Remarks by Ruby Sandhu-Rojon at the joint UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board

Jun 1, 2017

Remarks by Ms. Ruby Sandhu-Rojon

Deputy Regional Director, UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa

Joint UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board

June Regular Session 2017

New York


Mr. President of the UNDP Executive Board,

Distinguished Members of the Executive Board,

Representative of the Government of Cameroon,

Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,


I am pleased to submit to this Annual Session of the Joint UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board the Country Programme Document for Cameroon.

As per the regular practice, the Country Programme Document has been formulated in close consultation with the partner government and a wide range of stakeholders, including UN sister agencies, multilateral and bilateral partners, civil society, and the private sector. The programme responds to the national development priorities – including Vision 2035 – and is designed within a broader framework of partnerships, allowing UNDP to focus on its comparative advantage.

Mr. President, Distinguished members of the Executive Board,

Since its independence in 1960, Cameroon has been the pole of stability in the Central Africa region.  It is the leading economy in the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa and the second-largest economy in the Economic Community of Central African States.

Although Cameroon has shown resilience in the face of twin shocks – namely, the oil price slump and heightened insecurity – the country will find it difficult to achieve inclusive economic and employment growth unless new opportunities are identified. These include the exploitation of neglected minerals; strengthening the value chain of local products; and supporting local financial institutions to provide products and services to facilitate access to credit, especially for women.

Cameroon has also faced the challenges of regional crises that have brought an influx of refugees to the far north, east and Adamaoua regions, as well as attacks by Boko Haram which have led to further displacement. Violent extremism has grown in some areas due to a complex interplay of development factors. There is a need therefore to link up sustainable and inclusive economic development, with resilience to social, economic and environmental shocks. And, specifically, to take a development-focused approach to prevention of violent extremism which goes beyond security interventions.

A new electoral cycle also begins in 2018 for which women, youth and marginalized groups’ full involvement will be essential. Sensitizing these groups regarding the importance of their participation to ensure that their needs are properly considered is critical.

Mr. President, Distinguished members of the Executive Board,

To respond to the challenges outlined, UNDP’s Country Programme for the next three years focuses on: (i) improved equitable access of women and youth to opportunities for decent work, and (ii) greater resilience to withstand environmental, social and economic shocks.

It is our expectation that this will lead to more inclusive and sustainable economic growth, more accountable national institutions, greater social cohesion, enhanced participation in development and political processes, and reduced vulnerability.

In pursuing these objectives with partners, UNDP will leverage its comparative advantages – including poverty reduction; capacity development; governance; natural resource management; early recovery; disaster risk reduction; and social cohesion and peacebuilding.

UNDP will work through key ministerial departments and councils to build the capacity of local institutions and communities to manage social conflicts and natural disasters, but also to undertake SDG- development planning and provide high quality services.

As recommended in the Assessment of Development Results, the Country Programme will target better its initiatives. Specifically, the Programme will target sustainable development goals 1, 5, 8, 13, 15 and 16 and will target vulnerable populations – including young people, refugees, internally displaced, and women. Women comprise over half of the population and contribute to 40 per cent of national economic activity. Yet they are economically vulnerable, having limited access to financial resources, means of production and decent work. Unemployment and under-employment – particularly among women and young people – remain major challenges.

The Programme, which amounts to approximately US$ 37 million, will run from 2018 to 2020.

Mr. President, Distinguished members of the Executive Board,

In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Members of the Board for their support to UNDP in Africa.

I thank you for your attention.

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