Statement delivered by Mr. Rahama Mohammed UNDP Resident Representative (Acting) on the occasion of the launch of the Global Millennium Development Goals Report 2007 and South Asia Millennium Development Goals Report

13 Jul 2007

Statement delivered by Mr. Rahama Mohammed UNDP Resident Representative (Acting) on the occasion of the launch of the Global Millennium Development Goals Report 2007 and South Asia Millennium Development Goals Report

Friday, 13 July 2007

1. Hon’ble Vice Chairman of the National Planning Commission Dr. Jagadish Chandra

2. Honourable members of the National Planning Commission and respected officials of the Government of Nepal,

3. Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

4. First of all let me thank the National Planning Commission and the Government of Nepal for their commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

5. In fact the year 2007 marks the mid-point of the global race to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

6. This strongly highlights the fact that a practical and sustained effort is indeed needed in order to make the difference between success and failure of achieving MDGs targets.

7. We have just seen two excellent presentations by our UNICEF ROSA colleagues, so I do not need to explain about the Millennium Development Goals, nor go into details of what they mean in the context of Nepal.

8. Instead I would like to briefly focus on few things that UNDP has been doing in terms of the advocacy for MDGs in Nepal.

9. With the initiation of the National Planning Commission, UNDP has supported the production of two MDGs progress reports of Nepal for (Year 2001) and (2005)

10. The 2005 MDG progress report of Nepal underscores a strong need to improve the efficiency and coordination of aid to ensure that it reaches the poorest regions and the most vulnerable groups.

11. This report also represents a call to everyone to join hands with the common objective of promoting the well being of the Nepalese people by creating a level playing field for all citizens to participate fully in the development process.

12. The report emphasizes that efforts focusing on the empowerment of women and girls must be geared up by investing more in the provision of education and skills training opportunities, as well as investing in socio-economic infrastructures that serves the interest of poor women.

13. Besides the advocacy role, The UNDP support to the government in preparation of National MDG Reports (NMDGRs) comes as part of the overall mechanisms needed for the monitoring and reporting on progress of MDGs, and in n maintaining the focus on the MDG agenda.

14. UNDP recently has moved into a new area of engagement that focuses on the localisation of MDGs and institutionalisation of the Poverty Monitoring and Analysis System (PMAS).

15. The new concept of localization aims at brining the overall MDGs efforts to the grass root level with the understanding that without a sustained locally based strategy, there will not be a serious impact on the lives of the people the MDGs are trying to improve.

16. This means that in our efforts to achieve the MDGs, there is a real need for these targets to be brought down to the local level through a process of designing and re-designing or adjusting our strategies for implementing local development, which specifically target the most needy, the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalized segments of the society.

17. In this respect Reports have been produced for Bhaktapur, Morang, Chitwan, Banke and Kanchanpur districts. Also a Needs Assessment Report has been produced for Rupandehi district.

18. The MDGs district progress reports attempt to analyse whether the districts are really on track to meet the MDG targets and what issues need to be addressed in each district.

19. However, this is not enough, we need to move further and use the findings of these reports to stir debates and discussions among the local communities.

20. For example one of the significant findings of The districts’ progress reports is that a large variation is found in the level of poverty incidence which ranges from about 9 percent in Bhaktapur to as high as 36 percent in Kanchanpur district.

21. The past Human Development Reports of Nepal have also shown a wide disparity in the living conditions of the people in the far west and other parts of the country.

22. In October 2006. A Millennium Development Goals Needs Assessment Report for Nepal, was jointly produced by the Government of Nepal and UNDP, and was launched at the national level.

23. The 2006 needs assessment report shows that the government must make a public investment of US$ 12.6 billion over the next decade if the Goals are to be reached. More than half of this money must be channelled to reducing hunger, improving education and, critically, developing infrastructure.

24. I have just returned form a week-long field mission during which I have visited an area stretching from Chitwan to Dadeldhura and from Nepalganj to Pyuthan and I have seen the poor infrastructure in these districts, particularly the poor transport network, lack of market access, limited electricity and poor or lack of public social services such as health and education.

25. These are the major constraints that are hindering the process of economic growth, especially in rural areas where most Nepalese live.

26. Needless to say the efforts needed to achieve the MDGs requires a true partnership and a joint and collaborative approach of all partners at the national and local levels.

27. At the front of this partnership is the role played by both donor and recipient countries.

28. The 2006 needs assessment Report shows that donors must double their funding for development in Nepal over the next ten years. This is a true challenge at a time when there is a noticed overall global decrease in Official Development Assistance (ODA) flows.

29. Donors need to commit themselves to scaling up aid in a timely manner if the 2010 and 2015 commitments have to be fulfilled. Fresh funding is required if we are to overcome the financing gap and reach the Millennium Development Goals on time.

30. However, at the same time , to be able to eradicate poverty and achieve the targets of socio economic development poor countries, should take concrete and serious efforts particularly in area of policy and public administration reforms, and in improving governance, human rights, accountability, rule of law and participatory politics.

31. As partners we need to be clear about the strategy to go forward from the MDG advocacy and awareness-raising, MDG monitoring and reporting, MDG-based planning, costing, budgeting, and monitoring to deliver results at the local levels.

32. The time for making promises and pledges has gone.

33. The time to convert existing promises into actual progress is now.

34. We need to transfer the “Millennium Development Goals” from a mere slogan into actual results on the ground, to be able to address the most pressing development issues of our day.

Thank you.