Trinidad and Tobago reprioritised some of the US$7,356,767 (about $50 million) it received, mostly from the United Nations, to support the Government’s efforts to address the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The money was reprioritised early in 2020 to focus on health and education, the Ministry of Planning and Development said yesterday.

The money came through T&T’s Country Implementation Plan (CIP-TT), on national initiatives related to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2020, Many of the activities were centred around five of the SDGs, namely Zero Hunger, SDG 2; Good Health and Well-being, SDG 3; Quality Education, SDG 4 and Peace Justice and Strong Institutions, SDG 16.

This is according to the ‘United Nations (UN) Country Annual Results Report,’ released in March 2021, which was revealed during the Inaugural Joint National Steering Committee Meeting of the United Nations Multi-country Sustainable Development Framework (MSDF) on March 14. The meeting was facilitated virtually by the technical cooperation unit of the Ministry of Planning and Development, which included the United Nations country team, the Tobago House of Assembly and other supporting government agencies and stakeholder groups.

Speaking during the meeting, UN resident coordinator Marina Walter said education, food security and bringing the private sector in as a key partner in national development were key areas on the agenda still receiving attention for T&T.

Permanent secretary of the Planning Ministry Joanne Deoraj emphasised the need for all arms of government involved in T&T’s MSDF to continue to execute, coordinate and collaborate as a collective whole to epitomise T&T’s ‘whole of government’ approach to national development.

Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis said T&T’s ongoing partnership with the UN, along with the support received over the past year, is reflective of the Government’s commitment to the Country Implementation Plan for Trinidad and Tobago. CIP-TT is a plan of action with the UN for addressing several challenges affecting this country’s ability to develop in a sustainable way.

Robinson-Regis is responsible for reviewing and authorising the joint plan for each year on behalf of the Government.

In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Planning said some of the key areas to note regarding the 2020 Country Implementation Plan include the European Union funded Spotlight Initiative to address violence against women and girls, which received US$3.7 million for phase 1 last year, making T&T the largest recipient under this project geared towards alleviating gender-based violence in T&T. There was also significant work done regarding human trafficking and support for vulnerable populations.

Progress was made in youth support and entrepreneurialism, whereby T&T was selected as the first Caribbean country to implement Generation Unlimited (GenU), a global initiative that aims to transform education so young people become empowered with the skills that future employers, entrepreneurial ventures and economies demand.

The ministry said that with endorsement and support from the T&T Government, civil society, youth groups, and the private sector, GenU is appraising the T&T education sector’s capacity to deliver the skills the economy needs, with the aim of formulating action and investment plans to address key gaps while building an online ecosystem where young entrepreneurs can access support and high-value marketplaces.

Through the Food and Agriculture Organisation, plans were initiated to merge technology with food production, highlighting Government’s drive for food security and increased local food production in T&T.

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MAJORITY State-owned National Flour Mills (NFM) yesterday reported a 62.4 per cent decline in its after-tax profits for the first quarter of its 2021 financial.

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