Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator: Speech at HLPF Side Event on Asia-Pacific Initiatives towards a Sustainable Future

Jul 17, 2017

Supporting communities in Pakistan to implement long-lasting energy solutions towards a sustainable future. Credit: UNDP Pakistan

As prepared for delivery.

I am very pleased to join you here today, at this UNDP-Japan co-hosted side event. 

While this is my first High Level Political Forum (HLPF) as UNDP’s Administrator, the HLPF itself is not new to me. In fact, I was there, in 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, when governments decided on its creation. As were many of you. So, I think I am not alone in feeling excited to see the Forum grow and become a place that attracts high level attention and interest from so many.

The HLPF is the main global body for accountability for the 2030 Agenda. Here we can discuss what we are each doing to fulfill this ambitious agenda, and exchange experiences and lessons to date. 

Which is why we are gathered here today, at this side event, the objective of which is to foster a dialogue on lessons, opportunities and challenges for sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region.

This is important. There is no single one blueprint for sustainable development, but there are many good examples and experiences to build on – many of which you will hear about today.

From UNDP’s point of view, we have seen and supported multiple initiatives on the 2030 Agenda in the region. For example:

• The Government of Pakistan established a multi-million dollar SDG fund and, with the support of UNDP, is setting up SDG units in several provinces; and 

• In Bhutan, the Government and UNDP jointly assessed the data availability for the SDGs and reviewed the new census to incorporate SDG indicators. 

I know my colleagues Rosemary and Haoliang will share further examples during this event.

Overall, UNDP is a strong supporter, and active facilitator, of the exchange of development knowledge and experiences. In Asia-Pacific we organize together with partners an annual Regional Knowledge Exchange on the 2030 Agenda. This year the Exchange will focus on policy coherence: horizontal, vertical and over time. 

Looking at policy coherence brings up some of the more difficult questions in pursuing sustainable development. How do we address trade-offs between the three dimensions of sustainable development? How do we ensure a longer term, intergenerational perspective in decision making that overrides short term political cycles? 

UNDP does not pretend to have all the answers. But we are working with all of you to collect the pieces of the puzzle and bring them to bare in events like these. 

As an example, later today together with our partners in the UN Development Group, we will launch the ‘SDG Acceleration Toolkit’, a collection of tools and methodologies that can help identify and prioritise the most catalytic actions for SDG progress. 

The HLPF is also about partnerships. Creating, strengthening and showcasing partnerships in various forms, between public institutions, civil society and the private sector. 

UNDP is proud of its long-standing partnership with Japan. Most recently we have been working together to establish the SDGs Holistic Innovation Platform (SHIP), which aims to help Japanese companies to reinvent their core business to contribute to SDG achievement and adopt pro-poor and green business models. With the cross-boundary influence of the private sector, such a partnership can have a far-reaching impact. 

In conclusion - I sincerely hope this side event will inspire you to accelerate action, create new partnerships, and bring innovation to those you are already part of. 

UNDP is certainly committed to make the most of this opportunity as a critical impetus to 2030 Agenda implementation.




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