UN Common Premises officially opened in Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda on Tuesday became the first OECS territory to establish a UN Common Premises, which will see resident UN offices and agencies operating from under one roof.

This key milestone for the twin island state, comes as Antigua and Barbuda, and the wider region, prepares to embark on a new five-year UN Multi-country Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (MSDCF), with complimentary Country Implementation Plans (CIP) specifically tailored to national contexts and priorities.

Speaking during a ceremony to mark the official inauguration of the Independence Drive offices, and the signing of Antigua and Barbuda’s new CIP, UN Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Didier Trebucq stated: “this day symbolizes a very critical milestone and a robust commitment with the Government and people of Antigua and Barbuda and also serves to concretely reaffirm our continued tailored support towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the SAMOA pathway, at country level.”

He especially thanked the Government “for the gift of a UN office which is embracing the spirit of UN Development System repositioning and specifically the Secretary General’s Efficiency Agenda to increase by 50 per cent, the number of Common Premises globally.”

Minister of Foreign Affairs E.P. Chet Green described the proceedings as  a momentous occasion in the further deepening and strengthening of ties between the Government and people of Antigua and Barbuda and the United Nations.

“It is indeed a celebration and reaffirmation of multilateralism, which remains the best option for the survival of small states like Antigua and Barbuda within the global sphere,” he said, adding that the work of the United Nations meant  that island nations like Antigua and Barbuda, had a voice and a place where their concerns could be addressed.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Walton Webson, who has been championing the call for greater UN visibility and presence since 2018, said the opening of the UN Common Premises was a special moment for this team in New York, and “a day that the Government of Antigua and Barbuda is very proud of.”

Alluding to benefits including speedy and immediate turnaround in instances of disasters , Ambassador Webson underlined: “The real work is amongst the people and delivering to the community. I hope that by year-end a lot more of the other Agencies will come on board.”

Initially, three UN Agencies UNDP, UNICEF and FAO, as well as an extension of the Resident Coordinator Office, in the form of a Country Coordination Officer to assist in coordinating UN Development System support, will be part of the joint UN office. As cooperation is scaled up under the newly signed CIP, plans are underway for other agencies to join the office.

Thw ceremony took place on the margins of the Small Islands Developing States Stakeholders Meeting, which brought together key UN stakeholders, in particular the Resident Coordinators and strategic representatives from the various UN agencies, funds and programmes, to provide solutions to accelerating progress on the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway (Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action), as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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