Once in a generation opportunity to set a transformational global agenda for sustainable development

Jan 30, 2015

Executive Board commends UN Agencies work in 2014: urges continued commitment and work in the year ahead

New York -- The UN contribution to Ebola recovery, tackling crises, building resilience, climate change and poverty reduction dominated discussions during UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board meetings in New York this week, against the backdrop of the tremendous opportunity presented by events in 2015 for sustainable development.

“We see 2015 as a huge opportunity to advance the global sustainable development agenda,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark opening the first regular session of the Executive Board.

The 36-member Executive Board is made up of UN Member States and is mandated by the UN General Assembly to provide inter-governmental support to, and overall supervision of the activities of UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS.

With the SDGs due to be agreed by UN Member States in New York in September, and other key events in 2015 on disaster risk reduction, development financing and climate change, Helen Clark said the outcomes of these major processes are "a once in a generation opportunity to push forward global actions to eradicate extreme poverty and inequality, build resilience, and reduce carbon emissions – outcomes that must go hand in hand.”

But 2014 saw volatility in many parts of the world. The catastrophic impact of Ebola on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have left a mammoth recovery effort, which UNDP is leading. Conflicts continue in many parts of the world and UNDP remains heavily engaged in Syria, Central African Republic, Ukraine and Mali among many others.

In statemtents during the opening session Executive Board Members of the three UN agencies highlighted the importance of poverty reduction remaining a strong focus of UNDP’s work.
Helen Clark agreed in her response to the board. “Poverty eradication remains at the heart of all we do and at the very heart of UNDP’s strategic plan,” she said.

“UNDP supports countries to build the capacities needed to generate livelihoods and jobs; to put in place social protection systems which enable families and communities to withstand shocks and bounce-back strongly; and to harness resources sustainably.”

2015 – A critical year for global action on development

Member States and the heads of UNOPS and UNFPA emphasized the momentous nature of this year, with the confluence of a number of important global processes, and recognized UNDP’s overall leadership role in the response to crisis situations and in the post-2015 process.

“Through the advancement of sustainable development goals, there is a real chance to address some of the major challenges of the world, to underscore the fundamental concept of working towards a fair and just society,” said Grete Faremo, Executive Director of UNOPS.

In his opening comments to the Executive Board, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA said “2015 offers a new opportunity for the world to galvanize around a common and uniting agenda – a promise to, and for the future.”

Dr. Osotimehin called on the global community to place people and their rights at the centre of their development efforts, and underlined UNFPA’s own determination to do this.  

 “We at UNFPA remain firmly committed to enhancing our efforts, and mobilizing the broadest possible support, to promote the sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights of all people; to ensure that no woman dies giving life; to enable young people to realize their full potential; and thereby to set the terms by which everyone everywhere can live in dignity and with full access to their human rights.”

Continued efforts to improve development delivery

All three UN agencies thanked the Executive Board members and reaffirmed their agencies' continued efforts to deliver evidence-based, transparent and accountable programming across the world to tackle ongoing challenges, and to embrace new opportunities over the next year.

“At UNOPS we continuously work to improve our processes and methods so that we can deliver more efficient and effective solutions. We stand ready to provide this experience in support of Member States and the UN family, as they address the peacebuilding, humanitarian and development challenges of our time,” said Grete Faremo.

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The first regular session of the year of the Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), held between 26 and 30 January in New York, was chaired by newly elected president of the Executive Board, Ambassador Luis Fernando Carrera, Permanent Representative of Guatemala to the UN.
 
The President and four Vice-Presidents are elected by their respective regional groups to oversee the workings of the Board, including preparation and organization of Board meetings, facilitation of transparent decision-making and promoting dialogue.

The Executive Board meets three times a year in January, June and September. All decisions are published on the Executive board website at www.undp.org/execbrd

Contact

New York: James Maiden, +1-203-428-7860, james.maiden@undp.org

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