Progress update: UN Sustainable Development Goals Joint Programme Component 1 in Suriname

May 16, 2022

In 2020, Suriname was one of 97 countries that received a grant from the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Fund to establish a Sustainable Financing Roadmap for the financing of four priority sectors in order to reorient the flow of international and local resources towards more inclusive and gender responsive sustainable actions for realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). In the last quarter of 2021, the UN SDG Joint Programme Component 1 has  completed its first and very important phase, the Diagnostic Phase, which involves desk research, stakeholder interviews, surveys and gap analysis conducted by four Participating United Nations Organizations (PUNOs) across priority sectors: Banking and  Finance, Forestry, Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining (ASGM) and Gender which allows an overview of the performance of sectors, the design of capacity building activities and development of a green agreement with stakeholders.

The Sustainable Development Goals  Programme Component 1 was launched in October 2020, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation and is implemented by four PUNOs: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations  Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Surinamese government through the Ministry of Spatial Planning and Environment.

Gender Analysis

During the Diagnostic Phase, a gender analysis of the financial and environment sector was done by UNFPA. The results of that analysis showed that the financial institutions are to some extent aware of gender but yet need to understand the importance of gender equality in their work. Based on these findings a gender equality capacity strengthening plan has been developed to increase awareness among institutions.

Gap Analysis Banking and Financial Sectors

According to the gap analysis report of the banking and financial sector done by UNEP-Finance Initiative the local financial institutions and investors need capacity strengthening to deal with sustainability-related issues. Despite the advances of the Environmental Framework Act, there is no specific policy that requires the financial sector to focus on environmental, social or climate risk management. The lack of integration of sustainability aspects in the banking and financial sector was linked to minimal awareness of their importance in these sectors. However, the government is willing to work collaboratively to close the gap as it understands its importance when unlocking international finance flows, thus the gap analysis report of the Banking and Financial Sector.     

Forestry and Gold Mining Sectors

The forest sector diagnostic done by FAO revealed new market opportunities, including the scaling up of revenues of ecotourism and ecosystem services in Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP) value chains that could generate twice as much income. With regard to Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM), UNDP’s analysis revealed key insights including the limited access to finance and investments and the sector’s risks to sustainable development due to occupational and social impacts. ASGM operations are currently incentivized through collaborative payments between individual miners and concession title holders. Some concessions include titled areas that indigenous or/and maroons consider their traditional homelands and/or to which they claim customary rights.

The findings of all four priority sectors are consolidated in one comprehensive draft Gap Analysis Synthesis Report of the UN Joint SDG Fund Programme which includes recommendations and facilitates the next phase of the project.

Photo: Annette Tjon Sjie Fat, the Gender Specialist of the UNFPA who conducted a gap analysis among the financial and environment sector, presents her findings in a gender brainstorming session. (Photo: Thera’s Publications, 14 January 2022 )

Phases UN SDG Joint Fund Programme Component 1

Currently, the UN SDG Joint Fund Programme Component 1 project is in the second phase, which includes capacity building- and engagement activities as well as the establishment of a network for dialogue among stakeholders. In the last quarter of 2021 the first sensitization workshop with stakeholders from the public, private and financial sectors, civil society, and academia was conducted. The workshop focused on sustainable finance, gender-sensitive approaches, and its role in the Suriname Recovery Plan 2020-2022, including the barriers and opportunities for sustainable project finance and capacity needs.

In the first quarter of 2022, the Environmental and Social Risk Analysis training leaded by UNEP was conducted for stakeholders in Banking and Finance Sector. Currently stakeholders from Government, Civil society, Banking and Finance, Private Sector and Youth are following a Gender Capacity Strengthening Course leaded by the UNFPA with the aim to strengthen capacity of relevant institutions to ultimately re-orient the flow of expected resources toward more inclusive and gender responsive sustainable actions.

The third phase is also in preparation. In this phase a Green Agreement, that defines a minimum standard/requirement for specific sectors shall be developed. Additionally, recommendations for technical regulations that can create the right signal for economic and financial systems including new kinds of financial mechanism shall be summarized.