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Pink Parliamentarians discuss gender equality and development Loop Barbados

The United Nations Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean welcomed 20 young women from Pink Parliament Barbados, a civil society initiative, to UN House on July 20 for a half-day program hosted in partnership with the High Commission of Canada.

The visit, which was among events to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, featured an interactive discussion on the work of the UN in the Caribbean, progress towards the 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the subregion, and the role states such as Canada play in multilateral forums.

The day began with a tour of UN House and briefings with the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, UN Women, and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) providing context on the mandates of these agencies in the region.

Members of the Pink Parliament have robust discussion at the UN House Barbados on Thursday, July 20.

The young women engaged co-hosts, UN Resident Coordinator Didier Trebucq and High Commissioner of Canada Lilian Chatterjee, in a stimulating dialogue on the benefits and challenges of multilateralism in the 21st century, and the centrality of women’s empowerment and participation in decision making and leadership.

This exchange was particularly timely as the Universal Declaration on Human Rights -the cornerstone international instrument to ensure freedom, equality, and justice for all, signed by Barbados and Canada, celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.

Joined by Renata Clarke, Sub-Regional Coordinator, FAO, Dr. Taraleen Malcom, Technical Advisor for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health, PAHO/WHO, and Juana Sotomayor, Human Rights Advisor to the RCO – the ‘inner circle’ discussion served as an introduction to the United Nations Development System, while providing insight into implementation of the SDGs in the subregion, and inspiration to participants interested in development, human rights and diplomacy.

Moderated by Ronelle King, Pink Parliament co-founder and Office of the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, the forum reflects a shared commitment by Canada and the United Nations towards SDG 5: “To achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”.

High Commissioner Chatterjee shared, “Canada is proud of its continued partnership with Pink Parliament Barbados and the remarkable young women who comprise each cohort. Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are integral to Canada’s work at home and abroad. We are determined to do more to promote and protect human rights to build a more just tomorrow for all. Our participation in this initiative demonstrates Canada’s commitment to advancing the rights of women and girls and our support for multilateralism as a critical tool to promote peace, prosperity, and equality for all.”

Resident Coordinator Trebucq noted: “For us in the UN, gender equality and youth empowerment are central to our work and to the achievement of all the SDGs. Youth are crucial in advocating for innovative solutions to address the climate crisis and foster gender equality, and we encourage them to raise their voices about issues that impact their future. It is for this reason that we created a Youth Advisory Group (YAG) in 2022. The YAG provides an opportunity for successive youth leaders across the subregion to participate meaningfully in the work of the UN Barbados and Eastern Caribbean Multi-country Office, and more importantly to provide a space for them to raise their voices and be heard.”

The Pink Parliament visit concluded with an informal networking lunch attended by colleagues from the United Nations and the High Commission of Canada.