UNDP Resident Representative Ms Louise Chamberlain’s Speech at the Celebration of 30 years of development cooperation in Kyrgyz Republic

November 23, 2022


Good evening! It is my profound pleasure and privilege to welcome you here tonight on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme to a celebration of thirty years of development cooperation in the Kyrgyz Republic!

I would like to thank you all for being here with us to celebrate, for being true friends of the United Nations, and highly valued partners of UNDP. Your presence symbolizes the dignified and constructive cooperation between UNDP and the Kyrgyz Republic over many years, and, as stated by the UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner in the video, for this we are deeply grateful.

Let me especially thank the government for strong cooperation over the years, and in the organization of today’s event, including especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, and the Director and staff of the Opera and Ballet theatre in the organization of today’s event. Our thanks also go to the amazing artistic leaders and the performers you will see on stage tonight.

We have devoted this evening’s theme to the celebration of development – development progress in the Kyrgyz Republic, development issues – but also development cooperation – which for many partners started in this country in 1992.

On the 14th of September 30 years ago, the Government of the newly formed Kyrgyz Republic and UNDP signed an agreement to commence cooperation. Since then, UNDP has implemented more than 200 projects, amounting to more than $430 million dollars in grant funding. Some of the results of our work was reflected in the film we just saw.

This remarkable thirty-year period has seen Kyrgyzstan transition into a modern, lower middle-income country and launch many reforms. Tonight we commemorate for example the escape by many vulnerable people from poverty, the empowerment and enhanced status of women, and in the improved access to vital public services for citizens – and because we know that many people are still deprived, we also commit to redouble our efforts.

Ladies and Gentlemen, in today’s world, partnership, collaboration, and co-creation are increasingly essential to deliver results.

Dear UN Resident Coordinator, Dear UN Country Team colleagues, together we accompany Kyrgyzstan on its development path and work towards the Kyrgyz Republic’s successful participation in the global community, and for the advancement of its people.

Members of the civil society and of the media – the importance of your role in articulating the country’s narrative, in service delivery, and in communicating openly and to a wider public on matters of development and human rights, cannot be overstated. We understand the need to sustain conditions for your work and to to integrate the contribution of diverse stakeholders.

To our dear development partners – UNDP continues to enjoy very strong partnerships with many of you, and we greatly value our successful cooperation, including on technical matters. To the countries that support UNDP at core, and who support global initiatives like the Climate Promise and UNDP’s global governance and rule of law programme, please know that such support has enabled UNDP to be agile and quickly help the country’s climate action and accelerate justice sector reform, to name a few. Thanks to the core funds, UNDP can support development with a focus on the country’s national plan. This reinforces impartiality of the UN at country level.

And let me mention that UNDP, along with sister UN Agencies, plays a critical role in the country’s access to finance for environment, climate, and health, as a key programming entity for the vertical funds, in particular but not limited to the Global Fund for HIV, TB and malaria, the Global Environment Facility, and the Green Climate Fund. Our cooperation with nationally designated authorities remains outstanding.

All the UNDP staff and I – and of course all the previous incarnations of management and staff – feel privileged to have made a contribution to the development of this beloved country. What unites all the staff working for the United Nations – national and international alike – is the spirit and the desire to improve people’s lives, nurture growth and prosperity, and strive for a better tomorrow. And tonight therefore, is also a celebration of our staff members’ work, and of their dedication.

Ultimately, the results of development belong to the Kyrgyz nation, people, and government. The leadership of government officials at all levels, of entrepreneurs, of civil society activists, academia and others is what makes development possible. It is your vision and determination that drives the country forward.

Ladies and Gentlemen

UNDP advocates for human development, which is a process to enlarge people’s choice. In tonight’s performances, you will recognize these aspirations – for freedom, for equality, for acceptance, and inclusion. And this is the central, transformative promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to in fact Leave No One Behind, and it is the very essence of the SDGs, which is also called “humanity's blueprint for a sustainable and just future”.

When the UNDP, as we know it now, was established in 1966, it was already recognized that development, by definition, is a multidimensional undertaking. And in fact, with the world changing at an ever-increasing speed, with the onset of new technologies and the need for system-wide approaches to achieve progress, the level of complexity that countries have to deal with has grown exponentially.

Against this backdrop, the Sustainable Development Goals can be considered an integrated roadmap for countries to achieve development of people – with prosperity, planet, partnership and peace all in balance. UNDP of today helps countries develop policies, expand leadership and partnership, and develop institutional capabilities – but we also aim to innovate, disrupt, and experiment, to transform development and find new and more effective approaches.

In today’s uncertain world, fraught with multiple crises, we must work harder to prevent people falling back into poverty; we must continue to strengthen the capacity of institutions to ensure fundamental freedoms and protect human rights; and we must do more to fight inequality and discrimination.

Today UNDP is known for its role in generating solutions to complex development challenges at system-wide level, supporting structural reforms and building resilience. In closing, may I once again express our appreciation for our collective efforts in the quest for Kyrgyzstan to meet the SDGs.

My colleagues and I hope you will enjoy this evening, with some reflections on the road traveled, and the road still ahead. I wish you all good health, happiness, and prosperity, and once again, thank you. Rahmat!