Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the African Union Dialogue, in New York today:
Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this dialogue. I am honoured to be among such an influential group of people from my home continent.
This dialogue is testament to the strong partnership between the African Union and the United Nations. Our organizations have embarked on implementing two extremely ambitious agendas — Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Along with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement, these mutually reinforcing agendas provide a robust framework for action, across all dimensions of sustainable development. Their full implementation will significantly change prospects for people in Africa and around the world.
The transformative nature of these agendas requires significant changes to the way nations plan and implement their sustainable development priorities. It will require action at a breadth and scale never before seen. It will require partnerships across sectors, and aligning and unlocking international financing to advance human well-being.
It will also demand a United Nations development system recalibrated to meet the heightened demands of these agendas, and the priorities and challenges of all countries. It is in this context that the Secretary-General presented his vision to reposition the United Nations development system in June this year.
Three key principles guide our efforts: first, reinforcing national ownership and leadership across all activities of the United Nations development system; second, ensuring country-specific responses rather than a “one-size-fits-all” approach; and third, making country-level delivery the litmus test for success.
As the Secretary-General has stated, “the true test of reform will not be measured in words in New York or world capitals. It will be measured through tangible results in the lives of the people we serve”.
On the basis of these principles, the Secretary-General has put forward an initial set of 38 ideas and actions to strengthen the system. Combined, these measures provide a powerful road map for change that would significantly reposition the system to support the 2030 Agenda. It will also support implementation of Agenda 2063.
The Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063’s First Ten-Year Implementation Plan feature a 90 per cent convergence in their goals. A system that is fit for purpose is one that can flexibly adapt to specific needs and priorities of regions and countries.
This idea is at the heart of the Secretary-General’s vision for a reconfigured United Nations presence at the regional and country levels. We want to modulate our support to the unique priorities, needs and financing mix of each country.
Today our organizations continue to strengthen our partnership. We have raised our strategic partnership through the adoption of a Joint Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security and we continue to seek ways to support the African Governance Architecture, including the African Peer Review Mechanism.
We are also working to enhance the United Nations’ partnership with Africa’s Regional Economic Communities, and we are supporting African integration, including through efforts to establish the Continental Free Trade Area. Preparations are now under way for a joint United Nations-African Union framework for implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.
Some elements for such a framework could focus on financing and partnerships. As we develop this new framework for cooperation, we need to ensure alignment and complementarity with any existing frameworks.
The United Nations development system is also actively supporting many of your Governments as they integrate the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063 into country plans and strategies.
We have also initiated efforts to integrate Sustainable Development Goal targets and indicators into national statistical systems to ensure effective monitoring of progress. The High-Level Political Forum offers a platform for peer learning, as countries share their challenges, lessons learned and achievements. I commend the active participation of African Union members in the voluntary national reviews and encourage more to consider participating in the near future.
The General Assembly has also established the United Nations Monitoring Mechanism to review progress on commitments made towards Africa’s development by African countries and their development partners. This includes commitments made under the 2030 Agenda, as well as corresponding commitments made by African countries for Agenda 2063.
And the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Platform for Africa’s Development, which is currently being established as part of joint United Nations-African Union collaboration, will also play a critical role by integrating real-time data on key performance indicators of the 2030 Agenda, Agenda 2063, and other commitments made towards Africa’s development.
The partnership between the United Nations and the African Union will continue to deepen in the coming years as both organizations seek to respond to the challenges facing Africa in areas of peace, security, human rights, governance and sustainable development. The United Nations development system can support our common priorities.
The Secretary-General and I are determined to remain ambitious in our efforts to reposition the system for the challenges and opportunities ahead. I ask you to stay engaged, help us maintain the ambition, share your perspectives. Help us design — together — a United Nations development system that will remain a partner of choice for Africa in its path of transformation. Thank you.