguilla in the Framework. He said: “This is certainly an auspicious occasion and the first for me. I extend to you all a warm welcome to beautiful Anguilla. I would like to congratulate the United Nations Development System on the extensive work that has gone into developing the Multi-country Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework. It is a demonstration of the far reaching dynamic and responsive capabilities with the promise to assist us where we need it most, while doing what they do best.

“This is reflective of a comprehensive review of the region’s needs, and it focuses on the efficiency and effectiveness of development cooperation, while providing a roadmap to Agenda 2030. This is one of the hallmarks of the United Nations Development System — always looking for ways to improve [our status] and to serve us better.
“We embrace the opportunity for more organised and comprehensive operations through a clear articulation of our national priorities. It joins the best of both worlds, combining direct engagement with UN agencies and targeted assistance in key strategic areas.”
“With this signing today,” the Premier said, “we are committing to this partnership with the UN, and our fellow Caribbean countries, to work towards economic resilience, prosperity, wellbeing, equality and sustainability for Anguilla.”

He placed on record his thanks to Chief Project Officer, Ms. Anthea Ipinson, for the work that she did in preparing the way for the signing ceremony.

PS Bonnie Richardson-Lake and PS Chanelle Petty-Barrett also made comments on Anguilla’s partnership with the UN’s Multi-country Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework.

After stating her strong affiliation with the United Nations, relative to her experiences with UNICEF and PAHO, Mrs. Richardson-Lake noted: “We have a great history with the UN, so I am very excited about moving forward in this new partnership. There is much work to be done and, as you pledged to assist us, I have no doubt that you will come through.”

Mrs. Petty-Barrett also commented on her longstanding relationship with many UN agencies, and said that she was looking forward to the strengthening of collaboration with them. “We do welcome this new framework that is put in place,” she said. “We had some preliminary discussions regarding the Country Implementation Plan and we are very keen to see how we can progress that.”

She observed that a long-term development plan was critical for Anguilla at this point in time: “It is important for us to have a long-term sustainable development plan, as we chart our way forward, with our focus being on economic resilience and food security.” And she mentioned Anguilla’s reliance on the UN for assistance with natural disasters such as hurricanes, pandemics like Covid, and any other issue that would disrupt trade routes and global supply chains.”

Mrs. Petty-Barrett stressed: “We must come to a point to ensure that, to some degree, we are able to feed ourselves, as well as ensure that our economy is sufficiently buoyant to rebound from crisis situations.” She added: “So we are very pleased to enter into this agreement with the UN, and we really look forward to deepening our collaboration.”