Opening statement at ECOSOC Operational Activities Segment

Opening Statement by H.E. Mr Mogens Lykketoft, President of the 70th session of the General Assembly at ECOSOC Operational Activities Segment: Getting ready for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda

 22 February 2016





Mr. Vice-President, Mr. Under Secretary-General, Honorable Ministers, Excellencies, it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to address the ECOSOC Operational Activities Segment.


Ladies and gentlemen with agreements in Addis Ababa, New York and Paris, world leaders have created a framework to transform our world for people and planet.


Now however, comes the daunting task of implementation.



Governments must now come to the fore – developing national plans, and undertaking institutional changes that respond to the new Agenda; delivering the development assistance and support that is needed.


But as all three agreements recognize, governments will not succeed alone. The private sector, civil society, the international finance industry, the scientific community and others will all play an important part.


And so too must the United Nations – advocating loudly for the new Agenda; assisting countries with implementation and supporting accountability for last year’s promises.


Since September, we have seen a series of positive steps in this direction – from the preparation of the SDG global indicators framework to the development of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism.


And over the coming months, member states will also look to optimize the global follow-up and review processes particularly at the HLPF; and work to ensure coherence and non-duplication across the work of the General Assembly’s  committees and ECOSOC, in light of the new Agenda.


The final part of this jigsaw, however, is the UN development system itself.


When it comes to implementation, particularly in developing countries, and especially in the most vulnerable members of this group, the UN development system has a crucial role to play.


But to do so effectively, it must adapt to the core features of the new Agenda and to the needs of its core partners.


The integrated focus on all three dimensions of sustainable development; the sheer scope and level of ambition; the mantra of leaving no one behind; the alignment with human rights; and the focus on national ownership, mutual accountability and multi stakeholder partnerships – these features require a review and if necessary a shift in modus operandi for all UN entities and more importantly, for the System as a whole.


As was said so many times in relation to these agreements, business as usual is no longer an option.


No single entity working in isolation can make the optimal contribution to implementation. Instead, we need to see the minds, capacities, and resources from across different entities of the UN development system, as well as among the three pillars of the UN, working together effectively, efficiently and coherently.


With the ECOSOC Dialogue on the longer-term positioning of the UN development system and the subsequent intergovernmental consultations on the QCPR, member States have already set in motion the process to support  that endeavor.


Here, the onus is on member States to give guidance to the system on how you would like to see it work. What kind of support do programme countries require? Is there a need to make institutional changes?


The discussion during this Operational Activities segment is an opportunity to further develop thinking in this area.


In addition, within the UN Development system itself, entities will also have to adapt and demonstrate their relevance in this new sustainable development era.


The internal work of the UN Development Group and the Chief Executive Board is making progress in this regard, when it comes to institutional arrangements, working methods and substantive support. I encourage them to continue their work and to keep member states informed on progress.


In all of this, however, whether internal or inter-governmental, we must not entangle ourselves in processes. People living in poverty or facing injustice cannot wait any longer. A planet that is seeing its core capacities undermined day after day cannot wait any longer.


Let us therefore work together and with haste, so that we the UN development systems helps us to get SDG implementation off to the best possible start.


Thank you.

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