UNDP Administrator Highlights Role of Governance in Financing SDGs
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In a statement to the UNDP Executive Board, Steiner reflected on the urgency of accelerating efforts on the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.

He identified the September Climate Action Summit and the first UN Summit on the SDGs as critical opportunities to galvanize momentum to achieve the Paris Agreement and the SDGs.

The Administrator also highlighted a number of initiatives that support SDG financing and illustrate UNDP’s enhanced engagement with the private sector to align their priorities with the SDGs.

4 September 2019: UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Achim Steiner told the Programme’s Executive Board that the challenge of financing the SDGs is “not just about mobilizing more money” but is also related to effective governance, and reorienting how public and private actors interact with each other.

The second regular session of the UNDP Executive Board convened from 3-6 September 2019, at UN Headquarters in New York, US.

Steiner said that today’s development challenges demand integration and whole-of-government approaches. The SDG integration approach offers a “systems approach to complex development challenges,” he said, and serves to connect issues across thematic areas and sectors, better leveraging creativity and knowledge to build solutions. Steiner shared examples of UNDP support for integrated policies and approaches and efforts to advance integrated results, including the Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support (MAPS) approach, the Multidimensional Poverty Index and Human Development Index, the SDG Finance Sector Hub, and UNDP Accelerator Labs.

Steiner reported that UNDP has supported countries to align domestic budgets with the SDGs by using Development Finance Assessments and to increase their tax collection by USD470 million, through the Tax Inspectors Without Borders initiative with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). He said the SDG Finance Sector Hub offers support to governments to scale up SDG financing and to align public and private capital with the SDGs. He also noted UNDP’s support for countries to harness the digital revolution, as part of efforts to leave no one behind.

Steiner highlighted a number of additional initiatives that support SDG financing. The ‘Lion’s Share’ facilitates corporate contributions to wildlife conservation and habitat protection every time an animal appears in their advertising. The SDG Impact Practice Standards provide a set of global standards for how investors manage and measure their SDG impact. The SDG Investor Maps report on SDG-enabling investment opportunities.

Steiner reflected on the urgency of accelerating efforts on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change, observing that the world will not eradicate extreme poverty (SDG 1) on its current trajectory. He further highlighted challenges in tackling hunger (SDG 2) and inequalities (SDG 10) and conserving biodiversity (SDGs 14 and 15). The UNDP Administrator identified the UN Climate Action Summit and the first SDG Summit, both taking place in September 2019, as critical opportunities to “inject the momentum that is so urgently needed to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs.”

Steiner said UNDP will implement four initiatives to enhance support along these lines:

  • a Global Outlook Report on nationally determined contributions (NDCs), produced in partnership with the UNFCCC;
  • UNDP’s ‘Climate Promise’ that will support 100 countries to enhance their NDCs by 2020;
  • Mission 1.5, a global engagement campaign on national climate action; and
  • Greening Moonshot, an initiative to reduce UNDP’s emissions by 25% by 2025 and 50% by 2030.

On gender, Steiner said UNDP has already achieved gender parity among its executive leadership team and Resident Representatives at the country level, and intends to achieve gender parity among Deputy Representatives. UNDP has maintained full parity among UNDP staff and is working to increase parity across its workforce, including service contract holders, he reported.

Steiner also noted that UNDP has made progress in tackling and preventing sexual harassment but recognized the need to “create a culture where people feel safe and respected.” He said UNDP is working with the Ombudsman’s Office to establish ‘Respectful Workplace Facilitators’ in 25 country officers to provide a safe space for staff to discuss workplace concerns. [UNDP Administrator Statement] [UNDP Executive Board Website] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on The Lion’s Share] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on UN and Sexual Harassment]

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