Prevention in Action Global Forum

Opening Remarks delivered by Asako Okai at the Prevention in Action Global Forum 2021 and Official Launch of Development Dialogues: Rethinking Solutions to Crisis in the Decade of Action

Posted March 3, 2021

Excellencies, Distinguished Panellists, and participants from all around the world, Colleagues, Friends and Partners

I am honoured to be here today among the leading voices of the global development, conflict prevention and peacebuilding community. It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to the first annual Prevention in Action Global Forum, which also marks the official launch of UNDP’s Development Dialogues: Rethinking Solutions to Crisis in the Decade of Action.

Within a few short months of its emergence, COVID-19 pushed the entire world into crisis.  According to UNDP’s 2020 Human Development Report, the world is experiencing its first decline in human development since UNDP started measurement 30 years ago. Already in 2020, nearly 75 per cent of people living in fragile contexts experienced extreme poverty, with 38 per cent of that population being children. By current OECD projections, in 2030, roughly one in four people will live in a fragile context.

This stark and powerful reminder compelled UNDP to rethink how we work in responding to and preventing crises. Over the course of the next four months, UNDP aims to shine a spotlight on the most urgent action required to support those living in crisis to move towards sustainable development. In the face of this development emergency, business as usual is just not enough. Bold and agile new approaches are needed that can rapidly respond to evolving drivers of crisis and catalyze transformative change.

The Dialogue series will be organized under five dimensions: Development for peace, for prosperity, for planet, for people, and Partnerships for development.

The first in our series is this Prevention in Action Global Forum, focusing on Development for Peace. Firmly anchored in the Secretary-General’s Prevention, Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace Agenda and the imperative to achieve the SDGs, UNDP has been leading internal and external dialogues and reflections - to articulate an Integrated Prevention Offer that enables countries towards development pathways.

UNDP’s Prevention Offer puts forward a stronger development lens to act early and at scale in conflict and crisis prevention and peacebuilding.

Its objectives are threefold: to stabilize and protect hard-won development gains; to mitigate risks of relapse or recurrence; and to build institutional and community resilience to sustain peaceful development pathways.

This will allow UNDP and partners to deliver solutions to complex problems based on data, evidence, and analysis. The offer is integrated vertically by addressing systemic, structural, and operational prevention imperatives including climate change, governance and intuitions and national capacities for peace. It is horizontally integrated by offering knowledge, policy & programming country support, and financing solutions across the prevention continuum of outbreak-escalation-continuation and recurrence.

Our contribution to conflict prevention and peacebuilding is part of our development work to strengthen capacities for reducing multidimensional risks, in accordance with national policies and priorities, supporting nationally- and regionally-led efforts. As a development organization, we seek and support transformative, integrated, and sustainable solutions that are localized and embedded in resilient, responsive, accountable institutions. Critical in this effort will be reinforcing and harnessing expertise across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus.

The common theme that threads the entire dialogue series is Partnership for Development. Achieving the SDGs necessitates us to work together. Our partners want to see us working together. They want integrated solutions at scale with sustainable impacts. As we will hear during this Forum, the role of the private sector, academia, technology, and civil society are also vital to these efforts.

With this Forum as a starting point, UNDP is committed to providing space for this policy dialogue, exchanges and learning, and for measuring impact of our integrated action. UNDP will continue to strengthen tools and mechanisms to support this.

I am hopeful that the urgency that brings us together in this Forum and the courage and hope to overcome these many challenges, will foster an even more robust spirit of partnership and collaboration among this community across the development and peace pillars.

I look forward to learning about new perspectives over the next two days, over the next four months and beyond.

Thank you!