PAGE MAURITIUS TRANSITION CEREMONY
Celebrating 8 years of partnerships between the Mauritius Government and
the UN Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE)
It is truly a pleasure to welcome you all here to the PAGE Mauritius Transition and Sustainability Ceremony to celebrate EIGHT YEARS of collaboration between the Government of the Republic of Mauritius and the United Nations Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE). I am sure we will discuss the sustainability of what was initiated. I should mention that 5 out of those 8 years I was here. So, this is not only my last speech as we mark PAGE’s transition, but also one of my last speeches as I will be ending my mission in this country on 10th November.
What remarkable progress we have made together during this time! Specifically for the purpose of our gathering today, PAGE working closely with the government and partners to support Inclusive Green Economy and has focused on 3 outcome areas; national policy-making; sectoral reform; and strengthening capacity. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the national partners who have been active in the PAGE program including:
- the Ministry of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives,
- the Ministry of Environment, Solid Waste Management and Climate Change,
- the Ministry of Agro Industry and Food Security,
- the National Productivity and Competitiveness Council (NPCC),
- Civil Service College Mauritius, AND many others.
We thank you for demonstrating national leadership and ownership because without your vision and strong belief in pushing a green economy we would not achieve much. As partners we are here only to support a nation's priorities, so thank you for truly owning this programme. It makes us confident that the transition and sustainability of the gains are very possible.
I would also like to thank our development partners, notably:
- the EU who is among us today for the wonderful collaboration on this program but also on the wider campaign for a greener and sustainable Mauritius on many other fronts.
- German government for contributing to the current phase of PAGE, which focused on recovery from impact of COVID-19 and improving food systems. Thank you for the financial support and good cooperation.
I thank the UN Family for Mauritius and Seychelles for this joint effort, notably the five UN agencies participating in PAGE led by UNEP.
- The UN Environment Programme- UNEP, the UN Development Programme- UNDP, the International Labour Organization-ILO, the UN Industrial Development Organisation- UNIDO, and the UN Institute for Training and Research- UNITAR.
NB: The PAGE program is a joint programme between several agencies. This is something the UN encourages, three, four or so agencies doing a programme together to promote unity in action
We appreciate the other members of the partnership that I have not been able to mention as the list is long, including private sector, civil society organizations, the academia, media and others.
Thanks to Asha who started coordinating PAGE and Joya who is supporting the coordination now.
Inclusive Green Economy and the Goals
Mauritius was one of the first countries to join PAGE in 2014 to support the country’s vision of an inclusive, sustainable, and high-growth economy. The importance of the decision of the government to move towards an inclusive green economy cannot be underestimated. To quote UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres:
“The green economy is the future. It fosters prosperity, creates decent work, addresses root causes of conflict and contributes to the full enjoyment of all human rights – not only civil and political, but also economic, social and cultural.”
In short, an Inclusive Green Economy is essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda by eradicating poverty while safeguarding the environment – the basis for human health, well-being, and development.
Mauritius has developed from a low-income, agriculturally based economy to a middle-income diversified economy with growing industrial, financial, and tourism sectors and a stable political situation since its independence in 1968. Important economic sectors include renewable energy and smart use of the ocean, climate-resilient agriculture, tourism and hospitality, textiles and apparel, financial services, information and communications technology, and property development.
The expertise and mandate of five UN agencies that comprise PAGE: UNEP, UNDP, ILO, UNIDO, and UNITAR have supported Mauritius to achieve the country’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and several SDGs, including SDG: 1 (No Poverty), 4 (Quality Education), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), 13 (Climate Action) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).
Mauritius has also directly recognized PAGE as contributing to its achievements in the Voluntary National Review (VNR) of its SDGs during the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF). Specifically, Mauritius in collaboration with its partners PAGE has:
- conducted national green economy modelling to inform national development planning; co-organised, with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, the national Green Economy Forum 2018, mobilised stakeholders in government, the business community and civil society around policymaking and investment issues to support the IGE transition.
- supported the development of the Marshall Plan on Poverty’s Social Contract by which families at the highest risk of slipping into extreme poverty became eligible to receive financial assistance; PAGE also developed and provided training on the Tracking of Public Sector Environmental Expenditures, which has subsequently been used by the government to budget and track climate change-related expenditures.
- supported the training of trainers and selected SMEs on clean production techniques; built national capacity to conduct analysis and anticipation of future skills needed for green jobs and to develop appropriate training programmes.
In response to priorities articulated by the government in the wake of the COVID pandemic, PAGE is providing additional support targeted to a green economic recovery in Mauritius following a proposal developed in late 2020. The work currently ongoing under the Green Recovery Fund is focused on sustainable food systems and food security. I followed some of the conversations during the food systems dialogue and saw the recommendations in the national food systems pathway.
Conclusion - The Transition/Sustainability /Continuity and Ownership Ceremony
Despite these successes, there is still more work to do. This transition ceremony marks not only the end of PAGE’s core engagement in Mauritius but provides an opportunity to trigger discussions around how work can be taken forward. On Day 2 breakout sessions on thematic sectors will be held to encourage participants to share good practices & challenges and to identify future opportunities to bring about change and create an enabling environment for the continued transition to an inclusive green economy. The Mauritius Sustainability Plan will be a guide to continue the transition. PAGE has been able to create Agents of Change/Sustainability Champions at different levels, who should be encouraged to continue the work that has begun to continue the building blocks.
I would like to end my speech by saying that this marks the opening of greater opportunities for Mauritius in sustaining its achievements toward a green economy. Rest assured the UN will continue to be your partner in
a green recovery and sustainable development where people, nature, and economies can all thrive.
I wish you all a good two days of inspiring presentations and fruitful deliberations.