UNICEF and Social Partners to sign Annual Work Plans in Belmopan City
Belmopan City, 21 April, 2009 - UNICEFconvened representatives from the Social Service Ministries of the Government of Belize and other social partners to sign the 2009 Annual Work Plans.
According to UNICEF Country Representative Rana Flowers, the decision to convene the partners and the Government of Belize and make the signing formal is deliberate, since UNICEF has shifted its programmatic approach for this year. The approach builds on efforts of the past to address child survival and development, quality education, HIV prevention and response, child protection and positive adolescent development. The move this year is to integrate the approaches, to specifically undertake these in the poorest areas, and to work collectively with others to achieve stronger results for children and adolescents in Belize.
“The goal is to come together and to acknowledge that we are far from the only actors concerned about protecting and respecting the human rights of Belizean children,” Flowers said. “By coming together, building on each other’s efforts, we can identify synergies and more efficiently use the limited resources available. This is an opportunity to for us and other social actors to integrate our efforts with GOB, to coordinate who we are reaching with which approach; moving away from working in isolated silos of education or health or protection – but to consider how we can make communities, schools and families safe, healthy and enabling spaces for our children by doing a combination of our efforts in these spaces.”
Government Ministers, Chief Executive Officers and social sector partners – all active and making a dynamic contribution to social sector areas – are challenged to make the coordination and integration work for children and families. The Minister of Human Development and Social Transformation, Peter Eden Martinez acknowledged the benefits of the new integrated approach that UNICEF is taking in its programmatic interventions with partners.
“I congratulate UNICEF for the integrated approach it is taking this year in support of the government,” Martinez said. “This will assist us greatly in our own efforts as a government to have a coordinated response to the many issues that we are trying to address in the social sector.”
Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Attorney General and Minster of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, made the opening address and praised UNICEF as one of its more collaborative partners.
“We want to record publicly, our gratitude to UNICEF,” Elrington said. “UNICEF speaks for people who don’t have a voice and for that they must be commended.”
Other Government Ministers present and signed work plans on behalf of their ministries at the ceremony included Hon. Pablo Marin, Minister of Health, and Hon. Alvin Penner, Minister of Youth Sports and Culture.
At the end of the ceremony, UNICEF, GOB and its social partners signed the work plans that they will implement for this year. The funding for the various projects to be undertaken under the various work plans total more than $2.6 million Belize Dollars.
UNICEF’s commitment to Belize dates back to 1954, but it was not until 1981 that UNICEF established an office in Belize. In its continued quest to shape Belize as a country fit for Children and women, UNICEF has designed a five–year Country Programme that builds a culture of human rights, reduces disparities, ensures strong social investment, and builds inclusive, protective environments. Through the programmatic interventions with its partners for 2009, UNICEF hopes it will have made advances in achieving the desired results.