UNICEF Guyana-Suriname is an office operating under one integrated Country Programme in two countries. These countries are situated on the north coast of South America with a population of 747,884 (Guyana) and 541,000 (Suriname), of which 36 per cent are children. Both countries are classified as upper-middle-income country.
Despite structural and political differences, they share some commonalities with challenges and opportunities in their efforts to realize the rights of children and young people. Included in the Caribbean group of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), although located on the mainland, both countries are prone to natural disasters. Over 80 per cent of the territory is covered by the Amazon rainforest (93% for Suriname) and inequities exist between the sparsely populated interior and the coastal areas.
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway have provided relevant holistic frameworks for action to reduce disparities between the two regions in both countries and to address the impact of climate change, environment and energy on children.
Equity gaps remain exacerbated by multiple child deprivations and inequalities in the life cycle
Both countries have made progress towards the reduction of malnutrition, nearing the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, improving literacy and school attendance and, especially in Suriname, improving the overall public health system and reducing the prevalence of diseases such as malaria and measles. However, equity gaps remain exacerbated by multiple child deprivations and inequalities in the life cycle.
The Programme of Cooperation aims at achieving the best possible results for the most deprived children by fostering greater social inclusion, by reducing disparities or inequities and strengthening inclusiveness and employability. It supports countries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by improving the well-being of their youngest population. It responds to national priorities and to the Caribbean Community Child & Youth Framework. Aligned to UNICEF global strategic plan (2018-2021) and regional priorities, it provides a space to foster south-south cooperation. Anchored within the UN inter-agency work, it contributes to the expected results under the Multi-Country Sustainable Development Framework (2017-2021).
The cooperation covers four main components, as follows: (i) safety and justice; (ii) education and lifelong learning; (iii) social inclusion and child rights monitoring, and (iv) emergency. It addresses key bottlenecks, focuses on the hard-to-reach leaving no-one behind, by strengthening systems and capacity to design, budget and monitor child-related policies or legislation; by ensuring equitable provision of quality and innovative services; and by empowering rights holders for enhanced demand through advocacy for basic services and behavior change.
The Programme embraces opportunities to promote gender equality and the empowerment of girls
In addition to partnering with Governmental entities, alliances are nurtured with civil society organizations, private sector, academia or media. UNICEF also engages with parliamentarians, faith-based organizations, indigenous and Maroon leaders and ultimately with/for children and young people. Collaboration with UN sister agencies, countries in the Caribbean or in the Amazon Basin are on-going.
Specific attention is given to counterbalancing the consequences of climate change, further preventing damage by educating children and their families about how to mitigate risks. The Programme embraces opportunities to promote gender equality and the empowerment of girls, in line with the Gender Action Plan, 2014-2017, particularly in the areas of gender mainstreaming in education and in child protection.