Barbados Attends Housing & Urban Development Meeting

Minister of Housing, Lands and Maintenance, Dwight Sutherland 9right), and United Nations Habitat Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean, Elkin Velasquez, on the margins of the XXXI MUNIRVI General Assembly. (GP)

A delegation from Barbados, led by Minister of Housing, Lands and Maintenance, Dwight Sutherland, attended the XXXI General Assembly of Ministers and High Level Authorities for Housing and Urban Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (MINURVI) in Santiago, Chile, from December 5 to 6.

The Assembly is held annually and provides an opportunity for Ministers and High Level Authorities responsible for housing and sustainable urban development to discuss, exchange experiences and suggest solutions to the issues and challenges faced in the Latin American and Caribbean sub region.

While there, Minister Sutherland was part of a panel which focused on climate change and the use of renewable energy.  He highlighted the strides made by Barbados utilising solar photovoltaics to make home financing more affordable, the recent debt for nature swap, and made a plea for climate financing.    

In his closing remarks on the final day, Minister Sutherland reiterated the need for continued collaboration among member countries and the need to speak as a unified voice through the MINURVI grouping in order to access climate financing when approaching international financing institutions, noting that it would augur well for the region.

At the end of the conference, Barbados was elected as one of the three Vice Presidents for MINURVI, a grouping of 33 states in Latin America and the Caribbean. Barbados will have responsibility for Solidarity, and will be in charge of encouraging and boosting participation among MINURVI member countries, particularly those that have been unable to regularly participate in previous Assemblies.  

On the margins of the MINURVI General Assembly, Minister Sutherland held bilateral discussions with the United Nations Habitat Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean, Elkin Velasquez.

The points discussed revolved around advancing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two entities.  

Cabinet has already approved the signing of the MOU, which is expected to form the basis for the establishment of a Programme Office of UN Habitat to be established in Barbados in January 2024, once agreed.  

This Office would assist Barbados and the Caribbean region in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr. Sutherland and Mr. Velasquez agreed on the definition of the key thematic areas of the collaboration, as well as on the resource mobilisation strategy for which other relevant stakeholders and international cooperation agencies will be engaged, all under the umbrella of the United Nations team based in Bridgetown.

The ratification of the MOU will be finalised in the coming days, while a visit by the UN Habitat Regional Representative is scheduled tentatively for March, 2023.

Author: Government of Barbados


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