The newly appointed United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator in Mauritius and Seychelles, Ms Lisa Simrique Singh, paid a courtesy call, yesterday morning, on the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, Home Affairs and External Communications, Minister for Rodrigues, Outer Islands and Territorial Integrity, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, at the New Treasury Building, in Port Louis.
The UN Resident Coordinator took up her post on 11 November 2022, following her appointment by the UN Secretary-General, Mr Antonio Guterres. Previously, she served as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative ad interim in the Republic of Chad. Before, she worked as UNDP Director of Programme and Deputy Resident Representative in the Republic of Mali.
Ms Lisa Simrique Singh has years of experience in international development in Asia and Africa continents, and significant senior policy expertise, advising governments on issues of economic transformation, regional integration, sustainable development and disaster and climate risk resilience.
In a statement, after the meeting with the Prime Minister, the UN Resident Coordinator detailed her mission which aims at ensuring that the works of the various UN agencies present in Mauritius, such as the UNDP, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the International Organisation for Migration, the World Health Organisation, the UN Population Fund, were strongly aligned with the priority of Mauritius. She mentioned her expectations for the coordination to result in tangible outcomes to support the country in its ambition and on its pathway to be a leading resilient economy which included all the population, in line with the UN agenda not to leave anyone behind.
“My mandate here is really to ensure that we position ourselves at the UN to serve the population of the country,” she stressed.
Regarding the cooperation framework between the UN and the Government of Mauritius, Mrs Lisa Simrique Singh stated that they were in the motion of preparing the next country document that would be guiding the next five-year programme. “The cooperation framework is a five-year document where we discuss with the civil society, the government, and with all stakeholders to ensure that their priorities are brought in and to allow the people to tell us where we need to go,” she said.
Speaking on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were formulated in 2015, Ms Lisa Simrique Singh pointed out that there were only seven years to go to achieve these Goals. She underscored, however, that the situation on a global level is different and more challenging than in 2015, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the conflict in Ukraine, and the escalating rise in the prices of commodities.
The UN Resident Coordinator highlighted that these issues are even more challenging for Mauritius as a Small Island Developing State. She thus underlined the importance of supporting the country to better respond, to better tap, and to better manage.
Ms Lisa Simrique Singh talked also of the necessity to look ahead to whatever kind of development vision that Mauritius has in terms of making sure to attract human capital and resources as the country was strategically very well positioned and could be the gateway to East Africa. She added that the country did very well in terms of managing the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to other countries.