Dr. Walton “Aubrey” Webson, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations has been elected President for the year 2020 of the joint Executive Boards of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).
According to a release from the office of the prime minister: “Ambassador Webson assumes his presidency at a critical year, as 2020 marks the 10-year sprint to achieving the 2030 development agenda. In addition, 2020 is an important year for the development agencies of the United Nations as the agencies begin to fully implement the reform of the UN development system. The main objective of the UN development system reform is to place sustainable development at the centre of the UN’s work. The reform also seeks to ensure that UN assistance meets member States’ development expectations in the most efficient and effective manner possible.”
The release further states, “Ambassador Webson’s presidency is particularly important to Small Island Development States (SIDS) as the UN development system is set to approve an overhaul of the Multi-Country Offices of the UN development system that are all located within SIDS.”
“I am delighted to have been elected as President of the joint boards of UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS, a role I take seriously because the UN development system is facing a critical juncture, one where the system is facing serious funding gaps and a system that isn’t necessarily delivering to those in need and most at risk, this includes countries such as Antigua and Barbuda,” Ambassador Webson said.
“My role is to ensure that we improve how the agencies responds to our needs and how we can position the three agencies to better align their work so that the results are not only shown but also felt on the ground. Prime Minister Gaston Browne is keen on this particular issue, given the slow progress of work in the Barbuda recovery efforts by the UN agencies. I therefore must ensure that these issues are never repeated by the UN development system,” Webson concluded.
Webson’s presidency will be supported by four vice presidents which includes the Ambassador of Rwanda representing the African Group; The Ambassador of Kuwait representing the Asia-Pacific Group; the Ambassador of the Republic of Belarus representing Eastern Europe; and the Ambassador of Sweden representing the countries of Western Europe and other States.
Several Ambassador’s offered warm congratulations to Ambassador Webson and gave assurances of their full support for his tenure and remarked that they are confident in having him at the helm of the agencies at such an important time.
Ambassador Webson served as vice president of the joint boards of UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS in 2019 and was the President of UNICEF in 2017 where he was praised for implementing much needed reforms and improving the working relationships of all UN development agencies.
In 2017, in addition to being the president of UNICEF, the mission of Antigua and Barbuda also was elected to the executive boards of UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS and UN-Women, an achievement for a small state.