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Madame Stoeva, President of the UNDP Board, Mr Steiner, Administrator of UNDP,
This statement is delivered on behalf of the European Union as a donor.
First of all, let me thank the President for her introduction and Mr Steiner for sharing the highlights of his annual report, insights on the achievements under the current Strategic Plan, in the context of UNDS reform and the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the directions for the next Strategic Plan for 2022 to 2025. Let me also express our appreciation to UNDP staff for their strong commitment during these truly challenging times.
This is the second Annual Meeting of the Boards held in virtual format. COVID-19 remains a threat to all. While the pandemic has disrupted all countries, it is first and foremost a development emergency, jeopardizing our common ambition in the 2030 Agenda.
Vaccines give hope that the worst is behind us. For all countries to have a way out of this pandemic and get back on the road of progress towards the SDGs, equal access to vaccines and rapid action is needed. For this reason, the EU has been one of the initiators of the COVAX Facility and - with our Team Europe approach the EU with its Member States - is a lead contributor with close to €3 billion to-date. COVAX seeks to secure at least 1.8 billion doses for 92 low and lower middle-income countries at affordable prices and free of cost for the 61 countries considered most vulnerable. Half of the vaccines produced in Europe have been exported to other countries in the world, as many as those delivered to EU citizens. Setting up effective systems for vaccine distribution is critical and urgent. We would like to learn more about UNDP’s collaboration with UNICEF and WHO in supporting countries in that respect.
We commend UNDP’s crucial role in the UN response to COVID-19, notably with its technical lead on the socio-economic impact assessments and the corresponding socio-economic response plans (SERPs).
The EU strongly appreciates its collaboration with UNDP and the IMF on promoting integrated national financing frameworks, implemented to-date in 62 countries, which align COVID-19 related funding and national budgets with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement.
UNDP’s contribution to UNDS reform has been instrumental for its success. The role of UNDP as integrator with a mandate across all SDGs and the implementation of the QCPR decision remain crucial. A separate meeting on UNDS reform and QCPR was held with NY-based agencies and WFP last week and we refer to the statement we delivered on that occasion.
We encourage the translation of the lessons learned from accelerated cooperation between agencies in the COVID response – seen as the Litmus test of the reform - into future action and extending it to more UN agencies, while seeking to build synergies and increase efficiency.
In that context, we welcome the announcement that the SERPs are being integrated into the UNSCDFs (UN sustainable development cooperation frameworks) prepared by the host countries and the Resident Coordinator offices. Importantly, we strongly encourage a culture shift to collective outcomes and work on joint results indicators.
UNDP’s current Strategic Plan marked the beginning of a new direction for the agency. We welcome its many innovations such as the “People for 2030” strategy, the UNDP digital strategy, the Global Policy Network, the Accelerator Labs Network and the Crisis Bureau, noting that some still have to reach their full potential. Importantly, the Plan proofed not only “reform-ready”, but also “pandemic resistant”.
We welcome the intense consultation process for the preparation of the new Strategic Plan and urge the careful consideration of the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the independent review of the current Plan. We look forward to receiving the first draft of the new Strategic Plan and to the continuation of consultations with the Board before adoption in the second regular session.
Going forward, we consider UNDP’s commitment in the following areas particularly important:
At this time, the EU is starting the programming of support to external partners over the next seven-year period under the new “Global Europe” instrument, premised on the 2030 Agenda. In parallel, we seek to translate our recently adopted new policy orientations on strengthening rules-based multilateralism into focused and action-oriented strategic engagement with the UN system.
UNDP is one of our most important UN partners, both in terms of financial support provided by the EU and in terms of alignment of our agendas, reinforced by our strong field presence around the globe.
The orientations for UNDP’s new Strategic Plan align very well with the EU’s objectives. Against this backdrop, Mr Steiner, we look forward to four more years of partnership under your leadership of UNDP.