Rebeca Grynspan: How Rio+20 follow-up could help advance the implementation of the Istanbul Program of Action?

Sep 26, 2012

Remarks by Rebeca Grynspan, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNDP Associate Administrator
The LDC Agenda in a post -Rio+20 perspective:
How Rio+20 follow-up could help advance the implementation of the Istanbul Program of Action?
26 September 2012, 1:15 – 2:45pm

I thank the missions of Nepal, Belgium, and Turkey for inviting me here today.

Advancing sustainable development is one of the most important and challenging tasks of our times. Needless to say, it is particularly acute in the world’s most vulnerable countries – the LDCs.

UNDP is a key partner in assisting LDCs in their sustainable development efforts, including through the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action and the active follow-up from Rio. At least 60% of our core resources for programme are allocated to LDCs. And we focus our work on a number of the priority areas identified in the Istanbul Programme of Action. For instance human and social development, gender equality and empowerment of women, addressing multiple crises and emerging challenges, mobilizing financial resources for development, and capacity building and good governance at all levels. An important instrument in these efforts has been the MDG acceleration framework (MAF) – a tool aimed at identifying and addressing bottlenecks to MDG achievement – which has been implemented in over forty countries, including 21 LDCs.

UNDP is also supporting a new global partnership initiative called the “LDC IV Monitor”, which aims at complementing the official monitoring and review mechanism of the Istanbul Programme of Action. Through research and analysis, policy dialogue, expert group meetings, and other outreach activities, the initiative’s first product will be “the First Independent Review on the State of Implementation of the IPoA”, that is to be published in 2013. UNDP provided both financial and technical support to the Initiative’s first expert group meeting in Dhaka earlier this month, and we will continue to support its activities.

The outcome of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development – Rio+20 - did provide an important impetus to the LDC agenda by reaffirming the international community’s commitment to the full implementation on the Istanbul Programme of Action.

It also underscored the special challenges and vulnerabilities facing LDCs in achieving sustainable development and called for action in a number of areas.

I would like to highlight four outcomes from Rio which we at UNDP believe are conducive for advancing the LDC agenda and the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action going forward:

First, Rio+20 highlighted that ‘triple win’ approaches to development are possible, preferable, and can be scaled up, with benefits across the economic, social, and environmental strands of sustainable development.  This is very important in the LDC context, precisely because it challenges the belief that countries have to choose; that there are always inevitable trade-offs between social, economic and environmental goals, specially when there are scarce resources as it is the case in the LDCs.

There are countless examples of successful triple win approaches to development to build upon.

In Niger, for instance, the government has supported locally managed initiatives which have reforested about four per cent of the country’s land area. The benefits are numerous: farmlands have become more fertile and resilient, cereal yields have increased, and the conditions of women have been improved as they spend less time travelling far for fuel collection, thereby enabling them to make additional income from other activities.

UNDP is committed to help LDCs learn from and scale up these and other kinds of ‘triple-win’ policies and programmes, thereby advancing economic, social, and environment objectives together.

Second, the Rio Outcome document reaffirmed that to achieve our sustainable development goals we need institutions at all level which are effective, transparent, accountable, and democratic. This is fully in line with the Istanbul Programme of Action’s objective to strengthen good governance at all levels.

For example, answering countries demands and in close collaboration with the UN Office for Drugs and Crime, we are, for instance, supporting 37 LDCs which have ratified and are implementing the United Nations Convention against Corruption in their efforts to establish strong, well-staffed, anti-corruption institutions.

Third, at Rio member states expressed their determination to make sustainable access to energy for all a reality.

Access to reliable and modern energy is crucial not only to providing basic services, but also for developing productive activities and promoting economic growth. The energy sector is also a promising area for implementing “triple win” programmes and policies, thereby advancing economic, social, and environmental goals at the same time.

Access to energy is particularly important for LDCs, as exemplified in the Istanbul Program of Action where energy is identified as one of the priority areas for action.

UNDP is actively working in advancing the three objectives of the UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative by 2030 - including in 21 LDCs who have committed to the objectives of the initiative.

Through the ‘SIDS DOCK’ for example, we are helping to bring about transformational change in the energy sectors in a number of small island LDCs, including Kiribati, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

At last, but not least, Rio+20 launched a process for establishing sustainable development goals, and the Secretary General also established a High-level Panel on the Post-2015 agenda; both of which will make an important contribution to this process. We hope to support, co-chairing with DESA, the Secretary General’s UN Task Team on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Needless to say, the whole process on the Post-2015 agenda and its outcome are of huge importance to the LDCs and for the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action.   The UNDG is planning to facilitate national dialogues on the future development agenda in at least fifty countries, over twenty of which are LDCs.


In these short remarks I have emphasised four outcomes from Rio+20 which UNDP believe can play an important role in advancing the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action.

We are committed to working closely with the countries in the group in making the most of these opportunities.

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