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(UNDP Jamaica Country Office staff members; group photo taken at the UNDP Jamaica Country Office)
Minh Pham, UNDP Jamaica's Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator completed a week of fond goodbyes to colleagues, partners and friends before leaving Jamaica to assume his new appointment as UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for the Laos People's Democratic Republic.
From 2007-2011, Minh was UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Jamaica. Several speakers at a UNDP hosted farewell reception on March 21 hailed Minh as a true friend of Jamaica. Representatives of the Government of Jamaica, the UN Country Team and other International Development Partners and as well as civil society all cited his advocacy for and support to the process which lead to Jamaica's historic and highly successful debt exchange; his accessibility, willingness to extend UNDP's partnerships and collaboration and his leadership of increased coordination in the development assistance efforts of International Development Partners.
Minh Pham said that he regarded his three years of service in Jamaica as "a wonderful delight" during which he had "discovered like-minded souls, new brothers and sisters, and friends". In reflecting on the success of the debt exchange programme, he recalled how at the start of his tenure he was told that " a debt solution was definitely not feasible in Jamaica," and was even told not to raise it (the issue of debt renegotiation) in public. " I know today that raising it and nudging it toward completion was the right thing to do. " Minh concluded. He noted however that while critical to the country, the programme did not alter the fundamental dynamics of Jamaica's debt. He therefore expressed the hope that in the next three years everyone would look back and acknowledge that it was a first in many future steps for the country to take to resolve, fairly and humanely, its debt burden.
Minh, in extending heart-felt thanks to all said he would be leaving with images of a beautiful island, images of a country endowed with much diversity, passion, generosity and warmth.
Minh was generous in his praise of the staff of UNDP, Jamaica. In his farewell remarks to staff Minh said it had been a privilege to have had the opportunity of working alongside the team. He commended the staff whose efforts he said had "transformed the UNDP into a well respected development partner with a significant role to play in helping Jamaica achieve its goals." The staff, he said, had demonstrated that a strong and supportive team can achieve results far beyond those anticipated and expected with limited resources.Minh left for his new post in the Laos People's Democratic Republic on March 26. Prior to his position as UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator in Jamaica, Minh served as Regional Manager of UNDP's Regional Centre in Sri Lanka from 2004-2007. He served in his first role as UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in the Maldives from 2002-2004; was Regional Advisor in the Regional Bureau for Africa from 1994-2002 and a Member of the UNDP Administrator's Transition Team during 1999. From 1995-1996, he was Visiting Researcher for the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University and was Deputy Resident Representative in Bhutan (1993-1994), Country Officer in the United Nations Capital Development Fund (1990-1993), and Programme Officer in Madagascar (1988-1990).