Maribel Gutiérrez, resident representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Cuba, during a visit to this province, acknowledged the country’s efforts to guarantee the health of its population in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite economic shortcomings.

Unlike other nations, during the last two years Cuba prioritised the health and well-being of its people above economic interests, which meant an enormous effort, due to financial and resource limitations accentuated by the global health crisis, Gutiérrez stressed.

He pointed out that since 2020 the UNDP has been supporting the fight against this disease in Cuba, with the help of donors from various countries who have delivered supplies to the Ministry of Public Health and renowned institutions such as the “Pedro Kourí” Institute of Tropical Medicine.

The contributions made were also aimed at achieving a better socio-economic recovery after the most intense period of the pandemic in the Cuban nation, she said.

The UNDP resident representative assured that during the visits, the optimal use of the resources and the benefits to the population were confirmed, so that the purposes of international cooperation are fulfilled.

She pointed to the European Union, Italy, Switzerland and Canada as some of the main contributors to sustainable development projects being promoted in the country, including the programme for the recovery of houses affected by meteorological phenomena and the rehabilitation of coastal areas.

Gutiérrez explained that Cuba is starting a project to restore more than 600 kilometres of the southern coastline (Mi Costa), which will benefit 1.3 million inhabitants; in addition to the environmental and social impact of Coastal Resilience, carried out in four coastal settlements on the northern coast, for the benefit of some 6,900 people.

He also informed that a study will be supported on the Havana seafront on the impact of waves during hurricanes, which will contribute to the preparation to face these hydrometeorological phenomena.

He added that through this organisation, projects are financed to promote the use of renewable energy sources and to strengthen local food systems, in line with the country’s policies and the sustainable development goals approved by the United Nations.

Work is being carried out with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to improve agro-food systems in various provinces and municipalities of the country, in conjunction with local governments, after identifying the potential for obtaining nutrients.

The UNDP official said that the results of these initiatives are what make the UNDP’s presence in Cuba so well known, and they are pleased to see the progress in provinces such as Ciego de Avila, thanks to their efforts and external support.

He also referred to the actions being carried out in the country to identify and take advantage of the potential to increase the production of goods and services, in a sustainable manner, in order to improve the quality of life of the people.