Mr. Liu Zhenmin Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

Inauguration of UNPOG

Your Excellency Kim Boo Kyum, Minister of the Interior and Safety,
Your Excellency Kim Pan Suk, Minister of the Personnel Management,
Your Excellency Yoo Jeong-bok, Mayor of Incheon Metropolitan City,
Your Excellency Jegal Won Young (諸葛院英), Chairman of Incheon Metropolitan Council,
Distinguished guests, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Morning. It is my great pleasure to welcome you to this inauguration ceremony of the new premises of the United Nations Project Office on Governance (UNPOG) located here in this beautiful G-Tower Building in Incheon City.

In my previous capacity, I visited the Republic of Korea many times. This is my first official trip to Asia after assuming the post of the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations for Economic and Social Affairs. I feel like coming back home when I am now in Incheon.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

UNPOG was established in June 2006 a few years after the launch of the Millennium Development Goals. It was an outcome of the 6th Global Forum on Reinventing Government held in Seoul in May 2005. It was created to enhance the capacity of governments to successfully achieve the objectives of the United Nations development agenda, including the MDGs.

Over the years, UNPOG has become a well-recognized hub for good governance, with a focus on innovation and e-government in the Asia and Pacific region, and beyond. During its first implementation phase, UNPOG organized or contributed to more than 73 learning and knowledge exchanges, with the representation of 94 countries and the participation of approximately 3,500 people. For a small office, this is indeed a commendable achievement.

As a result, and in response to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Government of the Republic of Korea proposed in early 2016 to extend its support to UNPOG until 2030, the target date for the Sustainable Development Goals.

On behalf of the United Nations, I thank the Government of the Republic of Korea, particularly the Ministry of the Interior and Safety, for its generous support over these years.

I also applaud our colleagues for their successful contribution to improving public administration across Asia and the Pacific, and for facilitating North-South and South-South cooperation. You have made noteworthy contributions in many areas such as participatory governance and leveraging ICTs to improve public service delivery. You have addressed issues as varied as disaster risk reduction, particularly in small island developing States, and women’s empowerment. You have extended strong support to DESA’s activities including the UN Public Service Forum and Award Ceremony.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is a new beginning. I am pleased that UNPOG has broadened its mandate for this second phase. Over the next few years, UNPOG will assist Member States in their efforts to equip public institutions to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. Institutions are critical for realizing every single SDG. SDG 16 particularly calls on Member States to develop effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. The SDGs, as an integrated framework, call for whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches and many countries have been moving in this direction.

The High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), the United Nations main platform on sustainable development, has highlighted, in 2017, the need to take appropriate action towards localizing and communicating the SDGs at all levels, from the national to the community level. The overarching principle of the 2030 Agenda, ensuring that no one is left behind, highlights the critical importance of addressing the needs of all vulnerable groups.

Asia and the Pacific is a diverse region with various economic, social and historical backgrounds. Countries can learn from each other through knowledge sharing and the exchange of good practices.

Eleven countries from Asia and the Pacific already reported to the HLPF in 2016 and 2017, such as China, India, Indonesia, Japan. The Republic of Korea was among the first countries to engage in HLPF voluntary national reviews.

Six other countries from Asia and the Pacific have already volunteered to carry out voluntary national reviews of progress made in the implementation of the SDGs in the HLPF in 2018 including Bhutan, Lao PDR, Singapore, and Viet Nam, among others. UNPOG can continue to help mobilize cooperation among these and other countries in the region to distil lessons learned on how to mobilize institutions to implement the SDGs.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

DESA is mandated to assisting UN Member States in their drive to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. I am committed to building up DESA and strengthen DESA in the coming years during my tenure.

DESA has two offices in Incheon, the UNPOG and the UNOSD (Office for Sustainable Development). Both of them are integral part of the Department. They can bolster our work and help provide effective support to Member States through capacity development and research, particularly in Asia and Pacific region. And they can serve Member States better through strengthened collaboration and greater synergy with other UN Agencies and international organizations that are present today.

I appreciate the Government of the Republic of Korea for its collaboration and commitment to the work of the United Nations to advancing the SDGs for all.

I thank our host, Incheon Metropolitan City, for its generous support to the two offices of my Department.

I look forward to the fruitful work of UNPOG ahead and continued cooperation with the Government of the Republic of Korea over the next decade.

I wish all of you a happy and prosperous year in 2018.

Thank you.

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