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UNDP Global

Screenshot of UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner, from the 4 June 2020 Executive Board session.


As prepared for delivery

Mr. President,

Members of the Executive Board,

Excellencies, colleagues and friends,

Welcome to the annual session of the Executive Board in 2020.

It is hard to take in just how much has changed in the space of a few months.

Since we met in our February board meeting,  COVID-19 has exposed the full extent of human vulnerability for the first time in a generation, and human development - the combined measure of the world’s education, health, and living standards - is on course to decline for the first time since the measurement began in 1990.

Looking back, 2018 and 2019 - the first two years of UNDP’s Strategic Plan -- seem like years from a much simpler era. But, just like the decade they ended, they were years of turbulence. City by city, people came onto the streets to protest rising inequality, stretched social services, a deficit of trust and a damaged climate. That was the baseline for a Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which began in January.

Today, the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the consequences of building societies on the backs of people who have less. And other development emergencies have not pressed ‘pause’, as we saw last month as Cyclone Amphan pummeled India and Bangladesh and locusts continued their destruction in East Africa and parts of the Middle East and South Asia.

With up to 60 million more people facing extreme poverty in 2020, governments and societies face a series of immediate and complex choices as they work to save lives and set a course for the future. All the more reason, Excellencies, for #NextGenUNDP to be at countries’ side and at our best, hand-in-hand with the rest of the United Nations family.

This is the context in which we meet today – in our increasingly familiar virtual setting – to review progress at the mid-point of UNDP’s Strategic Plan 2018-2021. Through the Mid-Term Review, UNDP demonstrated its effectiveness in helping countries to reduce poverty and inequality in the most turbulent of times. As we look beyond recovery from COVID-19, to plot a path to the future together, now is the time to redouble that support, with the SDGs as our common compass. Let us first look back at results achieved.

Mid-term review of the Strategic Plan

Two years ago, with this Strategic Plan, we set out an ambitious agenda together: to make UNDP reform-ready and future-focused, in the context of what Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed called the “biggest transformation of the UN Development System in history”. At the halfway point development progress is on track, and the transformation agenda -- though by no means complete -- is well underway.


For example, in the last two years, 48 million people gained access to basic services with UNDP’s support. We continued to champion the use of multidimensional poverty indices, helping 30 governments to build their own. Our 2019 Human Development Report drew attention to a new generation of inequalities -- from the digital divide to access to higher education -- and how to tackle them, going beyond income, beyond averages and beyond today.


Our collaboration with the government of Bangladesh on digitalized public services saved $8 billion, 2 billion otherwise wasted workdays and 1 billion office visits. UNDP supported stronger human rights and rule of law systems in over 70 countries and worked to prevent violent extremism in 34 countries.


Nine of our ten largest country programmes are in crisis or fragile contexts, where UNDP promotes closer collaboration between humanitarian, development, and peace actors. Our Funding Facility for Stabilization in Iraq has helped 8.5 million Iraqis, half of them women, since 2015. Our $400m partnership with the World Bank in Yemen, linking emergency response and resilience-building, created over 10.7 million workdays of emergency employment, and helped to stabilize the local economy. 

I saw the value of UNDP’s integrated approach in fragile contexts when I visited Sudan in January. Supporting inclusive governance and reviving the Sudanese economy are key to sustaining peace, achieving the transition to civilian democratic rule, and creating better prospects for all. 


UNDP helped countries to access $1 billion in vertical funds. Implementing the nature-climate portfolio developed by UNDP in 2019, for example, would see 275 million tons of CO2 emissions avoided -- the equivalent to taking 59 million cars off the road for a year.

Our new, integrated offer for Small Island Developing States covers the blue economy, digital transformation, and climate action, with a focus on finance throughout. The Pacific Islands Oceanic Fisheries Management initiative shows the potential of blue economies: with UNDP’s support, all four tuna species are now being fished sustainably, while tuna fisheries’ contribution to Pacific GDP has increased by two-thirds and jobs in the sector have almost doubled.


With UNDP support, 1.4 million households headed by women, and 1.2 million in rural areas, gained access to clean and affordable energy: a springboard to resilience and poverty alleviation.  Through the UNDP-Global Fund partnership, 652 health facilities in eight countries are running on solar energy. UNDP leveraged funding to aid countries’ green energy transitions, including $50 million of private financing for energy efficiency and biodiversity in Kazakhstan and, with the UN Capital Development Fund, issued a $10 million guarantee to attract commercial investment in solar power in the Gambia– one of 100 countries with whom we partner on sustainable energy.


Over 23 million women gained access to services and 48 per cent of new voters registered with UNDP support were women. We worked with 80 countries to tackle gender-based violence, including through the UN-European Union Spotlight partnership. 750 companies in 16 countries are now certified with UNDP’s Gender Equality Seal. With UNDP support, 74 countries integrated gender into environmental and climate policies, plans and frameworks, and 97 countries strengthened women’s leadership and decision-making in natural resource management.

Despite the progress, UNDP faces persistent challenges. UNDP needs to invigorate efforts to enhance women’s leadership in crisis prevention and recovery and intensify efforts to promote women’s agency, upending patriarchal social norms, strengthening inclusive institutions, and ensuring a digital transformation that works for everyone. These challenges mirror global trends and findings from the 2019 HDR, which shows that enhanced capabilities are more challenging to achieve. Our commitment to gender equality is more important than ever in the context of COVID-19.

Integrated solutions to tackle complexity

As the Mid-Term Review of the Strategic Plan substantiates, the full value of the results achieved across our signature solutions is unlocked by responding to what governments increasingly want from us: integration –not sectoral solutions, but whole-of-society solutions to complexity, at scale. 

And integration simply works better: performance analysis shows that applying multiple signature solutions to 30-60 per cent of outputs improves overall programme results.

The Climate Promise

That is why, for example, UNDP launched our ambitious Climate Promise in 2019, testing our abilities to develop and deliver integrated programming across our poverty, governance, resilience, environment, gender, and energy portfolios, at speed and scale.

By February 2020, we surpassed our target of supporting the climate ambition of 100 countries. Today, the roll-out of the Climate Promise continues in 110 countries with UNDP’s strategic partners on climate action on board, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UNICEF, IRENA, World Bank, UN Habitat, the Global Environment Facility and the Green Climate Fund, in close collaboration with the NDC Partnership.


The Climate Promise illustrates three fundamental features of the #NextGenUNDP that emerged over the first two years of this Strategic Plan: first, our commitment to helping countries tackle complexity; second, our ambition to advance sustainable development at scale, and third, our certainty that as the UN, we are stronger working together ---- just as the United Nations development system reforms intend.

From collaborating with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to strengthen resilience in the Lake Chad Basin, to our ongoing work with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Development System (UNDS) agencies to strengthen health systems, our programming with other UN entities is important and increasing, and fundamental to how #NextGenUNDP works.

#NextGenUNDP is not just a slogan and it did not emerge overnight. It was brought to life by a series of deliberate, intensive re-engineering efforts within UNDP and with our partners to push the boundaries in how we think, deliver, invest, and manage.

Today, as the UN works to help countries prepare, respond, and recover in the face of COVID-19, our investments are proving their worth. Here are some highlights of the steps we took and their impact.

More effective and efficient

We started by eliminating the organization’s deficit in 2017 and balancing the books – three years in a row.  We streamlined 150 business processes and invested in further business model improvements. We reined in costs and increased productivity, spending 91 cents in every US dollar on programmes, up from 88 cents from 2014-2017, representing approximately $240 million in additional resources for development in 2018-2019.

We strengthened UNDP’s investment in a talented, diverse, and results-focused workforce with the People for 2030 Strategy, including through our award-winning collaboration with UN Volunteers to recruit people with disabilities.

UNDP’s top and deputy leadership positions across 140 countries and territories are now gender-balanced   and geographically diverse. Gender parity among staff was maintained, but gender parity in middle management and the representation of staff from programme countries at D1 level and above still need improvement.

UNDP has done well on the UN System-Wide Action Plan (SWAP) 2.0, where we met or exceeded 88 per cent of performance indicators in 2019, and we ranked as a High Scorer in the 2020 Global Health 50/50 Gender and Health Index. We have done much to improve our working culture, including through concrete actions to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment.

And we continue to make UNDP greener and cleaner: our Greening Moonshot has raised our targets on greenhouse gas emissions, to reduce them by 25 per cent by 2025 and 50 per cent by 2030.

With UNDP’s full field-level leadership now in place, we will strive for greater productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness in the coming two years of the Plan.

We are very conscious of the potential effects of COVID-19 on our ability to do so. This is something we are monitoring carefully and mitigating where we can.

Enhanced services to our UN partners

UNDP remains the largest single UN entity contributor to the Resident Coordinator (RC) system, as well as the operational backbone of the UNDS, providing payroll, travel and procurement services to entities across the UN, with our RC system services rated at 4.2 out of 5 stars.

At the same time, UNDP hosts crucial functions for the UN’s work around the world, including the Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office, which managed $1.25 billion on behalf of the UNDS in 2019, and UN Volunteers, which has a 200,000 strong talent pool in over 100 professional categories. UNV deployed 8,202 professionals in 2019, 17 per cent more than in 2018, and has 700 volunteers in the field right now working on the COVID-19 response.

UNDP hosts the UN Office for South-South Cooperation, which played a critical role in bringing countries together for BAPA+40 in Argentina in 2019, and the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), through which three million unbanked and underbanked people benefited from access to digital and other financial services. You will hear more on this at the September board meeting where UNCDF will present their mid-term strategic framework review and annual report.

I encourage you to support the critical work of these UN entities.

More innovative and enterprising

UNDP’s Accelerator Labs Network was established across 78 countries in just 12 months and awarded the Apolitical 2019 Global Public Service Teams of the Year award for evidence-based policy. Expansion of the network is already underway.  

Twenty-four per cent of those who joined the Lab Network are moving back to their home country to take up their role — an indication that UNDP is attracting world-class talent back to developing countries.

UNDP established the SDG Finance Sector Hub to bring coherence and scale to our work on financing for the SDGs, including with our UN partners and the European Union to advance Integrated National Financing Frameworks, underway in 19 countries; with our private sector partners like Samsung, Mars and Microsoft, and a broad array of investors through “SDG Impact”; and with the OECD and a number of Member States on Tax Inspectors without Borders.

Our Digital Strategy is testing new programmes in the field while enhancing organizational digital literacy, with 20 per cent of staff trained so far. UNDP won the FutureEdge 50 award for our cybersecurity platform and, last month, we launched a new Information Technology Strategy to accompany and accelerate UNDP’s digital transformation.

Partner confidence related in financing

In our 2020 partnerships survey of over 3,100 partners, 80 per cent considered UNDP a valuable partner.  Steady financial contributions to UNDP in 2018-2019 reinforce partner confidence. In total, UNDP managed $14.9 billion in available resources, including $1.25 billion in core contributions.

UNDP received $1.82 billion in government cost-sharing contributions (GCS), the largest share of which was for our governance work with programme countries. GCS, alongside government contributions to local office costs (GLOC) demonstrate Member States’ support to UNDP programmes and offices, as do other non-core contributions.

For example, 2019 saw a 54 per cent increase in investment in UNDP’s thematic funding windows, a 27 per cent increase in engagement with UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund pooled funds, and a 14 per cent increase in multi-year pledges to regular or “core” resources compared to 2018.

Grants and loan support from International Financial Institutions (IFIs) increased to $676 million, up 50 per cent on the previous biennium. At the same time, 2019 saw a 2 per cent drop in the use of core resources to run UNDP -- freeing an additional $19.5 million of core resources for development programming as a result.

Core resources deliver better results

In response to demand, UNDP is moving from a project- to a portfolio-based approach, designed to deliver whole-of-society solutions.  This is not easy in an organization that is largely project-funded.

A fundamental part of the Secretary General’s Funding Compact, core resources underpin UNDP’s innovation and responsiveness, operational capacity and flexibility, and our networks and global presence. Evidence from the Mid-Term Review highlights their catalytic impact across the 2030 Agenda. UNDP teams with a higher proportion of core funding, for example, demonstrated stronger gender results.

And yet, our core resources are spread thinly. This may become more of a challenge in the next planning cycle as the number of middle-income countries is slated to increase. If core resources’ levels stay the same, core allocations across all middle-income countries will be limited.

I thank partners for their core and non-core contributions to UNDP, therefore – donor and programme countries alike -- and I sincerely hope we can count on your continued commitment to ensure robust and flexible core resources for the rest of this Plan, and as we prepare for the next one.

This is a critical part of UNDP’s next generation transformation, which is by no means complete.

The #NextGenUNDP transformation is not complete

We have come a long way since 2018.  But some areas have fallen short of milestones or are still experiments underway, as set out in detail in the Mid-Term Review. Our focus in the next two years, therefore, will include:

-          strengthening UNDP’s capacity to learn: the 2018 poverty evaluation for Least Developed Countries revealed weaknesses in UNDP’s approach and a need to rethink our tools and programme design.  Determined to learn from this – and from the 2019 Human Development Report on inequalities – we are working hard to strengthen our impact on multidimensional poverty and reorient our approach to social protection, which is more critical now than ever.

-         leveraging expertise more effectively: the extraordinary expertise and experience throughout UNDP is not always properly connected.  The Global Policy Network is taking time to get fully up and running and is not yet sufficiently networked with the Accelerator Labs, Country Offices, and country support platforms to share experiences, scale success, and achieve large-scale impact.

-         enhancing integrated support: Signature Solutions are designed to have multidimensional impact but there are still gaps.  Clean energy is not always well-integrated into broader interventions, for example. Performance analysis insights are highlighting which combinations of signature solutions work best to maximize outcome-level results. And while we have established 60 country support platforms, not all are yet true “integration engines”; they need further development.

-         managing audit and risk: transparency and accountability for results and impact continue to be top UNDP priorities, as reflected in our ranking as one of the most transparent aid organizations in the world, according to the Aid Transparency Index. The UN Board of Auditors gave UNDP its 14th unqualified (clean) audit opinion and the Office of Audit and Investigations rated us “partially satisfactory with some improvements needed” on governance, risk management and controls. Acting on and learning from this rating remain essential, and steps are underway to do so.

The Strategic Plan made UNDP reform ready. It set the stage for new Country Programme Documents and reimagined roles for our Resident Representatives. 73 per cent of our partners are satisfied that UNDP supports Resident Coordinators to strategically position the UN at country level, a percentage we will work to increase every day together with the Resident Coordinator system.

Because our teamwork will be tested as we chart a course for the next two years of this Strategic Plan, and beyond.

A litmus test of UN reform

The COVID-19 pandemic is a litmus test for the commitment we have made to deliver better, quicker, and more effective support to programme countries.

Our ability to help countries to prepare, respond and recover today, including as the UN’s designated technical lead on socio-economic recovery, is aided by the #NextGenUNDP investments made over the first two years of our Strategic Plan implementation, and by the ongoing support of our partners and our Executive Board.

Collaboration with our partners across the UN system is an indispensable element of our response. UNDP is working with the Resident Coordinator’s Office (RCO), UN Volunteers and UN Women to help informal economy workers and small businesses in Argentina, and partnering with the UN Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries and WHO in Turkey under the Technology Access Platform.

We are working with WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF, the RCO, private sector partners and the European Space Agency to establish a Big Data platform in Moldova for close-to-real-time analysis, and with World Bank in Cote d’Ivoire to regularly monitor household vulnerability – one of 70 countries where UNDP is leading or co-leading impact assessments with UN Country Teams and IFIs.

Based on COVID-19 response analysis from the field, ingredients for UNDS success include strong national ownership, one UN voice, and joint initiatives and pooled funding mechanisms that can be quickly activated and scaled. Obstacles include the need for a speedy response juxtaposed against the complexity of the crisis across the humanitarian, peace and development nexus, and funding structures that can incentivize competition instead of collaboration.

Building back better from COVID-19 must deliver dividends for those who -- before the virus ever spread -- were already out of school, out of work, offline and off the grid. Conflict-hit regions, where the social contract is already damaged, cannot be left dependent on short-term aid in the world’s peripheral vision.  

This is a critical moment, therefore, to address the humanitarian-development divide upon which international aid systems have evolved, so that longer-term sustainable development is not crowded out financially by the equally critical humanitarian emergency. 

Tipping points: choices that will shape the future

The pandemic and the response to it are a systemic shock akin to experiencing the 80-year climate crisis in an 18-month health emergency. But this sharp blow could unblock the space for decision-makers to act in ways that were not on the policy, legal, or regulatory tables before.

The coming months are critical, therefore, as the choices governments make today could usher in the tipping points that transform our societies and our planet for the better. A forward-looking response to COVID-19 could end an era where one third of all food produced is wasted while 1 in 10 people goes hungry, where 10 times more is spent on fossil fuel subsidies alone than on all investments in renewable energy.

The next phase of our prepare, respond, and recover offer, therefore, is designed to help decision-makers make choices and manage complexity in the midst of uncertainty.  It is focused on four main areas, identified based on demand from our partners on the ground: governance and agency, social protection, green economy, and digital disruption.

Governance and agency – building a new social contract

This area of work is more important than ever for UNDP as governments come under unprecedented pressure to navigate crisis and uncertainty, deliver digitalized services, enable access to information and social protection, and function in transparent, accountable and effective ways that advance social cohesion while upholding human rights and the rule of law, particularly in fragile contexts where justice and security concerns may be more acute.

UNDP will support our partners in making choices that deliver inclusive services while laying the foundations for the future -- a new social contract fully reflective of people’s agency that builds trust in institutions and closes the gap between people and the state. This will include supporting governments to develop inclusive economic recovery strategies, invest in priority markets, and strengthen engagement with the private sector.

This support is already underway. In Uzbekistan, for example, as pressure on medical supplies mounts, UNDP is helping the government to assess the health sector for corruption risks, and to manage risks identified. In Vietnam, UNDP is supporting the Government’s capacity to communicate with ethnic minorities and people with disabilities on the spread of COVID-19.

In Sudan, UNDP is supporting central authorities to keep the doors open to deliver services, manage aid, and maintain the momentum of peaceful transition.

Social protection – uprooting inequalities

A worldwide shift is underway in concepts of health, social protection, systems of care, and well-being. Telling people to wash their hands means nothing if they do not have access to water. Working from home is meaningless without shelter or a job, or if the supply chains through which farmers and informal rural workers earn their living are shattered.

Jobs, social protection, including universal health coverage, and access to other basic services will be central to uprooting the inequalities that permeated societies before COVID-19, and that are starkly visible today. The drive for gender equality is leading a wave of change that must be supported to address the discrimination and bias that emanate from entrenched social norms, including around re-distribution of unpaid care work, leadership, and the digital sphere.

For governments to invest in these areas, they need fiscal space to do so. UNDP echoes the call of the Secretary General for a debt standstill for all vulnerable countries. We are exploring how this could translate into a Temporary Basic Income, and whether Universal Basic Income could form part of a renewed social contract.

As set out in the 2019 Human Development Report, we recognize the need for a capabilities’ revolution to define the future of work, led by youth and based on continuous skills attainment and digital leapfrogging.

Public-private solidarity and partnerships will be critical to create strategies for informal sector workers and a new generation of resilient, green jobs that support youth-led entrepreneurship. UNDP is working closely with the International Labour Organization (ILO), UNICEF, and other partners in this respect.

Green economy – for once and for all

Like climate change, the pandemic offers proof -- if proof were still needed -- that all life on Earth is connected. Scientists warned for years that unrestricted deforestation, illegal wildlife trade, and zoonoses would unleash an uncontrollable pandemic.

This is the moment, therefore, to restore balance between people and planet, designing and de-risking nature-based solutions as part of a new social safety net for the world, encouraging sustainable public-private partnerships such as in nature-based ecotourism and green transport systems, transforming agriculture from a carbon contributor to a carbon sink, and ensuring integrated thinking and action with the health sector to tackle air pollution, which kills seven million people each year.

Taking health and education benefits into account, the savings accrued by decarbonizing the global economy by 2050 would be eight times the cost, according to IRENA research.  Cumulative global GDP would grow by USD 98 trillion above business-as-usual between now and 2050 and renewable energy jobs would quadruple to 42 million.

Through an integrated response, publicly-financed fossil fuel subsidies, which cost societies $5.3 trillion or 6.3% of global GDP, could be redirected to support essential public services and social protection. Since the international climate change agreement was signed in Paris in 2015, 33 major global banks have collectively invested $1.9 trillion into fossil fuels. These are investments in an energy future that has already passed its sell-by date. Periods of low prices of oil, like now, are the best time to introduce reforms that re-price energy.

Today, therefore, as governments determine how to invest tax-payers’ money, they have a choice to make: stimulate fossil fuel industries and other remnants of the way things were— short-term band-aids that will reinforce the collision course with nature — or invest in the future: in a more resilient recovery in balance with the planet and powered by renewable energy that sets us on the right path in tackling the climate crisis. 

This work is underway. For example, UNDP and South Africa are exploring how to build on the country’s ‘Working for Water’ public works programme, which already hires 30,000 workers per year, to expand green job creation, while through Malawi’s Innovation Challenge Fund we are focusing economic recovery in nature-based tourism.

With FAO, we are working to translate countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions and adaptation plans into agriculture and land use climate solutions, including to boost green and resilient recovery from the pandemic, while Antigua and Barbuda, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, and Nigeria have already requested UNDP’s support on the political economy of fossil fuel subsidy reform.

Digital disruption and innovation – for speed and scale

With schools closed and stark divides in access to online learning, UNDP estimates that 86 percent of children in primary education are now effectively out-of-school in countries with low human development - compared to just 20 percent in countries with very high human development. This is the largest reversal in education on record, taking us back to the 1980s -- a time before the Sustainable Development Goals or the Millennium Development Goals.

Closing the internet access gap in low- and middle-income countries is estimated to cost US $100 billion— about 1 per cent of the world’s extraordinary COVID-19 fiscal programmes to date. This step alone would halve the human development regression the pandemic could trigger by getting children back to education – albeit remotely. And it is eminently affordable.

This is just an illustration of what investing in digitalization could achieve right now. As our partners in UNICEF, ILO, ITU, WHO, UNCDF and beyond know, the surge in tele-schooling, tele-working, tele-medicine, and digital payments during the COVID-19 crisis are just the tip of the iceberg in digital transformation.

As an institution, UNDP is in a much better position to respond to the pandemic today than we would have been 12 months ago, as a result of investments in our innovation architecture and our new Digital Strategy, which helped to keep our dedicated teams across the world operational and our doors ‘open’ during these past months. Over 40 governments have requested UNDP’s support in keeping their public services going since the pandemic began, and from the Maldives to Brazil to Sudan, we are already making this possible.

We are also helping to keep money moving through digital finance, which will be explored in more detail in the upcoming report of the Secretary-General’s Task Force on Digital Financing of the SDGs. In Uganda, for example, informal traders are being connected with their suppliers online to maintain their supply chains. Building on our digital financing collaboration, UNDP and UNCDF are working in collaboration with the World Bank, International Organization on Migration and Member States to improve the flow of remittances, so that migrants and their families can continue to cover basic needs and services such as food, housing, education, and health care during the pandemic.


Different societies faced different starting points to the COVID-19 crisis. For some, the health crisis preceded the socio-economic shock; for others, it was the reverse, with punishing rural- and informal-sector job and income losses as the point of departure. For countries in or recovering from conflict, crisis may stem from evaporated momentum for peace or dwindling international attention, snowballing from there.

Whatever a country’s starting point, as UNDP’s Strategic Plan sets out, UNDP will help our partners to make choices and build national response plans in the midst of uncertainty, engaging the expertise of public and private partners, and aligning public and private investments, including through Integrated National Financing Frameworks, where we are already working with over 50 countries.

In this second phase of our COVID-19 response, our work will focus on these four integrated areas, looking beyond recovery to lay the foundations for a fair and just transition to the future. These areas may evolve as countries’ needs evolve and as we together adapt to and learn from the impacts of the pandemic.

UNDP will redouble its efforts to deliver development results at speed and scale in this new context, including by raising the ambition level of nearly all our 2021 development results targets. Our COVID-19 response will be a gravitational feature of the rest of this Strategic Plan period and it, alongside climate change, will be key in defining the context for the next.

I would like to offer my appreciation to each of the Member States and partners who engaged so closely with us in the Mid-Term Review of our Strategic Plan and who have supported our progress together to date. Your insight has been invaluable, and your continued engagement, ownership and guidance will be fundamental as we move ahead.

As Amartya Sen said, while we cannot live without history, we need not live within it either. The Great Depression of the 1920s and 30s impacted economies worldwide and resulted in political and social changes that defined the remainder of the 20th Century – including by setting economies and ecology on a collision course.

Recovering from COVID-19 must take a different path. Out of tragedy, we as multilateral actors have a chance to turn the greatest reversal of human development in our lifetimes into a historic leap forward to a sustainable, inclusive, peaceful, and resilient future, with the SDGs as our compass. This is the path UNDP is committed to, and we look to your support and encouragement on this journey.

Thank you for your continued support.