I thank you Madame President.
I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the four Bureau members of the UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board – Bulgaria, the Gambia, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and my own country, Bangladesh.
I thank the UNDP Administrator, Mr. Achim Steiner for his comprehensive statement on the activities of the UNDP and the new UNDP Strategic Plan for 2022-2025.
We are already in the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet the recovery seems far away. The deadly delta variant has aggravated the situation further in many countries. We are seeing how our hard-won development gains are rapidly sliding back. Poverty has shown a rising trend for the first time since 1990. Inequality has also increased at a rapid pace.
We must reverse this situation. UNDP with its broad mandate and global presence is expected to lead a large part of the UN’s multilateral efforts on the ground, especially the overarching goals of the Agenda 2030.
We agree with you that the world is different now than it was four years ago when the last strategic plan was adopted. The unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have put us in a unique situation. The new strategic plan should, therefore, consider both the expectations and challenges on the ground. We appreciate the extensive consultations that the UNDP has held with the Member States for preparing its current strategic plan. This was very important to reflect the views of the entire membership in the plan in a balanced manner. It is also imperative to keep its focus on its core mandates to address the development needs and concerns of the most vulnerable programme countries.
Allow me to highlight a few important issues in this regard:
First, we appreciate that the strategic plan has put adequate focus on the eradication of poverty and hunger in all its forms and manifestations. We cannot agree more that structural transformation can lead to long-term solutions to these pressing problems. The countries in the most vulnerable situations need special support measures from their development partners to encourage new businesses and entrepreneurships, to create new jobs, and ensuring adequate opportunities for the burgeoning youth population, women, and girls.
Second, we are happy to see the positive shifts in the work of the UNDP, especially to take up targeted actions to tackle interconnected problems such as climate action, the blue economy, and disaster risk reduction. Yet we must not lose sight of the distinctive nature of each problem.
Climate change is a unique and cross-cutting issue. It is affecting all aspects of our development. The IPCC working group-I report has provided a grim picture of our future. The climate vulnerable countries are facing double jeopardy now—both by the impacts of the pandemic and extreme weather events. Therefore, we need to have focused interventions on emission reductions, climate financing, technology transfer, etc. We wish to see more focus on these issues in UNDP’s strategic plan as well as ways to translate those in specific actions in country contexts.
Third, we need a tectonic shift in our development paradigm to bridge the gaps created by the COVID-19 pandemic. And UNDP has rightly identified the power of digitization to make a real difference to people’s lives at the pace and scale that will be required to reach our SDGs goals by 2030.
It is imperative to reduce the digital divides both within and across societies to leverage the power of digitization and connectivity. We must harness the north-south, south-south, and triangular cooperation to fast-pace our progress in this regard.
Finally, UNDP received sufficient funds during this time of crisis, which speaks of its credibility among the partners. However, we cannot stress enough the importance of the predictable core resources for the smooth functioning of the organization.
We stand firm in our belief that UNDP has a crucial role to play in the global development architecture, and hence development-based approach should remain its priority.
You can count on our support for the effective implementation of the new strategic plan, and to your efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals in partner countries.
I thank you.