Thank you for being here. This is a technical meeting on the implementation of the UNSDCF agreed last year, specifically on the discussion about the Result Matrix.
At the same time I wish to take this opportunity to address some of the issues raised by Switzerland in their recent message, whose contents expand beyond a technical discussion. The questions focused on three main issues:
- The opportunities for Member States to be engaged in the implementation of the UNSDCF;
- The space for the normative agenda and Leave No One Behind in the implementation;
- The UN capacity in the country.
I will take each of these in turn, but I believe it is useful to start off by giving a brief summary of my vision for the UN in China as I start off in this new role.
I come with a mandate to lead the UN country team and support China in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
China has made remarkable progress over the course of the past decades (poverty record) and has great ambitions for the next decades (2060 goal). And yet important challenges remain: relative poverty, persistent inequalities (region, income, population groups).
China’s experience is source of hope and inspiration for many other countries still facing poverty and aspiring to sustainable development. We cannot miss the opportunity to leverage its experience, resources and influence beyond it borders, for example in Africa.
As the RC in Kenya, I saw first-hand China’s ability to bring investments and expertise to bear on the development potential of Africa.
My vision is based on the belief that China has an important role in the community of nations, which the United Nations, through its legitimacy and convening powers, can support towards the achievement of shared objectives, such as the SDGs.
The modalities of our engagement will continue to be those of the Country Framework.
As part of this process, I am keen to engage with all stakeholders, including the private sector and the academic and scientific communities, in partnerships platforms aimed at leveraging knowledge and resources to achieve the SDGs, in China and beyond.
I invite you to be part of this process, to steer it and strengthen it.
Turning now to your concerns about the space for the normative agenda. Let me be extremely clear: This continues to be at the center of our efforts and the guide to our programmatic work.
The UNSDCF is rooted in the normative agenda of the UN. The CF aims to operationalize through programs that address Leaving No One Behind (LNOB);
UN China through CF aims to build capacity in China by bringing international lessons, evidence and standards.
We are all aware of the sensitivities around this agenda and the risks that it becomes hijacked by the current dynamics in the membership.
We continue to look at the leadership of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on all aspects of the normative agenda, while we focus our efforts on the development agenda. We expect the HC to be able to conclude their consultations on the upcoming visit soonest.
At the same time, I see it as part of my responsibilities to protect this fundamental aspect of our work at the country level. For this reason, I am working to create the space from which I can leverage my role and fulfill my duties to support all aspects of our work.
This does not happen overnight: trust must be earned, relationships built and results delivered. I ask for your trust and support as I embark in my new role here.
Member States engagement in UNSDCF implementation
The UNSDCF is the most important strategic instrument for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in the country. The Results Matrix is developed to systematically monitor progress in UNSDCF implementation.
By tracking clear indicators and targets against each outcome and outputs of the framework, we will continuously monitor progress, identify challenges and opportunities, learn from our experience and course-correct when needed. As a result, we can improve our effectives and accountability.
The space for the engagement of Member States, including development partners, in the implementation of the UNSDCF exists and must be carefully managed.
The Government of China has signaled that it is open to the possibility of including in the Joint Steering Committee a number of MS representatives, notably those with ongoing programs in the country.
We are in discussion with the Government on this possibility, and continue to push for Member States to be involved. While not everyone can be expected to be included, we are hoping to have a number of Member States (around 5 to 7 or so) that can act as focal points for the broader membership and bring everyone’s concerns and contribution in the work of the JSC.
In addition, we are exploring the possibility of having an annual review mechanism open to all Member States to be consulted on UNSDCF implementation, to steer and support our work, including through thematic events.
As per the Result Groups, while these remain an internal UN technical mechanism, we are planning to have regular opportunities for the Chairs of the Groups to consult with Member States on their respective work.
Overall, my message is that we want Member States to be fully engaged on the implementation of the UNSDCF. More than that: we need your guidance and added value on the implementation. We welcome, for example, the efforts undertaken by Ireland on food and nutrition, and by Switzerland on climate change. More efforts such as these are needed.
The UN in China is fully equipped to deliver on its mandate in the country.
As you know, the full details of the staffing of Agencies, Funds and Programmes are available to Member States from their respective Headquarters.
I will be delighted to share the organigramme of my own office shortly after this meeting.