UNDP’s governing body convenes at start of crucial first year for 2030 Development Agenda

Jan 25, 2016

Photo: Freya Morales / UNDP

New York City  – The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Executive Board, the Organization’s governing body, was in New York City today for its first meeting of 2016, at the start of the year which marks the formal launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 goals aimed at ending poverty, fighting inequality and injustice, and tackling climate change by 2030.

The meeting was the first to be chaired by new Board President for 2016 Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan of Armenia, who assumed the role following an 11 January election by Board Members. 

Ambassador Mnatsakanyan, who currently serves as the Permanent Representative of Armenia to the UN in New York, was joined by three newly elected Vice-Presidents: for the Asia Pacific Group, Ambassador Khiane Phansourivong of Lao PDR; for the Western European and Other Group, Ambassador Bénédicte Frankinet of Belgium; and for the Latin America & Caribbean Group, Minister Counsellor Tumasie Blair of Antigua & Barbuda. The group of African States was still consulting on their choice of candidate to assume the fourth Vice-Presidency of the 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, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN Office for Project Service (UNOPS). The Board meets three times a year.


 Mrs. Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator. Photo: Freya Morales/ UNDP

Addressing the Board, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark acknowledged how crucial the upcoming year would be for UNDP, calling 2016 a “huge opportunity” to make progress. “In 2016, implementation of Agenda 2030 begins in earnest”, she said, noting that UNDP’s particular contribution to SDG implementation would focus on three aspects. 

“First, we will help advance a ‘whole of agenda’ and ‘whole of society’ approach which is coherent across thematic issues and encourages partnerships for implementation”, she said.  “Second, we will mobilise our expertise and programme support around SDG 1 [end poverty in all its forms everywhere]; SDG 10 [reduce inequality within and among countries]; SDG 16 [peace, justice and strong institutions], and on other SDGs where we have particular strengths - including on the environment, sustainable energy and climate change, women’s political and economic empowerment, and health – the latter based on our extensive experience gained in partnership with the Global Fund and as a UNAIDS co-sponsor.  Third, we will support countries to monitor, report, and apply lessons learned on SDG implementation based on our many years of working to advance the MDGs.”

Elsewhere in her address to the Board, Helen Clark drew attention to several current challenges facing the international community, including the issue of migration, which over the past year had seen “very significant movements of people around the world who are looking for safer and more conducive environments in which to live and find work.” 

A new kind of response, she continued, was needed to address effectively the needs of migrants and displaced people.

“These trends are pushing security and humanitarian concerns to the top of policy agendas.  There is an urgent need to focus on the root causes of the increased levels of migration and displacement, including the persistence of poverty and lack of opportunity, and flight from conflict, violent extremism, and lawlessness.  It is also vital for all partners to work across the old humanitarian and development silos to ensure the most effective response.”

The Executive Board’s first regular session continues until 28 January.

More information

UNDP Administrator Helen Clark’s full remarks: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter/speeches/2016/01/25/helen-clark-statement-to-the-first-regular-session-of-the-undp-executive-board.html

Executive Board of UNDP/UNFPA/UNDOPS on the web: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/operations/executive_board/overview.htm


Media contact:

Dylan Lowthian, Communications Specialist dylan.lowthian@undp.org +1 212 906 5516


UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. www.undp.org


UNDP Around the world