Montserrat is one of 15 countries which will benefit from the United Nationals Multi-Country Sustainable Development Framework.
UN Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the OECS Stephen O’Malley was on island Wednesday to lead the national consultation to identify the key strategic priorities for Montserrat for 2017 – 2021.
O’Malley told the more than 30 participants that it was necessary to find the linkages between Montserrat’s national policy agenda and the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF).
The need for this joined up approach came about after it was recognised that the six UNDAF teams working across the Caribbean were encountering the same priorities: Disaster Risk Reduction, Citizen Security, poverty alleviation among others.
Joining the country plans into one framework would allow for a more “coherent and stronger programming which can provide visible results,” he explained.
Senior Policy Analyst for the Government of Montserrat Astley Henry noted in his presentation that Cabinet approved the Policy Agenda on September 30, 2015. They are now developing working approaches with the assistance of the Ministry of Finance and the Human Resources unit to support development of plans and linking it with the technical. He added that they needed to think about the appropriate incentives to encourage departments to execute the plans in order for the policy to be effective.
Questions from the participants included inquiries on the government’s disability policy, the strategy for economic growth and youth retention. They were also asked what would be the motivation to move beyond the approval of another policy framework into manifesting the expected results.
Project Finance Director Joseph Irish said Montserrat is penalised when they fail to meet established targets with donor agencies such as DfID and the European Union. “The EU funds are tied to our performance and they withhold our annual amounts when we don’t meet targets.”
Participants, who represented government departments, local media and community organisations worked on a list of priority areas based on the approved Policy Agenda for the Government of Montserrat.
Once all of the national consultations have been completed, the joint framework will be drafted and local representatives are expected to participate in the finalising of it in December 2016.
The assistance which the UN provide is primarily in the area of policy development and technical support.