Official Inauguration of the UN House in Belmopan, Belize

April 14, 2023

Members of the Belize Coast Guard hoist the UN Flag

Friday 14th April 2023 marked another historic day as Belize formally inaugurated its new UN premise in Belize, bringing together various UN agencies in one building, standing as a symbol of collective efforts to work towards a more peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world for all. This new UN House is located on the 2nd floor of the David L. Mckoy Business Centre, Bliss Parade, Belmopan. The opening was celebrated by the Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. John Briceño; and included the UN Resident Coordinator to Belize and El Salvador, RC Birgit Gerstenberg; UNDP Deputy Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Linda Maguire; and UNDP’s Resident Representative for Jamaica, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, The Bahamas, and Turks and Caicos, Ms Denise Antonio. Also in attendance was the Hon. Chief Justice, Madam Louise Blenman, members of Cabinet and members of Parliament, members of the Diplomatic Corps and other government, UN and other partners.

In her opening remarks, RC Gerstenberg welcomed guests on behalf of the UN Family noting this was consistent with the global commitment to a more coherent and efficient UN, specifically she noted: “In his December 2017 report, the UN Secretary General António Guterres presented his vision and proposals to reposition the UN development system to better respond to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. He noted that the code for achieving the United Nations objectives, it needs to be nimble, efficient, and effective. It must focus more on delivery and less on process, more on people, and less on bureaucracy.”

Following up with RC Gerstenberg’s remarks, UNDP’s Deputy Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Linda Maguire also highlighted what this inauguration means for UN Cooperation, “The diverse and intuitive interactions among and between agencies provide a platform for enhanced cooperation, problem-solving, sharing of ideas, and piloting of new ways of doing things. The effective cooperation and collaboration among UN agencies, more or less in one space, and with key national counterparts encourage collaborative innovation. Hence, if maximised, the UN Common Premis can be an Innovation Hub for Belize, a laboratory for new and disruptive ways of addressing multidimensional development problems.”

UNDP Resident Representative, Denise Antonio noted that the move to the new Common Premises in September 2022 occurred during the 40th anniversary of partnership between UNDP and the Government of Belize and further noted “The occasion that we are marking of course is about moving into a new and “fit for purpose” space that ultimately will ensure that we, the United Nations Agencies Funds and Programs, deliver on our mandate in Belize.”
“We believe that the UN played a great role in the achievement of our sovereignty and territorial integrity. It was in the hands of the United Nations, that we unlike minded nations, who believed in the right to self determination, stood our ground, to achieve our political independence and to ensure Belize's territorial integrity.” Noted Prime Minister of Belize, Honourable John Briceño. “The UN remains an indispensable partner in the international landscape, as it seeks to accomplish its goal to maintaining international peace and security, promote the well being of the world's peoples and foster international cooperation. As outlined in the coverage of the country implementation plan, UN has always been deemed an ambitious agenda. With those ambitions come expected raised expectations.
All government entities expect you to work smart, effectively and collaboratively for the betterment of all beneficiaries. So I wish you success. Know that we appreciate what you all do for all. We look forward to greater cooperation and collaboration as we continue this meaningful partnership.”

In the UN House are the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator (UNRCO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the GEF Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP UNDP). IOM, UNICEF, UNFPA and PAHO/WHO continue to be housed in Belize City with UNHCR being located on 1 Marigold Street, Belmopan.

Back row L-R: Hon. Henry Charles Usher, - Minister of Public Service, Constitutional & Political Reform, and Religious Affairs, CEO Kevin Arthurs, - Ministry of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries, Hon. Kareem Musa, - Minister of Home Affairs & New Growth Industries, Hon. Eamon Courtenay - Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration, Ambassador Stuart Leslie - Cabinet Secretary

Front Row: L-R: UNDP Deputy Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Linda Maguire, UNDP Resident Representative for Jamaica, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, The Bahamas, and Turks and Caicos, Denise Antonio