The United Nations (UN) and the Government of El Salvador, with the help of bilateral cooperation, project that the investment made this year in at least 133 social development programs in our country will total $95.4 million.
These programs are based on three strategic priorities: social welfare, economic transformation, and sustainable and inclusive peace, explained the UN Resident Coordinator in El Salvador and Belize, Birgit Gerstenberg, in an interview for «Diario El Salvador.»
The so-called National Steering Committee (CDN), made up of the UN coordinator, heads of entities of that international organization and officials from different portfolios of the Salvadoran State, officially presented on September 1 the Cooperation Framework of the United Nations for sustainable development in El Salvador for the period 2022-2026, which «exactly coincides» with the main axes that the government, led by President Nayib Bukele, has established for its strategy in search of the nation’s progress .
«For this cooperation framework, a common country analysis was carried out, where we practically tried to establish what the most important gaps are, and thus meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),» Gerstenberg said.
She explained that the said meeting was the first of the CDN, which has represented «a boom in the elaboration and implementation of the United Nations Cooperation Framework», which was signed on September 9, 2021, with projections of being applied in four years.
This cooperation framework between the UN and the Salvadoran Government is an agreement on the strategic priorities that determines the support of the United Nations development system in the country and, in addition, defines the budget of the world organization to contribute to El Salvador, as well as the money required to advance in the fulfillment of the SDGs and the funds to be mobilized with other international organizations.
«We have done a lot of work for that steering committee. We had a very intense process, not only to say what we wanted to do, but with how much money, with whom, and with what demands around the national context», added the United Nations coordinator, and explained that they have projected for the next four years an investment of more than $500 million for programs in the country.
«The first two years are only covered by one part, which is $165 million. This is a lot of money when it is used well, and our will is to value the contributions of large agencies while also making the contributions of small agencies count», she explained.
She added that «the idea of the development framework is not so much the amount but what can be contributed in a substantive way to the policies and to the government strategies so that they are carried out. «This is our added value to bilateral cooperation,» she stressed.
Gerstenberg emphasized that the cooperation framework that will run from 2022 to 2026 has an approach based on a nexus between development and humanitarian aid.
«All the gaps that we have identified always have a human face. The pandemic and the current crisis in Ukraine have made life more difficult for people. The United Nations, with its global framework, also always provides humanitarian support to the country. We want to direct our work so that development is sustainable, that it is continuous, stable, and very strong in terms of its essence», she said.
According to Gerstenberg, the UN seeks to promote development «where no one is left behind», where processes are inclusive and the participation of all sectors in government programs is implemented; also, that there are solid state institutions providing care to Salvadorans and that there is close coordination to execute projects and programs.