Secretary, Office of Te Beretitenti (President) in the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr Ikam Maate

Secretary for Foreign Affairs & Immigration, Mr Michael Foon

Your Excellency High Commissioner for Kiribati, David Teaabo

Senior Officials of the Government of Kiribati

Colleagues

Ladies and Gentlemen

Warm Greetings, Bula Vinaka, Mauri and good morning.

I am very delighted to welcome you to this first Annual Programme Review between UNDP and the Government of Kiribati.

It has been some time since we have met in person because of the border closures associated with COVID-19. Thanks to technology, it is possible for us to meet today albeit virtually. I am positive that by embracing this new normal, we can continue to strengthen our partnership.

Having said that, I thank you for this opportunity to assess the broad impact of UNDP’s interventions in Kiribati. We are committed to supporting Kiribati’s development goals and I am optimistic that despite the challenges we faced in 2020 and the beginning of 2021, as we struggle to programme, in the context of the pandemic – we will continue to work together closely and achieve greater impact on the ground.

Because a big part of our work in Kiribati in 2021, is to build on strengths and success stories, the Annual Programme Review exercise will review 2020 results and lessons learned as well as share our 2021 plan. Going forward, we need to apply lessons learnt, best practices while simultaneously managing risks and addressing gaps for us to better navigate these uncertain times. It is important to remain agile and innovate as we move forward.

I am looking forward to learning about your Government priorities in 2021, and to identifying opportunities to enhance UNDP’s collaboration with Kiribati.

UNDP prides its wealth of technical expertise, its wide range of donor partners, and deep experience in the Pacific, something we want to leverage to enhance our activities in Kiribati and help accelerate your achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Our focus on improving the prospects of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups can assist the Kiribati Government in its efforts to ensure that no one is left behind.

In addition to our ongoing country and work related to effective governance, inclusive economic growth, and resilience and sustainable development, we can work collaboratively with you and donors to address your priorities.

We remain committed to supporting the implementation of the Paris Agreement in the context of Kiribati such as through the Climate Promise where we are currently supporting the revision of your Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

We also have the SIDS Offer which focuses on Digitalization, Climate Action, and the Blue Economy. These are some of the areas which we see can reap the greatest returns in terms of sustainable development and achievement of the 2030 Agenda in the context of SIDS.

Additionally, the Addis Ababa Accord on financing for development establishes a strong foundation to further contribute to reaching the Global Goals.

I wish to emphasize that today is an opportunity to consider the impact of the total sum of UNDP’s support to Kiribati and to identify entry points for strategic cooperation in 2021 and beyond.

While we believe we have contributed to positive results in Kiribati, in partnership with your Government efforts, those of other development partners, and stakeholders and CSOs, we are also very open to making adjustments where we can, to deliver the best possible outcomes for the people of Kiribati.

We are determined to advance gender equality in the region including in Kiribati by progressing inclusion in the formal financial sector and creating economic opportunities, and ensuring that women are empowered to address Climate change and disaster risk management.

We have a degree of flexibility in the current projects, and we can also adapt projects in the pipeline and tap into regional and global initiatives, to address issues or challenges that you may wish to identify.

Once again, be assured of UNDP’s commitment to our Kiribati country partnership. I look forward to this dialogue to becoming an annual event but any time you see the need to engage, feel free to reach out to us directly. Let’s continue to our strategic discussions to strengthen our cooperation in your beautiful and resilient country known for its rich and diverse marine resources and great natural beauty.

Your feedback today will be useful for us to measure our work and prepare to work together on the formulation of the next Pacific Regional Strategic Development Plan 2023-2027 which Kiribati in an integral part of.

Kam rabwa.

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