United Nations opens Joint Presence Office in Nauru

09 Sep 2010

(Yaren, Nauru) – The Joint Presence of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNFPA – United Nations Population Fund and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was today launched in Nauru by the President, Honourable Marcus Stephens.

Heralding the start of closer relations between the UN, the Government and the people of Nauru, the Joint Presence launch began with a flag raising ceremony at the Government Buildings in Yaren.

Attending the event was the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Mr Knut Ostby, the UNICEF Representative Dr Isiye Ndombi and the UNFPA Representative and Pacific Sub-Regional Director Mr Dirk Jena, senior Government officials, Diplomats and civil society representatives.

In his opening statement, the President, Honourable Marcus Stephens emphasized the need for partnership in development to bring about the necessary results for Nauru. He said: “We firmly believe that the establishment of a UN Office on Nauru will allow for a much stronger and more positive relationship between Nauru and the United Nations as well as greater cooperation and better coordination of our efforts with the UN organizations and agencies. I am sure that the establishment of a UN Office in Nauru today will lead to better understanding of our development goals and challenges and yield greater and more tangible outcomes.”

This strengthened presence comes after extensive national consultations beginning in 2006 in response to clearly articulated needs by the Government of Nauru. This is the eighth such initiative of the UN in efforts to have greater presence in the Pacific countries fostering closer relations with partners through harmonized delivery of the UN’s programmes.

UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP RR Knut Ostby said, the Joint Presence in Nauru represents a unique collaboration among UN agencies towards the achievement of national development priorities and meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. “This is truly a historic occasion. After extensive consultations and preparations, United Nations will now have a home in Nauru.

“The Joint Presence will help us to strengthen the partnership between Nauru and the UN in three critical ways, first, through the ‘presence’ itself, we are hoping to be able to maintain policy and programme dialogue with counterparts on a daily basis. This will help us to understand local developments better and improve our programme responsiveness. Secondly, because this is the “joint” presence, UNDP, UNFPA and UNICEF will be in better position to offer to the Government and other partners more integrated more effective solutions.  Last, but not the least, we expect that the UN Joint Presence in Nauru will be a useful gateway for the Nauruan Government, connecting the country to the UN’s global resources for technical assistance and policy advice,” Mr Ostby said.

Mr Dirk Jena, UNFPA Representative and Director Pacific Sub-Regional Office based in Suva, Fiji, said the Joint Presence provides an opportunity to work more closely with other UN agencies to support Nauru implement its development priorities as outlined in its development plans. “By supporting a UN presence in Nauru, UNFPA has strengthened its commitment to providing results based on technical and programme assistance in the areas of population and development, reproductive health and gender,” he said.

UNICEF Representative, Dr Isiye Ndombi said “UNICEF as the UN lead agency for children will support the Government of Nauru in four main areas which are, reporting on and accountability for the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC); accelerating results towards the targets of Millennium Development Goal 4; collaborating with the government and partners to expand and implement civil registration with special focus on birth registration; and, improving the enrolment and quality of primary education.”

The new office in Yaren will be headed by the Country Development Manager, who will be actively engaged in making sure that at the country level, UNDP, UNICEF and UNFPA will collaborate more and focus on the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals with close alignment to Nauru’s Development Plan.

UNDP, UNFPA and UNICEF have now established Joint Presences in Nauru, the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and Palau. Guiding the work of the Joint Presence is a common, multi-country United Nations Development Framework (UNDAF) which was produced in consultation with our regional and national partners. This will guide UN development activities in 14 Pacific countries during 2008-2012.