Inception Workshop on the Voluntary Local Review Process with Selected Egyptian Governorates

Speech Delivered By Alessandro Fracassetti, UNDP Resident Representative in Egypt

January 10, 2023

As prepared for delivery. 

Distinguished Minister Hala El Said, Minister of Planning and Economic Development

Minister Hesham Amna, Minister of Local Development

General Khaled Barakat, President of the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics

Distinguished Governors,

Dear Partners and Colleagues

It is a pleasure to be with you all today for this important event dedicated to SDG localization and voluntary local reviews.

Let me start by welcoming all the governors and governorate representatives present today, representing the regions of Egypt. I have had the pleasure to meet some of you in recent visits.

I would also like to thank the Minister of Planning Dr Hala El Said and her ministry team for organizing this event which we are proud to support.

I am  pleased to learn of the outcomes of the interactive dialogue between the governorates representative, the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development and the Ministry of Local Development  today. UNDP looks forward to supporting you in the process of localizing the SDGs in your respective governorates.

Local governments play an essential role in development. Whether in large cities or small villages, local governments supply key services to their communities, families and businesses. They are the closest link to citizens everywhere.

And local communities and stakeholders, who directly understand local collective needs and capacities, are key players in accelerating development.

In dozens of countries worldwide, UNDP has been supporting local governments in inclusive planning and monitoring, and in delivering services that are responsive to the needs of their populations.

In Egypt this includes, a number of targeted interventions which are part of the project “Supporting the Ministry of Local Development in Decentralization and Integrated Local Development with special emphasis on Upper Egypt”, implemented by UNDP with the Gianna iCal support o the European Union.

UNDP supported other strategic reforms of local government in Egypt in earlier years. In 2005, UNDP was proud to partner in a significant undertaking for promoting  local Governance in Egypt: the publication for the first time of Human Development Reports at the Governorate level for each of the 27 governorates.

Local action is all the more important today, almost twenty years later, as the ambitions for development and need for resilience in the face of crises have increased.

On 25 September 2015, 193 countries  including Egypt approved the Sustainable Agenda 2030 and the associated 17 Goals and 169 targets. These goals and targets summarize accumulated lessons learned in integrated development. They are universal and apply in the same way to advanced economies and developing countries, to villages and to cities.

Egypt’s National Development Strategy, Egypt Vision 2030 echoes much of agenda 2030.

And Egypt is one of very few countries to have undertaken 3 Voluntary National reviews (VNRs) in 2016, 2018 and 2021 and presented them in the UN High Level Political Dialogue in New York. UNDP was proud to support these important reports on the progress towards the SDGs.

As  2023 gets underway, we need to recognize that we are living through a period of multiple, intersecting global crises which are affecting our capacity to met the SDGs: these include the continued effects of COVID-19, geopolitical tension arising rom the war in Ukraine, a cost-of-living crisis, an emerging debt crisis, and an underlying climate emergency.

For the first time in 30 years, the human development index has regressed globally for two consecutive years and the world is not on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Yet, the 2030 agenda and its 17 SDGs remain our best compass as they integrate health, poverty, micro-fiscal stability, climate action and resilience.

Central to the 2030 agenda is the pledge to “leave no one behind”. This applies for individuals but also at the geographical level where no village and no district should be left behind in development.

Most importantly the 231 indicators developed for the SDGs enable quantification and monitoring. This quantification starts at the local level: 110 out of the 169 SDG targets require measurements and follow up at the local level.

We must be clear that there is no silver bullet but the SDGs will not be achieved if they are not implemented at the local level.

UNDP has been offering its long-standing experience on local governance worldwide to SDG localization and integration.

Some examples include working with the government in Indonesia to integrate SDGs into provincial and district planning; with the Philippines to build local government capacities and use local data for tracking progress towards the SDGs; with Ulaanbaatar City in Mongolia to develop a municipal SDG Roadmap. And many others.

UNDP is also serving as co-chair of the Steering Committee of the Local 2030 Coalition. With Coalition stakeholders, we advance SDG localization efforts with tools that empower local actors and ensure alignment of local-to-global priorities to secure a future that is inclusive, resilient and sustainable.

The process of SDG localization contributes to accelerated SDG delivery in several dimensions:

First, since all provinces and districts are different, it helps set realistic targets adapted to each sub-national entities context, while also adding up to national chosen target.

Second, it supports local government with knowledge products, resources and skills, in planning, monitoring and reporting for the SDGs, for example with VLRs.

Third, it serves to escalate the trends and challenges that local governments who serve at the front lines are often the first one to address.

The Government of Egypt has taken great strides towards local integrated development through large-scale initiatives such as Hayah Kareema. Hayah Kareema presents an important opportunity to achieve the SDGs by focusing on the poorest villages and those most left behind.

The process we are launching today to help Governorates craft Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs) offers a significant opportunity for governorates to monitor progress, engage citizens to set targets and report on the results of local actions.

UNDP together with other UN agencies and development partners is pleased to support these efforts of Government and governorates institutions,

We have about 7 years left to achieve the SDGs. Local actions have never been more important than today.

Thank you.