Log In

Reset Password

UN offers Bermuda help in road to recovery

First Prev 1 2 Next Last

A United Nations official has admitted scepticism that the development of a fintech industry on the island will help those Bermudians most in need.

The observation comes from a Dutch economist involved in a UN mission designed to benefit Bermuda and four other island countries.

At least two of the countries have demonstrated their belief that relationship building with the UN agency could lead to positive benefits.

And for Bermuda, agreement could mean offsetting unprecedented job displacement, social upheaval and soaring debt.

While conceding that any addition to Bermuda’s two-leg business model would be an improvement, the official said the UN would like to investigate the island’s marginalised communities; determine who in Bermuda is being left behind and how they can be helped.

The observation came during a lengthy zoom interview with Olaf J. de Groot, the PhD-educated senior economist at the Office of the UN Resident Co-ordinator for Jamaica, Bahamas, Bermuda, Turks & Caicos and Cayman Islands.

Dr De Groot said he knew little about Bermuda’s fintech plans, but thought such an industry would help those already set to succeed in life.

He admitted he was still trying to get completely caught up on Bermuda, but he had some initial views which more data would have to confirm.

He said: “Despite its status as a very high income country … Bermuda still faces substantial challenges in terms of socioeconomic development, but also just in terms of vulnerability when it comes to climate, when it comes to crises, like Covid or the financial crisis.

“As a very small economy, but also a very concentrated economy, and a not very, highly diversified economy, it does run a lot of risks.”

Meanwhile, he told The Royal Gazette that Bermuda is eligible for a United Nations programme that could help the island make huge strides in its economic comeback from the Covid pandemic, and spur broad economic development.

Bermuda has been invited to join Caribbean countries in signing the Multi Country Sustainable Development Co-operation Framework.

The proposal for Bermuda is awaiting ratification through the UN agency and a Bermuda agreement, prior to what he hoped would be a final signing ceremony.

But Bahamas has already agreed and they had their signing ceremony last month.

Jamaica’s ceremony was held last week Tuesday.

Kamina Johnson Smith, Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and a senator, said the framework will address economic and climate change resilience, together with shared prosperity, equality, sustainable resource management, peace, law and order.

She was quoted as saying: “We maintain and thereby entrust ourselves to a process that suggests, that with a common vision, with shared values, we will, indeed, be able to advance without leaving anyone behind.”

The partnership with the UN involves multilateral approaches to help recover from the pandemic and to implement strategies to attain sustainable development goals.

The framework provides a platform for countries to access the global expertise and experience of the UN System at both the country and subregional levels.

One hurdle may be convincing the powers that be that any project for such a tiny and “rich” island should have any priority in UN programming, when there is broader scale suffering, worldwide.

Ending poverty is one of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals with an estimated 700 million people still living in extreme poverty on less than $1.90 a day.

But there already seems to be some measure of support for Bermuda’s involvement.

The UN organisation is also waiting for Bermuda’s response to Common Country Analysis Reports on the island, prepared over the last two years – the latest within recent weeks.

The CCA is the UN system’s independent, impartial and collective assessment of a country’s situation for its own use in developing the co-operation framework.

Representatives have already met with government officials, and discussions are still needed on how the island can provide the type of data available for country assessment.

A report on the framework states: “(It) is the most important instrument for planning and implementation of the UN development activities towards the fulfilment of the 2030 Agenda.”

The UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is aimed at ending poverty in all its forms and developing “a world of universal respect for human rights and human dignity, the rule of law, justice, equality and non-discrimination”.

Olaf J. de Groot: senior economist at the Office of the UN Resident Co-ordinator for Jamaica, Bahamas, Bermuda, Turks & Caicos and Cayman Islands (Photograph supplied)

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published March 21, 2022 at 2:20 pm (Updated March 21, 2022 at 3:17 pm)

UN offers Bermuda help in road to recovery

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon