As we mentioned earlier, today the United Nations Development Program, UNDP, received funds for two projects under the CARSI ESF program. Deputy Resident Representative for the UNDP in Belize, Karen Bernard, says one of the projects is focused on helping Belize move forward in addressing the issues of anti-corruption specifically in relation to the UN convention that Belize has signed on to.
Karen Bernard, Deputy Resident UNDP
“Because the UNDP is working closely with the Ministry of the Attorney General the Attorney General is the official focal point designated by Belize to the convention to this UN Convention on Corruption and we also work with a number of partners, we work with the Chamber of Commerce, the Belize NGO Network, BNTU, with the churches, with departments like the Financial Intelligence Unit so a really wide range of partners, this is a project which is ongoing and now will benefit from the support provided under CARSI. There will be a series of activities that we’ll be doing to educate and engage with the public and when I say public I mean with the students, children the youth, we also work with the National Youth Council and people from different parts of the country there will be a number of activities I think coming up in the next few months so there will be an announcement about that coming up quite soon and again UNDP we are just here to play a supporting role, we can if it’s useful we can access expertise from our global networks but we are here to support the country and to enable what the people want to do and this particular funding is supporting specifically the CSOs and the NGOs that have a lot of great ideas and a lot of innovative ideas on how to promote more discussion about the issue of corruption and to promote solutions and ideas that people have as to how this can be managed in Belize.”
The second UNDP project that received funding today focuses on providing support to the country on the referendum on the Belize Guatemala territorial dispute.
Karen Bernard, Deputy Resident UNDP
“The United Nations was requested by the Prime Minister I believe to support the country on its public education campaign to prepare for the referendum. Now this is part of the democratic process Belize is a young country so still in the process of nation building and it’s very important with issue that are of such national significance that people are involved and can state their opinions and can find the solutions. In the United Nations we always promote peaceful solutions. With that particular project there is the whole process to update the voter registry in preparation for the referendums so that this could go to a vote people would vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the referendum. We can provide technical support to how that could be done, we have international experts on election systems and another way that we are going to support which is another small way but that we think would be of interest is to perhaps organize a forum on recent experiences in the region on referenda, and what countries like Grenada and the Bahamas have learned and maybe a country like Colombia as well there’s been these recent experiences and so the process of going through a referendum is a challenging one and we understand that there is a great interest on the part of the government here to go through that and so we need to support that whole process but as I say we can learn from what other countries have gone through and maybe they would have had some challenges and some mistakes that we don’t want to repeat and just the best ways to approach these things.”