Fifty years ago, one in every three people around the world was living in poverty. It was against that backdrop that the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, was founded in 1966.
Ever since, UNDP has been a leader in working for a more fair and prosperous world for all. We have worked with governments, civil society, the private sector, and philanthropy to empower people and build resilient nations.
As UNDP begins its second half century, the numbers of people in poverty have decreased to around one in eight. UNDP is proud to have worked with many partners committed to poverty eradication.
Indeed, for fifty years UNDP has been at the forefront of work to eradicate poverty, hunger and disease, create jobs and livelihoods, empower women, support recovery from disasters and other crises, protect the environment, and more.
Most of the work happens because of our dedicated staff and the thousands of organizations we partner with around the world who do the daily work of development. I am proud to lead an organization that has transformed so many lives for the better, offering them opportunity, hope, and dignity.
But there remains much work to do. The world is not yet rid of poverty and hunger and a number of ecosystems are under great stress.
The good news is that our world has more wealth, more knowledge, and more technologies at its disposal than ever before to do something about these challenges.
Leadership is needed on finding the funding required. Money isn't everything, but it certainly helps, including through Official Development Assistance.
Broad coalitions for sustainable development are needed. Governments acting alone can't achieve the goals envisaged in the new global agenda, Agenda 2030; their leadership is vital, but insufficient. Civil society, the private sector, philanthropy, researchers – all hands are need for the task.
And leadership is needed more than ever from the multilateral system -- including from UNDP. Our job is to support countries to eradicate poverty, and to do that in a way which also reduces inequality and exclusion, and avoids wrecking the ecosystems on which life depends.
Working together, using the newly created Sustainable Development Goals as our guide, a world where economies and societies are more inclusive can be built, and the planet can be protected from the worst effects of climate change and other forms of environmental degradation. As it celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, UNDP recommits itself to this task.