Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has hailed India’s leadership in supporting vulnerable nations in the Commonwealth, describing it as an “area of hope” for all member countries.
At a virtual ceremony on Monday, marking the third anniversary of the India-United Nations Development Partnership Fund, the Secretary-General praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for establishing the fund and “offering opportunity and hope to Commonwealth states and those who work to support them”.
Addressing the meeting, she said: “As 34 of the world’s small island developing states and least developed countries are members of the Commonwealth, India’s ambitious programme of support to them through the fund is a bold statement of intent that is greatly welcomed and needed.
“It is, despite the challenges that we all face, both a declaration of hope and a demonstration of values. The sense of partnership, support and multilateralism embodied by the UN-India Fund is needed now even more than ever. This is why I believe that India’s growing leadership role in the world is also, as demonstrated by this fund, an area of hope for us all.”
The India-United Nations Development Partnership Fund was set up in 2017 and seeks to support sustainable development projects led by developing countries in the Global South.
In addition to a multi-year contribution of $100 million from the government of India, a further $50 million is earmarked within the fund as a “Commonwealth window” for developing member countries, particularly Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries.
The fund recently approved $550,000 to support The Bahamas in managing its high level of debt by establishing a robust legal, institutional and policy framework for debt management and developing the government bond market.
Another tranche of $550,000 for Barbados is in the final stages of approval, which aims to create jobs and growth in the country’s energy sector, plugging in local people and businesses at all levels of the value chain.
The Commonwealth is an implementing partner for both projects.
The Secretary-General continued: “I am thankful that the Commonwealth Secretariat is now engaged as an implementing partner. We look forward to developing this capacity further and to continue to deepen cooperation moving forward.”
The milestone builds on an agreement signed between the Commonwealth Secretariat and the UN Office for South-South Cooperation to foster South-South and triangular cooperation among their common member states.