Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett and Representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Marianna Flach signed an agreement for the implementation of the 2014 annual work-plan, which will allow for specific interventions and support programmes to be executed by the Ministries of Education, Health, Human Services and Social Security and Culture Youth and Sport.
The annual work plan is part of a five-year country programme which is developed collaboratively between the Government of Guyana and UNICEF in pursuit of the rights of the child, and gender equality.
During brief remarks at the signing ceremony at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, South Road, Minister Rodrigues-Birkett underscored the importance of the signing, noting that it was very significant for Guyana.
She said that UNICEF’s support is very important to Guyana, especially for areas that focus on improving the lives of children in health, education and their personal welfare.
She further stated that over the years UNICEF and Guyana have worked closely and, very noticeable have been tremendous results from various programmes executed.
However, this five-year plan’s focus is on evidence-based programmes and Minister Rodrigues said that this is very important for the country since it is set to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), in areas such as poverty and hunger, and HIV/ AIDS with special emphasis on equity.
Minister Rodrigues noted that the hinterland is considered the most vulnerable areas and special emphasis will also be placed on those areas.
Meanwhile, Flach stated that UNICEF will continue to work with the Government in key areas such as health and education; however she said that the attention will be shifting from primary school children to secondary students.
Flach commended Government for its effort in trying to achieve the MDGs, especially in education and health. She mentioned the National Youth Policy which is in the process of being drafted, and which complements what UNICEF is doing to assist in improving the lives of young people.
Flach also highlighted the issue of child abuse and neglect, stating that UNICEF will continue to work with Government to ensure that these issues are dealt with.
Guyana was elected to the Executive board of the UNICEF for a period of three years from 2013-2015, at elections held in April 2012, and is among five members from the group of Latin American and Caribbean countries on the Executive Board.