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New sustainability goals for UNDP

Photo credit: UN News Centre

A woman at her family’s tomato farm in Tartous, Syria, in 2014. The farm is one of the businesses supported by UNDP Syria, which provide food for conflict-affected Syrians. Photo: UNDP Syria

At 50, UN development programme revamps itself to tackle new sustainability goals

A woman at her family’s tomato farm in Tartous, Syria, in 2014. The farm is one of the businesses supported by UNDP Syria, which provide food for conflict-affected Syrians. Photo: UNDP Syria

 

24 February 2016 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with its presence in more than 170 poor and vulnerable countries, must rise to the challenge of advancing a “big, new, more complex, and transformational” sustainable development agenda, the head of the agency said today at a ministerial meeting to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its founding.

“For fifty years, UNDP has been working on the frontlines of development, advocating for change and connecting countries to the knowledge, experience, and resources they need to help people build better lives,” UNDP Administrator Helen Clark told the special meeting at UN Headquarters.

“The world has changed immeasurably in that time, and UNDP has changed with it,” she added.

But UNDP’s core mission remains more relevant than ever, she stressed, citing its mandate to support countries to eradicate poverty in a way which simultaneously reduces inequality and exclusion, while protecting the planet.

The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by 193 Member States last September, provide the framework for the next phase of UNDP’s work.

“We have already taken steps to ensure that UNDP is fit for purpose in the SDG era,” she said, noting that a more focused Strategic Plan includes the restructuring of headquarters to eliminate duplication and improve efficiency and effectiveness, as well as a shift of policy, programme, and other support closer to the field. UNDP also implemented measures which led to the agency being ranked among the most transparent development organizations in the world.

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Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.