Mr. Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Assistant Administrator and BPPS Director, Address to the Foreign Affairs Committee of Finland27.2.2015
2015 is a year of critical importance.
We have a quadruple appointment, first, next month in Sendaï, Japan for the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. Then in July in Addis Ababa, for Financing for Development, followed by the General Assembly Post-2015 Summit in September and ending with the Conference of Parties 21 in Paris, France in December.
- Poverty eradication in our lifetime,
- A new commitment to sustainable development,
- A new regime on climate and,
- Protecting development gains from loss and damage.
All in one year.
In his report ‘The Road to Dignity: Ending poverty, transforming all lives and protecting the planet’ issued in December, the UN Secretary General calls upon us all “to rise to the challenge with a truly transformative agenda that is both universal and adaptable to the conditions of each country, and that places people and the planet at the centre.”
The report draws upon experience of two decades of development practice and reflects the findings from an open and inclusive consultation process that took place over the last 3-years. One of its most important contributions is that it offers a framing around 6 essential elements:
- Dignity: to end poverty and fight inequalities;
- People: to ensure healthy lives, knowledge, and the inclusion of women and children;
- Prosperity: to grow a strong, inclusive, and transformative economy;
- Planet: to protect our ecosystems for present and future generations;
- Justice: to promote safe and peaceful societies, and strong institutions; and
- Partnership: to catalyse global solidarity for sustainable development).
As UN Member States launch their deliberations this year, they are firmly guided by the proposal of the Open Working Group that sets out 17 specific Sustainable Development Goals.
The proposed goals address a great variety of issues that are crucial to poverty eradication and sustainable development. They include the existing MDG areas, but also new issues; Sustainability, Rights, Infrastructure and Governance.
It is particularly pleasing to see the issue of inequality well represented - for income and wealth, but also standalone recognition of the discrimination and violence that prevents women and girls from realizing their rights and true potential.
In the same vein, the proposed Sustainable Development Goal 17 is dedicated to means of implementation.
An important aspect here is financing – implementing the Post-2015 development agenda will require significant investment. The availability of public financial support will still be important for many countries, especially the Least Developed Countries, and is an important trust-building signal. It is the signal that opens the possibility for foreign direct investment. Implementation goes beyond financing to also include capacities, stronger institutions, and policy coherence.
UNDP stands ready to support countries in the implementation phase once the new agenda is adopted. UNDP has a substantial contribution to make in areas related to resilience, climate change, environment and governance. We are well positioned to support countries given our mandate, our knowledge network, and the role to coordinate all UN development activities at the country level as the manager of the RC system.
Our intentions is to help countries to ‘land’ the agenda at national and local levels; accelerate progress on their priorities; and make UN policy support available in an effective and coherent way. In doing this we will also seek to strengthen partnerships, data and accountability.
By leveraging our core funding, including from Finland, UNDP has mobilized significant non-core funding to advance country-level results.
Governance and peacebuilding includes playing non-conventional, development roles, like support to humanitarian efforts and early recovery, mediation and reconstruction.
- We support tens of thousands of IDPs in the Ukraine, of refugees in the countries surrounding Syria, and manage the cash payments to Ebola health-care workers.
- We manage the programme of assistance to the Palestinian People, provide support to return to peace in Libya and stability in Yemen and South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Chad and in the Central African Republic.
- We continue to assist the most fragile and vulnerable countries on earth by having development boots on the ground, before, during and after the conflict or the disaster.
If I may end with a few last remarks:
Finland is a good development partner to these and more countries. It is a fair trade partner and a force for peace, development and human rights in the world.
Finland is a friend of the United Nations and the UNDP.
We hope that recent reductions in financial support due to budget austerity measures will be followed by a comeback to a reinvigorated partnership. Resources are not everything, but they help us respond quickly, maintain a robust and professional structure, and help when it matters.
In this year of important decisions, we need Finland’s support. We have always counted on it, and value it more than ever when we start a new journey for the development of our world.