Helen Clark: Signing Ceremony of Statement of Intent between the Government of Qatar and UNDP

Dec 6, 2012

Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator
Remarks at Signing Ceremony of Statement of Intent between the Government of Qatar and UNDP
COP 18 Expo Centre
5:30 pm, Thursday 6 December 2012

My thanks go to the General Secretariat for Development Planning (GSDP) of the State of Qatar for arranging this signing ceremony, and in particular to His Excellency Dr. Saleh Al-Nabit. As Secretary General of the GSDP, Dr. Al-Nabit has done much to deepen co-operation between the State of Qatar and UNDP, and deliver on Qatar’s own development plan.

Qatar has made tremendous advances in human development in recent decades. The country’s natural resources and the government’s development policies have served it well, driving economic growth and helping place the country among world leaders in several measures of economic development, including income per capita.

These economic gains have been accompanied by strong advances in broader dimensions of human development, such as education and health. The country is currently ranked number 37 globally on the Human Development Index, up from number 51 in the year 2000.

UNDP has been proud to partner with Qatar in its development progress, working closely with the General Secretariat for Development Planning to provide technical co-operation, specifically in the areas of policy and strategic planning, data analysis and dissemination, and environmental sustainability.

Within the scope of this co-operation we have also supported the Government of Qatar in the preparation of three National Human Development Reports – in 2006, 2009, and 2011, focusing respectively on human development in general, on sustainable development, and on youth.

I am told that these three reports have been useful tools in the Government’s overall effort to promote sustainable human development, and I hope they will also contribute to meeting the objectives laid out in the Qatar National Vision 2030 launched in late 2008, and the National Development Strategy 2011-2016 launched last year. Both of these frameworks reflect Qatar’s resolve to sustain and expand development gains now and in the future, and UNDP stands ready to support these efforts.

UNDP is pleased to be associated with the publication being launched today: Leaving a Legacy for Future Generations: Progress, Challenges and Responses for Sustainable Development.

At the national level, the report comments on challenges Qatar faces in achieving sustainable development, and highlights efforts underway to strengthen progress in many economic, social, and environmental areas.

The environment is a particular area of focus. The report makes it clear that Qatar’s rapid economic expansion and population growth have intensified strains on the country’s natural resources and ecosystems. It highlights the key role which effective policy and regulation can play in ensuring the best use of scarce resources. 

National governments play an important role in providing a healthy enabling environment for sustainable development. To be successful, these efforts also require active participation by the private sector, and broad public awareness of sustainability issues. There are positive developments in these areas. In 2004, only nine companies in Qatar had adopted environmental management standards. By 2010 that number had risen to 87.  Across the country efforts are underway to mainstream environmental content in school curricula, and to increase public awareness of the importance of sustainability. 

I also wish to commend Qatar’s substantial support for development co-operation and its championing of South-South co-operation.

In its role as a host of significant international meetings, Qatar is also helping to promote development and other co-operation globally. These efforts, from the launch of the WTO Doha Round in 2001 to agreement on the Doha Declaration on Financing for Development, at the Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus in 2008, have helped place the needs of developing countries at center-stage. 

Over the last two weeks, negotiators have been meeting here in Doha for the UN Climate Change Conference, COP 18. I hope this meeting will help bring the world closer to a new global agreement on tackling climate change.

I am also pleased that UNDP has been able to partner with Qatar, including through joint work in support of rule of law and anti-corruption efforts in the Arab States region. I have just come from delivering a lecture at Qatar University on the rule of law. 

Let me close by noting that while the ongoing co-operation between UNDP and the General Secretariat for Development Planning is strong, there is scope to extend it. 

Qatar’s determination to achieve its development objectives at home is impressive, and its efforts to ensure that people in other countries too are able to enjoy progress are commendable.

I am pleased to sign this Statement of Intent, which reaffirms UNDP’s partnership with Qatar, and which I hope will form the basis for discussions in the near future on a number of options for enhanced collaboration.

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