The United Nations and The Government of Bermuda launch project to spur economic activity for those left fartherest behind by COVID-19: women, youth and people living with disabilities
Her Excellency Ms. Rena Lalgie, Governor of Bermuda greeting Bermuda Government and United Nations officials – (2nd left) UN Resident Coordinator for Jamaica, Bermuda and the Bahamas, Dr. Garry Conille; The Hon Tinee Furbert, Minister of Social Development and Seniors; Ms Tonni Brodber, Representative, UN Women Multi-Country Office – Caribbean and Ms. Denise Antonio, UNDP Resident Representative, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands. Photo compliments the Government of Bermuda.
Hamilton, Bermuda: With a starting injection of close to one million dollars, the United Nations and the Government of Bermuda put their new cooperation framework into action by launching a programme to close the business financing gaps that particularly affect women, the youth and people living with disabilities.
The “Building Back Equal through Innovative Financing for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Joint Programme”, is funded by the UN Joint SDG Fund, implemented by UN Women and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Governments of Bermuda and The Bahamas.
The project support is aligned with the priorities of both Governments of Bermuda and The Bahamas for promoting and advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women, noting that promoting the economic, social, cultural, and political empowerment of women and youth has the potential to contribute to overall positive development outcomes.
This multi-country project expected to catalyse millions in funding, is intended to pilot innovative financing for gender equality; to showcase how innovative financing vehicles, digital platforms, and the tools and frameworks of the Women’s Empowerment Principles and the Gender Seal can be leveraged to close the financing gaps that women and youth face and create greater market access in sectors such as agriculture, sustainable tourism, and creative and cultural industries.
Government of Bermuda and United Nations officials at the UN Joint SDG Fund Innovative Financing for Gender Equality Project Launch for Bermuda. (7th from right to left) – UN Resident Coordinator for Jamaica, Bermuda and the Bahamas, Dr. Garry Conille; Her Excellency Ms. Rena Lalgie, Governor of Bermuda; The Hon Tinee Furbert, Minister of Social Development and Seniors; The Hon. Dennis Lister, JP, MP, The Speaker of the House of Assembly; Ms Tonni Brodber, Representative, UN Women Multi-Country Office – Caribbean; Ms. Denise Antonio, UNDP Resident Representative, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands and 5th from right) Mr Robert Almeida, Managing Partner, Portland Private Equity | Photo compliments the Government of Bermuda
UN Resident Coordinator for Jamaica, Bermuda and the Bahamas, Dr. Garry Connille said:
“Today’s launch of this joint programme is evidence to the value of formalized UN engagement. Truly, the Joint SDG Fund and the Build Back Equal Project reflects UN Multi-Country Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework in action. I am elated today, that our partnership has designed and is prepared to implement a transformative joint programme to benefit Bermudians - especially women and youth. As we pilot this project in Bermuda, we will also be responsible for sharing the lessons learned and good practices with your Caribbean neighbours. Bermuda – I look forward to personally telling the successes of your story.”
Minister of Social Development and Seniors, The Hon. Tinee Furbert JP MP in her remarks noted the Joint Programme will help Bermuda to build forward in a context where women reported considerably higher rates of underemployment - 3,250 women compared to 1727 men.
“The Bermuda Government will continue to engage with businesses and organizations which seek to create gender equality and empower women and girls, promote sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, and ultimately build a resilient infrastructure which promotes inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fosters innovation,” Minister Furbert said.
UN Women Multi Country Office – Caribbean Representative, Tonni Brodber delivers remarks at the launch of the UN Joint SDG Fund Innovative Financing for Gender Equality Project in Bermuda.
Representative, UN Women Multi-Country Office Caribbean, Tonni Brodber delivering remarks on behalf of the UNDP and UN Women – the programme implementing UN agencies – said the economic fallout from COVID-19 impacted some more severely than others, noting in the Caribbean tourism and service sectors jobs accounted for approximately 3 in 5 job losses in 2020.
“For UN Women and UNDP, empowerment, particularly economic empowerment is about people’s sense of dignity; their agency to pursue opportunities and livelihoods. If we are to be effective in resilience, to better rebound from shocks like COVID and rising energy prices, we must acknowledge how different people across societies are affected by beliefs about how they should be, whether we are talking about women and men, youth, or the elderly. Historically societies have not yet been able to fully benefit from the potential and contribution of women, especially women of certain groups, either because the work is deemed invisible or there is not sufficient access to skills and recourses for women to deliver on their potential”, Ms. Brodber said.
Leveraging partnerships has been identified as a strategic approach to address the economic crisis in the wake of the pandemic but also to ensure Bermuda, The Bahamas and all the countries are able to realise the Sustainable Development Goals priorities. To this end, private sector partner, Portland Private Equity has also come on board.
"We believe, supported by our experience, that Sustainability and Long-term Wealth Creation are inextricably linked", said Robert Almeida, Managing Partner of Portland Private Equity.
"Through its Portland Caribbean Fund III, Portland Private Equity will increase access to growth equity for high quality, scalable, impactful Caribbean Basin companies. By committing to apply a gender lens to its investment strategy, Portland Private Equity will help the Caribbean ‘Build Back Equal’ by increasing opportunities for financing for women owned or led businesses. We look forward to partnering with UN Women MCO – Caribbean on this programme, which will demonstrate how increasing innovative financing options can promote inclusive and sustainable development,” Mr. Almeida added.