The strategic plan focuses UNDP’s efforts in the coming years on supporting countries to achieve the 2030 Agenda. We will be at our best when the entire development system is at its best – working together.


As prepared for delivery.

Mr. President,

Members of the Executive Board,

Colleagues and friends,

Good morning, and welcome to this special session of UNDP’s Executive Board. The Board meets today to consider the endorsement of UNDP’s new strategic plan, which marks a major milestone in our collective efforts to reshape UNDP for the SDG era. You also have before you for approval the integrated budget for 2018-21.

The new plan is a product of many months of intense effort, critical reflection and constructive dialogue on how best to position UNDP within an ever-changing world. I thank member states for their active and productive engagement during this time. Your inputs and feedback have been invaluable. The new plan also benefited enormously from the positive contributions from sister UN agencies. Their partnership will be vital to the success of our plan and to the effectiveness of the UN development system. Allow me to acknowledge also the time and effort of hundreds of colleagues across UNDP for taking a sharp and constructive look at the organization and for reaching out to so many partners for inputs.

This is a new plan for a new era. The dramatic changes we see in the world have occurred on such a scale and at such a pace that our institutions are struggling to keep up. More is being demanded of us.

The nations of the world have committed to achieving the 2030 Agenda and the UN system has been tasked to support them. This is the driving force of the Secretary-General’s UN reform agenda, and we must rise to the challenge.

The strategic plan responds boldly, befitting the ambition of the SDGs and is ‘reform-ready’. It has been designed to be responsive to the wide diversity of the countries we serve. This diversity is reflected in the three broad development settings described in the plan: eradicating poverty; structural transformations; and building resilience. The plan describes how our two new platforms; country-level and global, will enable UNDP to deliver our support in a more effective way.  It also identifies the six Signature Solutions against which we will now align our resource and expertise, to make a real impact on poverty, governance, energy access, gender equality, resilience and environmental sustainability.  And it weaves innovation and dynamism into UNDP’s DNA. It is a plan, I believe, that we can be proud of. 

The strategic plan focuses UNDP’s efforts in the coming years on supporting countries to achieve the 2030 Agenda but recognizes UNDP cannot do this on its own. We will be at our best when the entire development system is at its best – working together. 

Strong partnerships, therefore, are central to UNDP’s success, starting with a revitalized partnership with the rest of the UN Development System. UNDP has a unique role and responsibility for helping to bring the system together to provide integrated, high quality support to countries. The values of the United Nations will underpin this work, and together the UN development system will champion Agenda 2030 and its principles, such as leaving no-one behind. 

But the UN Development System is only one piece of the puzzle. Agenda 2030 is a whole-of-society affair, and our strategic plan recognizes that the resources and expertise needed to achieve the SDGs do not exist only within UNDP or the UN System, but also with many other partners. We must fully tap UNDP’s in-house networks and expertise and we must be a connector to the unique and important contributions that others can make. The plan envisions UNDP as an open platform just as much as a policy advisor and service provider – and it is this convening role among partners and stakeholders that is new and exciting. To this end, we are already developing partnerships with innovation hubs and academic partners, as well as strengthening our partnerships with the private sector and civil society.

To deliver on this new approach we are embarking on a significant rethinking of our business processes and the operational model that underpins them. Many questions need to be answered in the coming months, but we are confident that we will find innovative solutions that help make UNDP more responsive, effective and cost-efficient.

As we emerge from a period of intense work on the strategic plan, it may too easily feel that we are at the end of a process. But this is only the beginning. Now is the time for implementation of the new plan, and we continue to count on member states and other partners for their active engagement. Member states will also soon take decisions on the QCPR and reform agenda. UNDP is committed to supporting the Secretary-General’s reform process and to aligning ourselves with member state decisions. The development landscape will continue to evolve, likely in unanticipated ways. From artificial intelligence to climate change, the world is on the cusp of dramatic changes, and for all these reasons, a dynamic, effective and future-focused UNDP embedded in the UN system is needed- now more than ever. But that kind of UNDP – the one we envision in the new strategic plan – will only be possible with your continued support and close collaboration. Engaging with the Executive Board is an ongoing conversation, and I look forward to many more opportunities to define this - the next chapter in UNDP’s proud history.

Thank you.

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