The UNCT Family Retreat, held at the Savoy Hotel in the idyllic island of Seychelles, spread over one week, with the participation of delegates from diverse UN Organisations and Government Officials uniting for the first time to achieve as 'Delivering as One'.
The retreat aimed at building on the lessons learnt from the previous years, agreeing on the UNCT's collective strategic engagement within the context of regional framework, UN reform and support countries to achieve SDGs. Given the high level of engagement of the stakeholders and the regional dimension of the event, the UNCT retreat this year welcomed a panoply of personalities namely, Heads of Agencies, Agencies Focal Persons, Regional Directors, Regional Coordinators and WHO Representatives from four countries of the sub-region.
The event kick-started with vital side event as from Monday April 15, 2019 and ended up with a visit to Praslin Island for underpinning capacity building efforts. On April 17-18, 2019, the UNCT Retreat sustained its critical role in promoting valuable support towards capacity building efforts, in fostering policy dialogue, advocacy, regional integration, sharing of best practices and identifying lessons and innovations, and back research and data analysis in addition to various on-going projects and programs.
During the two days retreat, high-level panel discussions and presentations with all heads of UN Agencies of the region, government officials, parliamentarians, representatives of the private sector, including a Skype call to the DCO office for updates on the UN Reforms specificities took place.
"There has never been an attempt to meet as a group before and this is a first endeavour for RAs in the region, who may have common issues, to come together. This retreat also allows Head of Agencies to understand the regional dynamic and move forward as a family while taking into consideration the most vulnerable," declared Her Excellency Ambassador Christine Umotoni, UN Resident Coordinator for Seychelles and Mauritius.
Another imminent event that marked all attendees present was the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide against the Tutsi at Seychelles Institute of Teacher Education (SITE).
The commemoration is officially a UN day that can be celebrated on any other day within 100 days from the date of the Genocide. For Seychelles, the commemoration was organized on April 16. This event was chaperoned by the UN Country team, the James R. Mancham Peace and Diplomacy Research Institute of University of Seychelles and the Department of Foreign Affairs. The commemoration encompassed a heartfelt candle lighting session, poem reading about the Genocide, gripping testimonials from survivors of the genocide and a minute of silence in memory of those who perished in this dreadful event.
Prior to the official launch of the retreat, a preparatory meeting with key UN representatives to brief on the main objectives of the retreat, a courtesy visit to His Excellency, the President of Seychelles, Mr. Danny Faure who welcomed the UN delegation in the morning of Tuesday April 16, 2019 at the State House of Seychelles. Moreover, the UNFPA's 50th anniversary was celebrated and the State of World Population Report 2019 was launched on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the ICPD.
The UNCT Family Retreat came up with the following key outcomes:
Strengthened collaboration with the Government of Seychelles following the courtesy visit to His Excellency the President of the Seychelles who offered to host the UNCT office in Seychelles.
Launch of the SPF Steering Committee of Seychelles and strategies for implementation of the SPFs for Mauritius and Seychelles.
Adoption of a sub-regional framework to cover Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zanzibar so as to manage the framework as a UN family
Joint SDG project proposal for the SDG Fund initiated and the time frame to finalize the proposal sorted.
Strategies for consolidating the collaboration between UN Organisations, Public and Private sectors, Multilateral and bilateral agencies to work in a unified process to tackle all issues hampering the way towards achieving the SDG's discussed and adopted for implementation.
Presentation of the current UN Reform held and the next steps forward discussed with the DCO via Skype.
Elaboration of the UNCT joint actions plan and programmes for 2019 presented and endorsed.
The visit to Praslin was also fundamental to the UNCT Retreat members, who experienced the authenticity of Seychelles and spent quality-bonding time with colleagues who are part of the UNCT Family.