Helen Clark: Statement at the 39th Annual Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Group of 77 and China

Sep 24, 2015

Honorable Ministers;

Distinguished representatives;

It is a pleasure to address this Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77 and China. I thank the Permanent Representative of South Africa for his leadership and his work with the United Nations in New York.

Can I take this opportunity to wish the people of South Africa a happy Heritage Day today – a day established in recognition of the diverse cultural heritage of the country.

A new era for sustainable development: Agenda 2030

As the UN marks its 70th anniversary this year, Member States are also launching a new era for sustainable development.

“Transforming our world: the 2030 agenda for sustainable development” is due to be adopted tomorrow. This new agenda is bold, ambitious, and visionary, and will guide our work together for the next generation. At its centre is the urgent task of eradicating poverty.

The process of formulating and adopting the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been inclusive and participatory. G77 and China has played a central and crucial role, as the Group does in all the work of the United Nations through its commitment to multilateralism and to finding enduring solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

As attention now turns to implementation of the sustainable development agenda, ever deeper engagement of the Global South is essential. UNDP stands ready to support implementation of the SDGs, at national request and in line with national priorities.

Eradicating poverty is a necessary condition for sustainable development. Thus it is important that the integrated nature of the 2030 Agenda directs us to the root causes of poverty. That means addressing vulnerability and exclusion, and providing opportunities for all. In supporting the new agenda, UNDP will also focus on reducing risks from shocks, on rapid and effective recovery from conflict, and on helping countries to prepare for and deal with the consequences of climate change and natural disasters.

Our support for the implementation of the new agenda will be based on an approach we are calling “MAPS” - Mainstreaming, Acceleration, and Policy Support:

• First, under mainstreaming, we will, at national request, work with countries to reflect and incorporate the SDGs into national development plans, policies, and budgets. This work is already underway in a number of countries.

• Second, we will support countries to accelerate progress on SDG targets they have identified as priorities for action. Here we will draw on our experience with the MDG Acceleration Framework, which over the past five years has helped many countries to remove bottlenecks and accelerate progress on lagging targets.

• Third, the policy expertise of the whole UN development system will be available to governments as they pursue integrated policy solutions to sustainable development challenges.

UNDP is committed to working with the Group of 77 and China to meet the aspirations of the new development agenda. We will be guided by our mandate, and strengthened by our universal presence, our extensive knowledge network, and our role as co-ordinator of the UN development system. We can contribute to the design and implementation of the kinds of integrated solutions so urgently needed for sustainable development.

Financing the new agenda requires big partnerships

The financing requirements for achieving the internationally agreed development goals and meeting national aspirations are large. All sources of finance – domestic and international, public and private – must be drawn on. The different sources of finance need to complement and reinforce each other.

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda, agreed in July, updated the financing for development framework, set important priorities for investment, and agreed on new mechanisms to finance technology and infrastructure needs.

The Addis Agenda rightly highlights the vital and continued need for Official Development Assistance (ODA), and for its more catalytic use to build national capacities for domestic resource mobilization. UNDP will continue to advocate for this.

ODA remains particularly vital for many countries, especially for LDCs, LLDCs, SIDS, and other countries in special development situations.

UNDP will continue to prioritize support for the poorest and most vulnerable countries. In 2014, ninety per cent of our core programme resource was allocated to low-income countries, and 74 per cent to LDCs.

UNDP will continue to support countries to secure the resources they need to pursue development, manage risk, and build resilience to shocks.

Our ability to do all this and more, as effectively as possible, depends on a strong base of core funding.

That is why we have launched the '100 Partners’ campaign, to expand the number of contributors to our core budget from 56 Member States last year to one hundred by 2017. This is also important for reinforcing UNDP’s universal and multilateral character: it is not financially or politically sustainable to rely on just fifteen partners for 97 per cent of our Core funding.

We therefore greatly value the core budget contributions we receive from a number of G77 and China members. I invite all members of the Group to support the campaign, and to consider whether they can make a core contribution from 2016. A more diverse funding base will add great impetus to our work to advance human and sustainable development.

South-South Co-operation vital to the new global agenda

South-South Co-operation has become a vital source of innovation, knowledge, expertise, and solutions in tackling development challenges. It will play a central role in implementation of the new global agenda – not as a substitute for, but as a complement to traditional North-South ODA.

G77 and China itself is illustrative of South-South Co-operation at work – bringing together a diverse array of Southern perspectives for collective decision making. UNDP recognizes and values the importance of South-South Co-operation which the G77 helps to promote and foster.

UNDP has made South-South and Triangular Co-operation central to its work, placing it at the heart of our Strategic Plan for 2014-17. Our global and regional programmes prioritise support for South-South and Triangular Co-operation, which are fully integrated in guidelines for our Country Programme Documents.

A centerpiece of UNDP support is its hosting of the UN Office for South-South Co-operation. The Office plays a lead role in strengthening system-wide efforts on SSC. UNDP highly values its hosting role, which works in synergy with its broader role as a knowledge broker, a builder of capacity, and a facilitator of exchanges among developing countries.

50th Ministerial & Conclusion

Next year UNDP turns 50. Our five decades of development practice in over 170 countries and territories have had a lasting impact around the world. Yet, there is much more to be done.

We will be hosting a high-level Ministerial Meeting on February 24 next year to mark UNDP’s 50th anniversary. We will also take this opportunity to recognize our long term relationships with programme countries. I hope senior country representatives of G77 and China will join us on this important occasion in New York.

As UNDP embarks on the new era of sustainable development support and our next half-century, we look to build new partnerships and strengthen existing ones, to continue our mission to eradicate poverty in all its forms, to promote inclusive growth, and to protect the environment.

We look forward to working closely with G77 and China to realize our mission. Thank you all for your goodwill and support.

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