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UN already forging ahead on ways to implement ambitious new development agenda

UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark.
UN Photo/Cia Pak
UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark.

UN already forging ahead on ways to implement ambitious new development agenda

Within hours of the General Assembly’s adoption today of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the United Nations was already looking ahead to the monumental task of wiping out poverty, fighting inequality and tackling climate change over the next 15 years.

The UN Development Group (UNDG), which unites the UN funds, programmes, specialized agencies, departments, and offices that play a role in global development, pledged its collaboration with all Member States, rolling out a common approach to eliminate bottlenecks, provide new direction and the necessary coordination.

“The transformation of our world for which the 2030 Agenda calls is a tall order,” UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark told a meeting of the UNDG, which she chairs.

“But we all appreciate what it will mean for the well-being of people, including the one billion who continue to live in extreme poverty, on under $1.25 per day and the prospects of the one planet on which we all depend,” she said, of the common approach, called MAPS – for ‘Mainstreaming, Acceleration, and Policy Support.’

“Mainstreaming refers to the support we can give governments to incorporate the agenda in national and local strategies, plans, and budgets,” she explained of the 17 individual Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) embodied in the Agenda.

“We can contribute to mapping what countries are already doing, and where new areas of emphasis and direction are needed for the SDGs. We can help countries strengthen data systems, and sensitize national stakeholders about the new agenda,” she told the meeting which was convened to kick start the effort to take the aims of the new Agenda ‘from conversation to global action.’

On acceleration, she said the past five years of experience gained in speeding up the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the previous 15-year programme adopted at the 2000 UN summit would help identify obstacles and the actions needed for progress on multiple targets at the same time.

“On policy support, we can provide co-ordinated and demand-driven advice, drawing on knowledge and programme experience from across the UN,” she added.

Also adressing the UNDG, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that implementation is the litmus test of the new agenda. “The message to policy-makers is clear: go beyond business as usual; work for true transformation; provide the conditions that allow us all to be agents of change,” he said.

More broadly, the UN chief declared: “Today, we can say to all the people around the world, to those experts from all walks of life who have contributed to this global conversation: we have listened to your views.”

“All your governments have heard you. This 2030 Agenda is for you; it is for everyone, everywhere. Claim it, demand that commitments are made and promises kept. Be part of this global call to action,” said Mr. Ban reiterating that preparations across the United Nations system are in full swing to support implementation of the Goals.

“Together, we can build a better future for people and planet,” said the Secretary-General.