Resident Coordinator to Belize and El Salvador for the United Nations, Christian Salazar led the launch of the UN’s Multi-country sustainable development framework for the Caribbean for the period 2017- 2021. Simply put, Belize is getting fourteen million Belize dollars to spread in various sectors depending on the needs of the country. Foreign Affairs Minister joined Salazar in a ceremonial signing this afternoon at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City. Minister Elrington spoke to the media on the importance of the relations between Belize and the United Nations.
“This is the multi country program that the United Nations is introducing for the first time really, normally they have individual countries program where the United Nations agencies articulate their program of whereby they partner with the country in the development of the country. For example under the last program which is about to end they partnered with the judiciary and we got a child friendly court in Punta Gorda for the first time in history so you heard in the intervention there that we had the Zika outbreak it was the UN agency that partnered with us that helped us to get medical assistance from other countries both in terms of how to deal with it and medication and that sort of thing. These programs are important to us because they provide funding for us and they also provide technical expertise as well as human capital, they send in their experts to come in and help us in areas that we have need for and under this current program here we will have some $7 million per annum allocated to us for the next five years. It’s a fairly substantial amount of money.”
Coordinator Salazar explained today’s launch and what the priority areas that are to be funded with the monies as well as the sustainable development agenda.
“This is a five year program on sustainable development. This is on one side a response to the national growth and sustainable development strategy but it also bring in the global commitment of Belize to the new agenda to create a better world, less poverty, better protection of the environment, better rule of law, globally this is called the sustainable development agenda with the sustainable development goals so we have developed a program now across the English and Dutch speaking Caribbean the four priorities and we have today launched this officially in Belize singed with the government. The four priorities are healthier life, safer life by access to justice, climate change and disaster preparedness and poverty reduction and social protection. The UN has really accompanied and supported Belize since its independence so we’ve been here for a long time and we will be here for good to help the country and its people. We love Belize and we do have a joint committee with the government and civil society to monitor this to have good results and good use of the money over the five years and we really hope that by having something that has similar priorities with other Caribbean nations become easier and help in the cooperation between the nations and bringing down technical experts from other countries because each country has similar issues but the solution needs to be different but we can learn from each other so having some priority areas common to the Caribbean I think will help in resource constrained times to share the resources and technical know how we have better.”