Opening Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Muhammad Abdul Muhith, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations in New York, following his election as the President of the Executive Board of UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS for 2024, Wednesday, 10 January 2024, UNHQs

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Dear Colleagues,

A very good afternoon to you all.

I am deeply honoured to have been elected as the President of the Executive Board of UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS for 2024. I thank you all for reposing your trust and confidence in me to lead the Executive Board of three important Agencies of the United Nations.

Allow me to also express my warmest congratulations to the Vice-Presidents, Ambassador Tesfaye Yilma Sabo, Ambassador Cornel Feruță, Ambassador Leonor Torres and Ambassador Thomas Zahneisen on their elections.  I look forward to working closely with all of them during my tenure.

On behalf of the Board, I would like to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to Ambassador Martin Kimani for his excellent leadership of the Executive Board in 2023; and to the other distinguished members of the Bureau of 2023 for their tireless work, contributions and achievements. I must acknowledge with deep appreciation the personal commitment and dynamism of Ambassador Kimani, which took the board to a whole new level, leaving  a great legacy.

Excellencies and Distinguished Delegates,

I would like to assure you all that the new bureau for 2024 will remain committed to continuing the good work; and we shall be counting on the support and cooperation of the entire Board, the Secretariat and the leadership of the Agencies.

Finally, I wish to take a moment to appreciate the work of UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS and thank the members of these Agencies for their remarkable contributions in empowering people around the world and for supporting countries in realizing their development aspirations. I convey my most sincere appreciations to all of them, especially those serving in the field, for their commitment and dedication.


Excellencies, Dear Colleagues,

In all likeliness, 2024 is going to be another eventful year for us, not only because of the unpredictability of what might come, but also due to the continued presence of all the difficult realities that we faced in the recent past and we have been facing now.

We had an unprecedented global pandemic in 2020 and 2021 whose impacts are still felt in most parts of the world. At the same time, new and protracted humanitarian crises are eroding our hard-earned development gains and productivity, and also often forcing redirection of resources from a planned course.

Aside from these, climate change continues to affect lives and livelihoods of the people, especially in countries that are disproportionately exposed to it. It not only affects the economic ambitions of climate vulnerable countries, but also harms the human development and protection agenda of the United Nations. We must work together with greater urgency to tackle these challenges and help countries improve the lives of their vulnerable communities.

It is also going to be a year of opportunities for multilateralism. This year the member States of the United Nations will gather for the Summit for the Future, which will offer an important occasion for the multilateral system to come together to meet risks and manage disparities so that people are not left behind in perpetual crisis. Critical milestones are expected to be achieved this year with potential adoption of the Declaration of Future Generations, Global Digital Compact as well as with the Review of the International Financial Architecture.

At this critical juncture, UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS – as the key agencies of the United Nations need to prepare themselves to deliver better, based on new and reinvigorated multilateral commitments, and through coordinated efforts and engagement with all stakeholders – public, private, NGOs. As the Executive Board, we also need to provide those Agencies with necessary direction and resources so that they can continue to be at the forefront of all such efforts.

I am confident that the members of the Executive Board will render their full support to UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS and help them deliver their mandates more efficiently and effectively.

Excellencies, Dear Colleagues,

The Executive Board has a packed work plan this year. The major engagements of the Board will include –

  1. Midterm reviews of the Strategic Plans of UNDP, UNCDF and UNFPA for 2022-2025
  2. Mid-term reviews of the integrated resource plans and the integrated budget of UNDP and UNFPA for 2022-25
  3. The report of the Joint Inspection Unit and the consideration of its recommendations including its implementation mechanism
  4. Comprehensive response plan in response to the recommendations of the two independent third party reviews of UNOPS
  5. Presentation of the findings of the independent comprehensive evaluation of the sustainable investment in infrastructure and innovation (S3i) initiative.
  6. Presentation and approval of the country programme documents of UNDP and UNFPA as well as extension of country programmes, among others.
  7. Presentation of reports of the field visits to Uruguay and Senegal.

This year, the Board will further track the progress made by UNDP, UNCDF, UNFPA and UNOPS in the implementation of the recommendations made by the Board of Auditors for 2022, receive updates on the implementation efforts on the repositioning of the United Nations development system, and discuss reports of UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS on internal audits and investigations, of ethics offices and receive management responses on those reports.

The Board will also hear the updates on the policies and processes on tackling sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment. It will follow up on the recommendations and decisions of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS Programme Coordinating Board meeting; and consider the report on the structured dialogue on financing, among other things.

Thus, as you can see, we have an exhaustive year ahead. I am committed to working closely with all delegations and count on your expertise, engagement and your usual cooperation to guide and advise UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS in delivering on their important mandate.

In addition to those engagements, we plan to continue to use this platform for interactive dialogues and thematic discussions on various contemporary issues, such as, humanitarian, peace and development nexus, financing, climate change adaptation and mitigation, implementation of UNDS reform and impact of the UN’s work on the ground.

I also look forward to collaborating with the other Presidents of the Executive Boards of the Funds and Programmes to enhance coherence and cohesion of the UN Sustainable Development Group’s governance.


Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates and Dear Colleagues,

I believe that strategic support of the UN agencies can truly benefit the most affected and hardest-to-reach communities. We must prioritise this approach in our resource mobilisation strategies and allocations, considering multidimensional criteria. Through a holistic and balanced approach, we can bring about cohesive and impactful results and fostering a more inclusive and sustainable future for all.


We will also strive towards meaningful partnership with the International Financing Institutions (IFIs), global financial and economic affairs, as a much talked about issue which needs to show some visible results to further the efforts of UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS, to raise domestic resources and aligning national budgets to the SDGs, while also exploring innovative financing solutions in line with development financing.


Looking ahead, I am optimistic about extending our efforts to bring innovative solutions to the forefront. And the Executive Board will do its part in enhancing the reach of UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS and help them forge a path towards sustainable development that leaves no one behind.


I thank you.