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UNICEF Supports Establishment of the New University of Belize Policy Observatory

Belmopan, Belize, 1 August 2011  –
The University of Belize will establish a new Policy Observatory with UNICEF’s support. The annual work plan was signed last Friday by the President Emeritus and Acting President of UB, Dr Corinth Morter-Lewis and the Representative of UNICEF, Ms. Christine Norton. UNICEF’s support to the Policy Observatory represents its commitment to build national capacities for research on children’s issues, analysis of data and policy advice to support the efforts of national authorities, NGOs and agencies working with children locally.

The Policy Observatory was tabled in 2005 by the University of Belize and is the product of a joint initiative launched in December 2007 by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the University of Belize (UB) to build national capacity for the implementation of efficient and effective policy investment strategies, methodologies and tools, as practices for achieving the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. The establishment of the Policy Observatory as an entity within UB is projected to occur in two phases. In the first phase, under the guidance of the three founding institutions, a project manager is tasked to prepare a process-oriented Plan of Action that would guide the establishment of the Policy Observatory and its work for the first two years of operations. 

The establishment of the Policy Observatory to include the formation –by the end of the first phase- of the Public Policy Working Group (PPWG) as a “hands-on” think tank, providing leadership in the development and implementation of the first Plan of Action and subsequent strategic plans. The second phase is the stage of further articulation and subsequent implementation of the Plan of Action by the PPWG. This phase is also expected to become the bridge towards the development and implementation of the longer-term Strategic Plan of the Policy Observatory, which will likely include the evolution of the Policy Observatory into the University’s Institute of Public Policy (Research).

UNICEF and UB will work together to ensure that the rights of children and women in Belize are respected, protected and fulfilled and will promote efforts towards Belize’s achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

For more information:
Christine Norton, cnorton@unicef.org, UNICEF Belize Representative, Tel: 223-3864/3609;
Tamar Hahn, thahn@unicef.org, UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean, Tel: +(507) 301 7485
Mrs. Imani Fairweather – Morrison, Chairperson, Board of Directors UB, Tel: 822-3680
Dr. Corinth Morter-Lewis, President Emeritus and Acting President UB, Tel: 822-3680; clewis@ub.edu.bz

UNICEF is on the ground in over 155 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

About The University of Belize (UB)
The University of Belize is a national, autonomous and multi-location institution committed to excellence in higher education, research and service for national development. As a catalyst of change it provides relevant, affordable and accessible educational and training programs that address national needs based on principles of academic freedom, equity, transparency, merit and accountability. The University of Belize is dedicated to fostering Belize's development by producing graduates who are socially and ecologically responsible, analytical, self-confident, disciplined, ethical, entrepreneurial, and skilled communicators and who are committed to using these skills and values for Belize's enrichment.


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