(Press Release) The Government and people of Barbados and Montserrat will benefit from a new United Nations joint programme aimed at improving access to quality, real-time demographic data, and gender analysis, to support evidence-based national sustainable development policies. Totaling USD$814,000, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Fund Joint Programme for Small Island Developing States (SIDS), “Integrated Population Data and Policy Solutions to Accelerate SDGs Achievement in Barbados and Montserrat” was launched during a hybrid ceremony at UN House Barbados on 25 November 2022.
Led by UNFPA and jointly implemented by UN Women and the United Nations Resident Coordinator Office for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, the two-year Project aims to strengthen capacity for implementation of rights-based population policies and programmes that integrate evidence on population dynamics, sexual and reproductive health and gender equality and their links to sustainable development.
Officer-in-Charge, UNFPA Sub-Regional Office for the Caribbean, Jewell Quallo-Rosberg, told the forum, UNFPA continues to advocate for the use of population data and gender statistics to “lift the cloak of invisibility from persons most vulnerable to discrimination and inequality.” She added that population data would also help beneficiary Governments to plan for development and better respond to crises, including natural disasters. “Everything we do is based upon solid data and evidence – because you can’t change what you can’t see. To get to zero, we need to identify and reach those most in need. Quality population data and evidence can help us get there.”
Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs in Barbados, the Hon. Ryan Straughn, in welcoming the initiative, said the joint programme will be a critical part of the Government’s programme in Barbados to revamp the way that they viewed statistics, in terms of real-time capacity to bring meaningful change to decision making. Premier and Minister of Finance in Montserrat, the Hon. Joseph Farrell, told the gathering small states like Montserrat were disadvantaged by the absence of clean, quality, disaggregated data. He anticipates strengthening data systems for development efforts to ensure that no one is left behind.
Also addressing the ceremony were other implementing partner Government representatives Mrs. Annette Weekes, Permanent Secretary, Economic Affairs and Investment Division of the Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment, Barbados, Mr. Kenya Lee, Deputy Financial Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Economic management, Montserrat and Ms. Deonne Semple, Director, Planning and Policy Division, Ministry of Finance and Economic Management, Montserrat.