Capacity development key to realizing the global goals

When the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted in 2015, the international community shifted gears and took aim at bringing about the biggest positive impact to the largest number of people around the globe. Providing the tools to make the goals a reality for everyone on the ground, UN DESA is a leading voice in capacity development and works closely with Member States and strong development partners to support their realization.

The department’s capacity building efforts around the world took center stage during the special event “Building Capacity for the 2030 Agenda – UN DESA’s contribution,” arranged on the sidelines of the work of the UN General Assembly’s Second Committee on 27 November.

“Since the beginning, the capacity development work of the Department has focused on providing tools to help policy makers translate globally agreed development frameworks into concrete policies and actions,” said UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin, as he opened the event organized by UN DESA’s Capacity Development Office.

Mr. Liu described the three-pillar approach where the normative, analytical and capacity development work on development issues are brought together to drive development efforts forward. “This integrated approach is intended to ensure that the three functions are mutually reinforcing and to facilitate the coherent implementation of the UN development agenda”, said Mr. Liu, outlining the way forward and actions to further strengthen the Department’s capacity development efforts. Such actions include the new capacity development strategy and delivery model that build on working with strong partners at every stage of delivery.

The event featured a panel discussion moderated by Thomas Gass, UN DESA’s Assistant Secretary-General, with experts from the department’s different divisions describing the support provided to over 75 countries in different areas of capacity development along with the tools used, tailored to individual countries’ needs. Tools and work areas presented ranged from quantitative analytical models for integrated policy assessment; methodologies to help reduce tax related costs and double taxation; guidelines to produce quality and disaggregated data; to strengthening the means of implementation for the sustainable management of forests.

The event also honed in on areas where improvements can be made and discussions revolved around enhancing access to finances for development, improving monitoring tools, as well as the importance of transparency. “I feel strongly that open and transparent communication is essential to create an atmosphere of mutual trust and collaboration,” said Mr. Liu.

The 2030 Agenda and its 17 SDGs are bold and transformative, and will have a profound impact on people all over the world. But without capacity development, these goals cannot be realized. UN DESA and its partners are committed to providing assistance and tools to any country who requests support. “Ultimately, the SDGs are a shared vision of humanity that must become a new social contract between all leaders and its people,” said Thomas Gass.

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