United Nations Resident Coordinator in Bahrain's speech on UN Day Celebration
Speech by the Mr Khaled El Mekwad, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Bahrain, on United Nations Day Celebration.
Your Excellency Dr. Shaikh Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Undersecretary for Political Affairs
It is my great pleasure to welcome you tonight on the occasion of the United Nations Day for the first time since I assumed my role as the United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Kingdom of Bahrain. On behalf of the United Nations Country Team in Bahrain, I thank you all for joining us in celebrating the 77th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations.
As you heard from the Secretary-General, today’s global challenges are immense, and our organization is being tested like never before. It is therefore important for us to take the time, today and every day, to recall and reflect on how nations came together almost eight decades ago, in the wake of an unprecedented global conflict and founded this unique organization aiming to achieve international peace and security.
Let us also reflect on and reaffirm the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter that have guided the work of the United Nations since its creation, and celebrate the organization’s achievements and contributions to development, peace, and security around the world.
Tonight, is the first time we have been able to collectively gather on United Nations Day since the onset of the Corona pandemic in 2020, which tested our health systems, economies, and societies and where everyone -with no exception- had to go through it globally.
Not a single country was spared by this unprecedented pandemic, and surely Bahrain was not immune to its negative impacts. However, thanks to its preparedness, proactiveness, and strategic response, appropriate measures were put in place timely and swiftly across all sectors utilizing a whole-of-government, and a whole-of-society approach.
At the same time, Bahrain successfully dealt with several challenges during its response, including repurposing its workforce, acquiring sufficient protective equipment, and reaching out to vulnerable populations.
I am pleased to note that Bahrain’s Corona response is being highlighted in several occasions as a success story worldwide, and as the country smoothly moves towards the post-pandemic phase, the United Nations in Bahrain remains a partner of choice to continue working with all stakeholders supporting the ongoing national recovery efforts.
These past years have also seen the UN go through transformational changes, starting with a reinvigorated Resident Coordinator System, and incorporating the new generation of Cooperation Frameworks to clearly articulate the United Nations collective response at the country level, based on the specific needs and realities on the ground; embodying the spirit of partnerships, fostering national ownership; and, allowing us to streamline our response as One United Nations, while ensuring that no one is left behind.
The United Nations and the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain signed the Cooperation Framework in 2021, which formally outlines our joint efforts in the country; in synergy with Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030 as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Ever since the signing of our cooperation framework, partnerships have been deepened, new opportunities have been explored and an increased number of United Nations agencies present on the ground have been pursued. We look forward to maintaining this pattern whenever possible and wish to thank the Government of Bahrain for supporting and facilitating the work of resident and nonresident UN entities.
Since the adoption of the Cooperation Framework, the UN Country Team has been able to support the Kingdom of Bahrain towards the implementation of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals and progressing on the human rights agenda, as well as the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment. This has been done through capacity development and the provision of policy advice, closely aligned with national development priorities. More specifically, the United Nations supported with technical assistance in the conservation of natural resources, strengthening climate change adaptation and mitigation capacities, in addition to improving food security and nutrition in the country. The United Nations also supported social sector policies and systems to help improve the delivery of services in the health, education, and urban development sectors, as well as in the protection of vulnerable groups. Strengthening the policy environment and capacity for economic diversification, employment creation, and increased resilience and innovation, was also prioritized through the work of the UN Country Team on the ground.
The United Nations will continue to support Bahrain’s efforts in multilateral initiatives, through regional and international partnerships, in addition to home-grown global initiatives such as the King Hamad Youth Empowerment Award to Achieve the SDGs, The Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al-Khalifa Global Award for Women’s Empowerment, and the Prince Mohammed bin Fahad International Foundation Insignia for Best Voluntary Work.
We also would like to recognize the proactive engagement of Bahrain with several United Nations mechanisms, in particular, the preparation of a second Voluntary National Review to report on SDGs progress in the Kingdom.
Furthermore, with regards to the United Nations development system reform, demanded by Member States and initiated by the Secretary-General, the United Nations Country Team and the Government of Bahrain are working closely together on the establishment of a Joint Country Pooled Fund in Bahrain [or, as we call it One Fund], to support the acceleration of the SDGs achievement by introducing coordinated and integrated solutions. The fund will help leverage private sector resources and explore innovative ways of development finance, including SDG bonds, and Islamic finance, among others.
In this regard, I cannot reiterate enough the imperative importance of our partners in achieving the results just mentioned, where all United Nations activities to date were implemented by at least one of our national stakeholders. Therefore, I am pleased to see that our Stakeholders, Development Partners, Private Sector, Civil Society, and Academia have joined us in celebration of our joint work tonight.
Finally, I would like to thank the United Nations Country Team and every colleague in the UN family in Bahrain, some of whom you may already know and some others behind the scenes, all working tirelessly, including our volunteers who have just been highlighted in the video, to uphold and achieve United Nations values, where without each and every member our work on the ground would cease to exist. Let us all continue working together to help shape an even better, more inclusive, sustainable, and prosperous Bahrain.
I thank you all.