At just 166 square miles with 287,375 residents, Barbados is the most densely populated country in the Eastern Caribbean. The country is characterised by relatively high human development, a stable political climate, strong governance systems and high levels of transport and technological connectivity.

Thanks to ongoing support from the Government and people of Barbados, the island hosts the UNDP Multi-Country Office which serves seven independent countries and three British Overseas Territories in the Eastern Caribbean.

Main Initiatives

The UNDP programme portfolio in Barbados spans two of the four outcomes of the UN’s regional Multi-Country Sustainable Development Framework (MSDF). These two outcomes are building climate resilience and improving data-driven decision-making for enhanced citizen security. In this regard, UNDP’s work in Barbados is focused on sustainable energy, disaster recovery, the blue economy and citizen security.

Recently, UNDP has supported the COVID-19 emergency response by partnering with the Government in the production of a Human and Economic Assessment of Impact (HEAT) Report, with the collaboration of UNICEF and UN Women. The assessment concludes that the Government of Barbados has made significant strides in its crisis response and offers a range of fiscal, regulatory and social policy proposals aimed at accelerating post-COVID-19 recovery and mitigating the impacts on the country’s socio-economic fabric. The support package of UNDP also includes assistance to MSMEs under the “eFUTURE” platform, in order to advance their transition to digital business models and incorporates a collaboration with the local private sector to develop an economic recovery strategy.

Additionally, UNDP is technically and financially supporting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) within ten countries and territories that are directly or indirectly linked to the tourism sector or have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, through the Future Tourism project.   With gender equality and empowerment of women at its core, the project seeks to promote economic diversification, job creation and resilience with the “Blue Economy for Green Islands” approach in the tourism sector thereby boosting recovery and supporting the digitally enabled transformation of the business processes and value chains of MSMEs.

n conjunction with national stakeholders in the energy sector, UNDP is assisting Barbados in its efforts to meet its international commitments to reduce fossil fuel dependence and its national goal to be 100% renewable by 2030. The Global Environment Facility (GEF), champions these efforts by implementing initiatives that strengthen the renewable energy policy framework and develop sector capacities such as the deployment of solar photovoltaic systems at emergency shelters and healthcare facilities. At the community level, the GEF Small Grants Programme (GEF-SGP) aids locally-based projects in biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation and adaptation, prevention of land degradation, protection of international waters, and the reduction of the impact of chemicals and waste. 

With the financial support of the Government and the People of Japan, UNDP will be strengthening national coastal management capacities with regard to Sargassum influxes. 

UNDP is also working with local partners to improve disaster recovery planning through the strengthening of national recovery frameworks. This involves building the capacity of national stakeholders to undertake PDNAs as well as improving community resilience through local training in emergency response. All of these interventions are guided by the UNDP Gender Equality Strategy and focus on empowering women to take a more proactive role in emergencies.

The Barbados MCO is also home to one of UNDP's  91 global Accelerator Labs in 115countries around the World. The Barbados and Eastern Caribbean Accelerator Lab focuses on co-creating solutions to challenges In key sectors of the Blue Economy such as fisheries, waste management, tourism and marine conservation.

In addition to this, through the Blue Economists Programme, the University of the West Indies and UNDP collaborated with the former Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy (MMABE), now the Ministry of Environment and National Beautification, Blue and Green Economy to conduct a Blue Economy Scoping Study. This study provided a preliminary assessment of current blue sectors and identified opportunities for growth and development in the future.

Citizen security is a key focal area. UNDP, with the support of USAID, is working with national stakeholders in the justice sector to execute the CariSECURE project locally.

In addition, Barbados presently benefits from three UN joint programmes:

1.      The SDG-funded Enhancing Resilience and Acceleration of the SDGs in the Eastern Caribbean: Universal adaptive social protection modelled at the community, national and sub-regional levels (UN Women, UNDP, WFP, ILO, UNICEF). Important actions undertaken include an assessment of the social protection system to create better linkages with the disaster management framework enabling better support to vulnerable persons (adaptive social protection), an assessment of the Government’s social protection response to COVID19 and an examination of the financing framework required to support gender-sensitive adaptive social protection. Key capacity building actions focused on gender-sensitive budgeting for adaptive social protection.

2.      The UN Trust Fund for Human Security supported Building Effective Resilience for Human Security in the Caribbean Countries: The Imperative of Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in a Strengthened Agriculture (and related Agri/Fisheries Small Business) Sector which seeks to enhance human security by advancing comprehensive and gender-responsive development with a focus on key economic sectors in the Caribbean, including farming, fishing, agri-fisheries and related small business activities (UNDP, UN Women, FAO, ILO), where UNDP undertook a study of the impact of structural adjustment programmes and policies on the agriculture sector and small and women farmers. Key actions involved working with the Barbados Agricultural Society to develop a management information system for farm records, piloting and undertaking relevant training.

3.      The SDG Fund supported Harnessing Blue Economy Finance for SIDS Recovery and Sustainable Development (UNDP, UNEP, FAO), where UNDP as the lead is supporting the development of national integrated finance frameworks for financing the blue economy.


Stockholm+50 National Consultations, Barbados

UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean is partnering with the Government of Barbados to facilitate a series of national consultations to inform the international Stockholm+50 consultations. These consultations are supported by the Government of Sweden and in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and National Beautification. The objective of the national consultations is to stimulate an inclusive whole-of-society and whole-of-government dialogue on the main themes of Stockhom+50 to inform the international meeting entitled “Stockholm+50: a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity”, in Stockholm on 2 and 3 June 2022, during the week of World Environment Day. Barbados is one of only two Caribbean islands that will be participating in this global initiative. Therefore, Stockholm +50 is an opportunity for Barbados to highlight the environmental and Climate Change context of Small Island Developing States in the sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and progress towards the SDG 2030 Agenda.

The leadership dialogue that was held during the month of May 2022 stimulated meaningful debate at different levels with a range of stakeholders. The leadership dialogues were focused on the thematic areas below:

LD1: Reflecting on the urgent need for actions to achieve a healthy planet and prosperity of all

LD2: Achieving a sustainable and inclusive recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic

LD3: Accelerating the implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development in the context of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development.

LD4: In-person dialogue held at the Barbados Hilton on Youth Agenda for an Environmentally Resilient Future 

The timeline for Stockholm+50 preparations coincides with a critical period for countries and their global commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.


For more information on Barbados, please view the Human Development Report Briefing Note for this country.


Did you know?
At $0.26/kWh in 2020, Barbados has one of the highest electricity costs in the world.

Contact Us
To contact the UNDP office in Barbados, you can write to registry.bb@undp.org