The Australian Government will support the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Mauritius to implement projects in collaboration with Stakeholders to strengthen responses to gender-based violence, promote gender equality and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
The new partnership was signed by HE Ms Jenny Dee, Australian High Commissioner and Ms Amanda Serumaga, UNDP Resident Representative at a ceremony held on 01 July 2020, in the presence of the Hon Mrs Kalpana Devi Koonjoo-Shah, Minister of Gender Equality and Family Welfare, and Hon. MLP Anjela Speville, Chairperson of the Rodrigues Regional Assembly.
Under the agreement, the Australian High Commission through its Direct Aid Program will provide funding towards the implementation of Pillar 1 (Component 2) of the UNDP Country Programme 2017-2020 on “Addressing Challenges to Gender Equality” with programmes aligned in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Hon. Mrs Kalpana Devi Koonjoo-Shah, Minister of Gender Equality and Family Welfare laid emphasis on her firm belief that women and girls, everywhere, must have equal rights and opportunity, and be able to live free from violence and discrimination. She stressed on her unflinching determination as Minister of Gender Equality and Family Welfare to reduce all forms of discrimination towards women. In that context, she welcomed the sustained collaboration of International Partners, namely the UNDP and the Australian Embassy, to support her Ministry in its initiatives to achieving gender equality, especially at a juncture where implementation of projects is really difficult due to budget limitations. She announced that she will be coming up shortly with a National Gender Policy, to engender an all-inclusive legal, policy and administrative framework that will help promote gender equality and equity as an integral dimension of inclusive and sustainable development.
Mrs Spéville stated that the funding being allocated to the Rodrigues Regional Assembly is timely as it will contribute to launching the work of the SDG Committee. It is especially even more timely in the post Covid-19 context, where the strict lock-down measures have impacted in one way or the other on different socio-economic sectors, including tourism. She states, “In Rodrigues, we are proud of our local resources and aspire to building resilience as well as safeguarding our natural resources, livelihoods and empowering our social capital. We will calibrate our Covid-19 Responses to achieve the SDGs. Having baseline data, through the research to be conducted with the support of the UNDP and the Australian High Commission will, therefore, be of utmost importance in this endeavour.”
High Commissioner Dee said the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the challenges women face across economic, security, health and safety spheres. “Australia is pleased to partner with UNDP in working closely with the Mauritian Government at a time when there are increasing risks of gender-based violence as a result of the pandemic.”
Ms. Serumaga mentioned that UNDP engages itself to sustain its actions in Mauritius and Rodrigues to speed up Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment initiatives as the cornerstone of Sustainable Development. She states, “We need to speed-up our actions and align our resources towards targeted programmes for women’s empowerment and gender equality. This is especially significant in the post COVID-19 situation whereby our in-country analysis reveals that women will bear the brunt of the pandemic in a more disproportionate manner within the overall socio-economic landscape.”
Notes for the Editor:
Australian DAP: The Australian Direct Aid Program (DAP) is a small-grants scheme that aims to provide funding to non-profit organisations working in local communities on activities that support sustainable and inclusive development targeting key UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Over the past five years, the Australian High Commission has supported more than 70 DAP projects in Mauritius (including Rodrigues), Comoros, Madagascar and Seychelles. Key priority areas targeted under DAP comprise Women’s Economic Empowerment, Human Rights and Governance, Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaption, Health and Education.
The Australian High Commission is providing AUD35,000 (MUR 910,000) to UNDP (Mauritius) to support implementation of its Project entitled “Transformation Shift towards Gender Equality and Equity in Mauritius”. It builds on efforts by the UNDP and the Parliamentary Gender Caucus, with expertise on domestic violence rehabilitation programmes from the South Australian Department of Corrections and the Australia Workplace Gender Equality Agency.
In 2020, the High Commission’s DAP funds will also support Phase III of the Mentoring and Coaching Program for women entrepreneurs in the Western Indian Ocean deployed by the Association Mauricienne Chefs d’Entreprise (AMFCE) in collaboration with Australian women entrepreneurs.
Information on the Australian Government’s development program is available at https://mauritius.embassy.gov.au/plut/Development_Cooperation.html.
About UNDP: The United Nations Development Programme works in about 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. We help countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities and build resilience in order to sustain development results.
The UNDP has been working in Mauritius for close to 50 years in partnership with the Government of Mauritius, the private sector, academia and civil society towards enhanced capacity and technical advisory support towards Sustainable Development. The UNDP Country Programme 2017-2020 is focused on promoting inclusive development and public sector efficiency; and climate change mitigation and adaptation. This project - Transformation shift towards Gender Equality and Equity in Mauritius - forms part of the UNDP broader Country Program on Inclusive Development and Public Sector Efficiency for Mauritius.
1 July 2020