Helen Clark: Speech at UNDP and World Bank Side Event on "Tackling the unfinished business: Accelerating MDG progress¨

24 Sep 2013

Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator
Tackling the unfinished business: Accelerating MDG progress, UNDP and World Bank Side Event
United Nations, New York
 
I am pleased to welcome you to this joint UNDP-World Bank side event focused on MDG acceleration.
 
We have with us distinguished Heads of State and Government and other leaders, each of whom has a story to tell on achieving the MDGs. Their experiences show that progress is possible, and that much can be done to complete the unfinished business of the MDGs.
 
At a side event like this at the 2010 UN General Assembly, UNDP promoted the MDG Acceleration Framework which had been developed to help countries accelerate progress towards MDG targets. The approach had already been piloted in ten countries and had helped them to identify bottlenecks in the way of MDG progress, and solutions which could overcome them.
 
The Framework promotes a government-led, multi-sector, and multi-partner approach. It builds on existing evidence and strategies to identify the specific prioritized and pragmatic actions, which need to be taken.
 
The MAF has now been adopted by more than fifty countries across regions and at different stages of development. It is guiding action across a range of MDGs, at both national and sub-national levels.
 
The MAF was launched in four countries in the Sahel to accelerate action on overcoming hunger and in improving nutrition. It provides the means for humanitarian and development actors to work together to build food security and greater resilience to shock. Only eight days ago I joined the Prime Minister of Chad in N'Djamena at the launch of Chad’s MDG Acceleration Action Plan aimed at overcoming hunger and malnutrition.  
 
The MDG Acceleration Action Plan in Niger has contributed to the operationalisation of the country’s 3N – Nigeriens Nourish Nigeriens – food security strategy.  Thanks to the partnerships with and resources from many here today, and the growing support received following the attention the Acceleration Action Plan received from the UN’s Chief Executives Board in April, MDG acceleration in Niger is well underway.
 
In Burkina Faso, MDG acceleration is expanding access to energy for rural communities, leading to new and improved livelihoods, especially for women farmers.
 
In Indonesia, the MAF was used to develop an action plan on maternal health, tackling it as both a health and a development issue. It identifies ways in which partners can work together to expand access to quality health care for poor and disadvantaged people, and includes actions aimed at empowering women and changing discriminatory behavior. 
 
Tonga, Costa Rica, and Cambodia have taken the MAF approach beyond the MDGs, using it variously to spur action on tackling non-communicable diseases, and for the economic empowerment of people with disabilities and for women – providing valuable lessons on how such issues could be tackled in a future global agenda.
 
 
Experience with the MAF suggests that its success lies in bringing stakeholders across disciplines and sectors to solve tangible problems. Sometimes the bottleneck to progress lies far beyond the sector which has been struggling to meet an MDG target. For example, ready access to transport to a health facility may mean the difference between life and death for an expectant mother, a child, or indeed any family member.
 
Other critical factors in the success of the MAF are that it is locally owned and led and context-specific: The acceleration action plans which emerge are based on the circumstances of each country and respond directly to them. There is no one-size-fits all template which will work. As circumstances change and bottlenecks are resolved, countries need to revisit and refresh the priority actions needed.
 
Strong partnerships are fundamental to MDG acceleration. That is what brings President Jim Kim and I and our organisations together here to host this event and in countries where the MAF is being applied.
 
The UN development system and the World Bank are teaming up in unprecedented ways to support MDG acceleration.
 
Our reward will be to see more countries making more progress towards MDG targets and seeing the improvements in people’s lives, which result from that.
 
***

Leadership

Helen Clark became the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme on 17 April 2009, and is the first woman to lead the organization.

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