Against the backdrop of the institutional transformation happening across the UN, UNDP is emerging refreshed, anchored in the 2030 Agenda and committed to the principles of universality, equality and leaving no one behind. It is building on and amplifying its initial years of SDG support. For instance, its commitment to helping deliver the UN’s MAPS (Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support) approach for SDG support has morphed from an attempt to help countries craft customised and integrated roadmaps to 2030 into what is now considered a pragmatic flagship offer from the whole UN Development System. UNDP’s own cross-cutting expertise in areas like poverty reduction, resilience, energy, governance, health and gender are helping support the UN’s vast networks of experience and expertise, using approaches such as scenario modelling, people’s engagement, and participatory SDG monitoring. UNDP is also focusing on a range of new initiatives and innovations through multi-sectoral partnerships: from rolling out national Multi-dimensional Poverty measurement, understanding and leveraging new forms and sources of data, to game-changing models like Accelerator Labs and Country Support Platforms for tackling intractable, complex challenges. All these enable UNDP in connecting sectors, adopting open sourcing of ideas and investments, and linking people directly into the networks, technology and support they need to take control of their futures. Ultimately, these form part of the groundwork for the modus operandi of an effective UN development system, helping multiply the UN’s impact far beyond the sum of its parts -- all through the unifying logic of the 2030 Agenda.
Of course, the 2030 Agenda won’t suddenly click into gear because the UN starts collaborating better. But this collaboration is the connective tissue that binds together the needed network of governments, academia, businesses, community groups and others needed to implement the SDGs. Such connectivity will be needed at the ongoing UN Conferences on Climate Change and the Global Compact on Migration and at next year’s SDG Summit. Progress will only survive this current mood of self-fulfilling insularity if it’s reinforced through a wider web of solutions created across whole societies: delivering nature-based development, building peace and resilience, ensuring green and decent jobs and equality – with full inclusion of all women, people of all ages, and all persons with disabilities.
As 2018 draws to a close, we see clear foundations for a better future despite – or perhaps because - it hinges on an ambitious remnant of a determined collectivism. 2015, in the end, may have produced a vision just radical enough to cut through the Gordian realities confronting us today.