15 May 2017

Policy Synergy, Partnerships with Non-traditional Stakeholders Key to Tackling Global Challenges, Secretary-General Says at Infrastructure Forum Event

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks at the Belt and Road Forum’s leaders’ “Policy Synergy for Close Partnership” round table, in Beijing today:

“Partnership” and “synergy”, the themes of this round table, are, indeed, key elements in both the Belt and Road Initiative and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as you, Mr. President, have so eloquently demonstrated yesterday in your intervention.

The global partnership for development is evolving.  When I was a student in the 1960s, the original model typically involved developed countries providing financing, technical assistance and trade preferences to developing countries.  Such North-South cooperation remains relevant.  Traditional donors must fulfil their commitments to development assistance.  At the same time, we are seeing dramatic changes in the constellation of partnerships for the 2030 Agenda.

Cooperation must become multidirectional.  Countries of the global South have much to learn from each other, and indeed, are expanding their mutual support.  But, let us also recognize that the countries of the North, themselves, have much to learn from the development and partnership successes of the South.

The field of actors must expand far beyond Governments to include other stakeholders.  Businesses have a key role to play; so do philanthropic foundations, civil society groups, local authorities, parliaments, trade unions, research institutes and academia.

Given the complexities of today’s challenges, including the growing number of actors and difficulties in mobilizing resources, synergies are essential.

Policy harmonization is one form of synergy that can generate benefits across sectors and borders.  Towards this end, the United Nations can facilitate the dialogue that will be needed to achieve this.  At the United Nations, we are striving towards greater synergy across the three pillars of our own work:  peace and security, development and human rights.  A key element in this effort is the recognition of the crucial links between sustainable development and sustaining peace.

While poverty, extreme inequality or the denial of basic human rights may not necessarily directly cause civil war or terrorism, they all contribute to a sense of social injustice and greatly increase the risk of instability and violence.

Similarly, war and atrocities are far from the only reasons that countries are trapped in poverty, but they undoubtedly set back development.  There is a clear link between failing economies and the fragility of societies, institutions and States.

Our priority is prevention, and the best means of prevention is inclusive and sustainable development.  In this regard, the Belt and Road Initiative can be an important part of global efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  The United Nations looks forward to deepening our partnerships with you and generating the synergies that we know can build a safer, more sustainable future for all.

For information media. Not an official record.