The United Nations House in Barbados has been transformed into a sea of blue to commemorate the UN’s 76th anniversary and its ongoing commitment to Sub-region.
A sunset Lighting ceremony held on Monday October 25, with participation from UN team members as well as officials of the Barbados Ministry of Foreign Affairs, celebrated the UN's 76th anniversary milestone, as well as Barbados’ upcoming 55th anniversary of UN Membership.
In addressing the small ceremony, which upheld COVID-19 protocols, UN Resident Coordinator, Didier Trebucq said the ceremony to officially light up UN House was intended to signal the UN's continued commitment to the region and to the founding principles of the UN Charter.
“ Barbados continues to be a strong leader and a forceful advocate for global cooperation and multilateralism, ably lead by Prime Minister Mia Mottley. We welcome this Government’s leadership in CARICOM and are honoured today to also recognize its longstanding and effective partnership with the United Nations," the UN head stated.
Unity and solidarity the only way forward
In a world characterised by rising inequalities, poverty, a climate emergency of overwhelming proportions, and COVID-19, which continues to adversely impact the socio-economic reality of Caribbean SIDS, the Resident Coordinator made it clear that a different approach was necessary.
“It cannot be business as usual. We are all compelled, now more than ever, to be nimbler, more adaptive, and certainly more inclusive in our responses. The need for greater solidarity and reinvigorated efforts towards multilateralism to address these global challenges, are critical," he stated.
To this end, Mr. Trebucq affirmed the UN’s commitment to working jointly to deliver greater impact in alignment with national priorities. “Under the UN Reform, we pledge a new approach to delivering as ONE, providing innovative and tailored support to each country. Resilience-building is at the core of our cooperation agenda to ensure that Barbados and all Eastern Caribbean countries, can build back better, greener, and stronger, truly leaving no one behind," he explained.
UN hailed for its role in maintaining peace and security
In addressing the ceremony, Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Sandra Husbands , recognized the critical role played by the UN in maintaining peace and security around the world in over 70 years.
Noting that the UN has become an important forum for its Small and Developing Member States , she added: “It is a forum where we can inform the developed world and partners about the challenges that threaten our development and the prosperity of our people.”
Minister Husbands said SIDS were at a moment when challenges were overwhelming for them all including facing the devastating COVID-19 pandemic and a climate crisis that threatened the very existence of many countries. She added that Barbados believed that the UN must respond at such a moment on behalf of its most vulnerable members.
“We are at a point the development gains achieved since independence are also at risk and a lack of access to concessional development financing , coupled with inequitable access to vaccines, will make it the more difficult for us to work towards a sustainable, resilient, green recovery post-COVID," she explained.
"We welcome Secretary Guterres’ efforts on the behalf of the UN’s smallest, most threatened members, especially SIDS. In his recent visit to Barbados to attend the opening of UNCTAD15 he displayed a deep understanding of the turmoil enveloping the developing world. His initiative ‘Our Common Agenda’ which aims to bridge the many existing divides in our world that limit the advancement of all people, with a particular focus on the youth, is very well received. As the Prime Minister, the Hon. Mia Mottley affirmed at the recent UN General Debate, Barbados will work with him to advance this critical and positive undertaking.”
Call for Redoubling of Efforts
While providing assurance that the UN would continue to advocate at the highest level for the Sub-region, to accelerate progress towards attaining the SDGs, the Resident Coordinator concluded: “Finally, on this UN day celebration, let us redouble our efforts to not only increase universal access to COVID19 vaccines, but also to reduce vaccine hesitancy. I urge you also to join us, as we step up for climate action, and ensure that the rights and freedoms that underpin the UN Charter, are realised for women and girls, men and boys, and marginalized individuals and groups everywhere. It is our joint responsibility to leave this planet in a better shape for future generations. There is no better time to do it!”
Following the formalities guests exited to building to flick the switch to officially “blue” UN House and returned inside for a toast. UN House will remain lit for one week until month-end.