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Despite the great challenges of 2020, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji remains undeterred in its mission to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The wide-ranging impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters highlight the urgent need to make progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The UNDP Pacific Office Annual Report for 2020 released today, reveal the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic underscore the importance of making progress towards the SDGs, which are designed for the inclusive development and future prosperity of the Pacific region and globally.  

Levan Bouadze, Resident Representative of the UNDP Pacific Office said, “The achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was never going to be easy and the unprecedented scale of the year’s challenges needed to be met with innovation, energy, and a collective resolve.”

“This is where the UNDP Pacific Office succeeded, using a ‘whole of system’ collaborative approach, as we embarked on a rapid re-orientation and re-programming, which showcased both our agility and our commitment to our member countries and their people,” Bouadze added.

The report confirms how the COVID-19 crisis unfortunately caused a regression against some of the SDGs. Throughout 2020, the UNDP Pacific Office worked diligently to provide support and was available at every point to offer guidance, analysis, expertise, funding and sometimes the most important of inputs - encouragement and solidarity.

The theme of the Annual Report – “Aspiring for a Resilient Pacific” conveys UNDP’s optimism for a more inclusive, equitable, and prosperous future for Pacific Island countries. The Report takes a look at the results achieved with countries and communities through 12 intense months and dives into its thematic areas, partnerships, lessons learnt and the way forward.

It takes a look at governance programming, adapted in light of the travel restrictions, and the role UNDP played to facilitate national elections in Kiribati, Palau and Vanuatu and two by-elections in Solomon Islands. UNDP Pacific also provided ICT equipment to the parliaments of Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu so that they could continue to meet.

These pages also capture the economic downturn associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and how it made it more difficult than ever for this region to adapt to the impacts of climate change and fund recovery from natural disasters.

“UNDP supported 9,000 households with livelihoods recovery, community infrastructure, early warning systems, and Post Disaster Needs Assessment after Tropical Cyclone Harold in Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu,” Bouadze added.

The 2020 Annual Report also looks at how UNDP is determined to advance gender equality in the Pacific region by progressing inclusion in the formal financial sector and creating economic opportunities, supporting women’s civic participation and representation in government, and ensuring that women are empowered to address climate change and disaster risk management.

Behind the results achieved are the day-to-day stories and determination of the thousands of people with whom UNDP Pacific Office works. The market vendors in Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu who access financial literacy training, the meticulous salt-makers of Vusama Village, the youth who are engaged on digital economy and app development in the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Solomon Islands, and the women in Vanuatu who benefitted from the solar energy project, amongst others.

Their stories are intertwined with those of UNDP Pacific colleagues in many ways in 2020, which was a challenging and difficult year for nearly everyone, with schools closed, businesses shut and people lost their jobs.

Finding a way forward from the COVID-19 pandemic is the ultimate aim at this time and the challenge of improving people’s lives after this crisis will be greater than ever. In the words of Administrator Achim Steiner, ‘listening to and working with the people closest to the big issues of our day – from the climate crisis to inequality and conflict – we will find a way forward together.’

To read more about the UNDP Pacific Office 2020 Annual Report, you can access it here.

For more information or media inquiries please contact:

Emily Moli, Knowledge Communications Analyst, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, Email:  emily.moli@undp.org Mob: +679 722 5301, Twitter: @emily_moli

Setaita Tavanabola, Communications Associate, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, Email: setaita.tavanabola@undpo.org, Twitter: @tavasetaita

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