Minister: Collaboration Between UN & Bermuda

July 2, 2022 | 1 Comment

“We are now embarking on a new chapter of collaboration between the United Nations and Bermuda that will benefit Bermuda’s people directly,” Minister of Social Development and Seniors Tinee Furbert said in the House of Assembly.

The Minister noted the “recent launch of a landmark partnership between the United Nations [UN] and the Government of Bermuda. ”

“The signing of the partnership agreement took place on Monday, 27th June 2022 and the Minister of Social Development and Seniors signed the agreement on behalf of the Government and its people,” she said.

“This is the first-ever partnership of its kind in Bermuda. We are now embarking on a new chapter of collaboration between the United Nations and Bermuda that will benefit Bermuda’s people directly.

“This joint UN development programme, entitled “Building Back Equal through Innovative Financing for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment is being implemented in Bermuda with the assistance of the United Nations Women [UN Women] and the United Nations Development Programme [UNDP] and funded by the United Nations Joint Sustainable Development Goal [SDG] Fund. This joint programme is approximately a one- million-dollar investment across two countries – Bermuda and Bahamas.

“The project is expected to be a catalysis for millions of dollars more in additional investment to support the islands’ achievements in the targeted areas of Sustainable Development.

“This UN/Bermuda programme intends to provide a mix of solutions to assist Bermuda to build back equal, post COVID-19, but become a best practice example that will showcase how innovative financing vehicles, digital platforms, and Women’s Empowerment Principles can be leveraged to successfully close the financing gaps that female and the youth entrepreneurs face. The programme will provide opportunities to entrepreneurs to access additional capital and reduce risk.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to inform Honourable Members and the Public of the recent launch of a landmark partnership between the United Nations [UN] and the Government of Bermuda. The signing of the partnership agreement took place on Monday, 27th June 2022 and the Minister of Social Development and Seniors signed the agreement on behalf of the Government and its people. This is the first-ever partnership of its kind in Bermuda. We are now embarking on a new chapter of collaboration between the United Nations and Bermuda that will benefit Bermuda’s people directly.

Mr. Speaker, this joint UN development programme, entitled “Building Back Equal through Innovative Financing for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment is being implemented in Bermuda with the assistance of the United Nations Women [UN Women] and the United Nations Development Programme [UNDP] and funded by the United Nations Joint Sustainable Development Goal [SDG] Fund. This joint programme is approximately a one- million-dollar investment across two countries – Bermuda and Bahamas.

However, Mr. Speaker, the project is expected to be a catalysis for millions of dollars more in additional investment to support the islands’ achievements in the targeted areas of Sustainable Development.

Mr. Speaker, many in the community may be aware of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which are a set of 17 interconnected goals. Referred to as Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs], these goals were adopted by the UN Member States in 2015 and underscored a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. The United Nations SDG Agenda is committed to Leave No One Behind.

Mr. Speaker, this joint programme supports Bermuda’s Economic Recovery Plan [Post Covid-19] by diversifying Bermuda’s economy through supporting growth of new opportunities. It focuses on empowering women, youth and persons with disabilities to engage in key economic sectors such as agriculture; cultural and creative industries; micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises [MSMEs]; and sustainable tourism. It is intended that this joint programme will enable Bermuda to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, but in particular, Goal number 5 – Gender Equality, Goal number 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth and Goal number 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

Mr. Speaker, this UN/Bermuda programme intends to provide a mix of solutions to assist Bermuda to build back equal, post COVID-19, but become a best practice example that will showcase how innovative financing vehicles, digital platforms, and Women’s Empowerment Principles can be leveraged to successfully close the financing gaps that female and the youth entrepreneurs face. The programme will provide opportunities to entrepreneurs to access additional capital and reduce risk.

Mr. Speaker, the joint programme aligns also with the Government’s national priorities and its commitment in advancing gender affairs; upholds the Government’s obligation to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination [CEDAW] and supports the Government’s direction on moving beyond the Pandemic in the context of re-building Bermuda’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

Mr. Speaker, On June 27th 2022, the programme was launched at the Grotto Bay Beach Resort. The event was distinguished with cultural touches of Bermuda performances from the youth and women, and supported by the presence of the iconic Royal Bermuda Regiment Band and the Gombeys. Amongst those who attended were Her Excellency the Governor, yourself the Honourable Speaker of House. Honourable Member Peets, Honourable Member Hayward, First Lady Madam Burt, Junior Minister Simmons, and Senator Hodgson. At the launch, the speakers included the head of the UN Delegation Dr. Garry Conille, Resident Coordinator, Recorded remarks were provided by Ms. Lisa Kurbiel, Head of the Secretariat, United Nations Joint SDG fund. He was supported by Ms. Tonni Ann Brodber, Representative for the UN Women Multi-Country Office – Caribbean, Robert Almeida, Managing Partner of Portland Private Equity; and Ms. Denise Antonio, UNDP Resident Representative for Jamaica, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, the Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands and Bermuda’s very own McKenzie-Kohl Tuckett of Girl [Em] Power. The five officials of the UN were supported by a contingent of highly skilled specialists.

Ms. Speaker, Bermuda became a signatory to the Multi-Country Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework [MSDCF] agreement at the Cabinet Office with Acting Premier, the Hon. Diallo Rabain JP. MP. present at this event The multi-country framework allows the UN to engage Bermuda more effectively while leveraging expertise across specific UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes, which is a first in Bermuda’s history.

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday, 28th June 2022, the UN Delegation held stakeholder engagements throughout the day that allowed attendees to learn more about the Joint SDG Fund Programme and its opportunities. Attendees included staff from government agencies and representatives from the arts, banking, business, cultural, educational, environmental, financial, legal, youth and sports sectors to name a few. The Ministry anticipates that over this two year period there will be more opportunities for holding further stakeholder engagements. The Ministry remains committed to updating the public on the developments of this programme in the future.

Mr. Speaker, the next steps will be to conduct an assessment of Innovative Financing for Gender Equality and the impact of COVID-19.

As you may know, Mr. Speaker, our island economy has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The GDP was expected to have contracted by about 9% in 2020, and sectors such as tourism and hospitality have seen a profound downturn.

Mr. Speaker, The unemployment rate, which was estimated at 3.8 per cent in November 2019, had more than doubled to 7.9 per cent by the end of 2020. Youth unemployment rates increased significantly, jumping from 18.8% in 2019 to 32.1% in 2020. Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, women reported considerably higher rates of under-employment with 3,250 women reporting under-employment compared to 1727 males.

Mr. Speaker, The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres recognizes the unique vulnerabilities that pose a threat to small islands, which can easily derail their development – regardless of country income classification. As a small island, Bermuda, like other small islands, there are factors like climate change, natural hazards and pandemics that have, and will, continue to exacerbate gender inequalities, socio-economic vulnerabilities and risk reversing strong development gains.

Mr. Speaker, through this partnership the United Nations will support Bermuda’s resilience and advance sustainable development with programme approaches, which seek to leave no one behind.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the UN contingent, Mr. Robert Almeida, Managing Partner of Portland Private Equity. I would like to thank my hard-working team at the Ministry of Social Development and Seniors who partnered with the UN Team, headed by Permanent Secretary, Ms. Marva- Jean O’Brien, Ms. Kleita Pitcher, Ms. Alicia Lister and Mr. Gabriel Broomes. Further, I would like to thank the Protocol team, Mr. Gilbert Rowlings, Ms. Carol Hayward, Mr. Brandon Sousa, and Ms. Tracy Wilkinson. The Communication team of Ms. Alicia Trott, Ms. Tina Evans, Ms. Dana Selassie. I would like those participants who made this two day event a success such as the “In Motion Dance School”; Tiffany Fox of String Collective; Mr. Zane Hendrickson and H&H Gombey Troupe; Mr. Marcel Dill, Five Star Transportation Services Ltd, Wanderlust Explorers Ltd and Mr. Dean Paris. I would like to thank all the attendees who were at the Launch and the Stakeholder Engagements.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker!

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  1. Full up says:

    And yet this Govt ignores UN directives on Same Sex Marriage, sports eligibility and opposed belonger status.

    UN when it suits you Tinee, seriously what do you know?

    You just do whatever the Dictator tells you.

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