13 July 2019

New Paradigm Shift Must Replace Traditional Sustainable Development Approach to Realize 2030 Agenda, Deputy Secretary-General Tells High-Level Forum

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s remarks at the high-level opening of the senior-level meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, in New York today:

It is incredibly impressive to see such a turnout on a Saturday morning, and I am pleased to join all of you as we continue this very important dialogue.  Our world is changing dramatically, rapidly and with ever greater complexity.  We see this on full display from the ravages of prolonged conflicts and many new ones to the rising impact of climate change.  From growing inequalities to entrenched gender discrimination to the challenges of record numbers of people on the move.

When Julie asked us to think about three things we would like to focus our discussion on today, I thought about the following three points:  the Secretary-General’s vision for working to put an end to human suffering; the focus he encouraged us to put on prevention and transition; and the need to come together for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  More than ever, development challenges have cross-border dimensions — both in terms of impact and creative sustainable solutions.  Young people are demanding accountability from Governments as much as they start to question the traditional notions and models of governance.

Technology offers us new opportunities to bridge the development and economic gaps, but we also know that these technologies — especially artificial intelligence — will inevitably lead to rendering many jobs obsolete while creating new ones.  And in that transition, we must quell existing anxieties that artificial intelligence will create job loss, harnessing instead its positive potential.

The Secretary-General’s SDG [Sustainable Development Goal] Progress Report, as well as Global Sustainable Development Report, highlight the work ahead for us all.  It will be urgent, heavy lifting.  And while there are many low-hanging fruits, it will be a long haul.

Your dialogue here today is critical.  New partnerships and forms of development cooperation are taking shape.  We are learning to recognize the value of heavy lifting and communication.  Yet, four years on, although we see the value of many achievements through the Voluntary National Reviews presented here at HLPF [High-Level Political Forum], we have a long way to go to fully translate the Sustainable Development Goals into action.

Too often, siloed approaches and the old ways of doing business dominate.  Often, we are not responsive to the magnitude or complexity of our challenges and, if I may say, opportunities.  We still have a lot of work to do on building the interlinkages and address the trade-offs and synergies in policies.  In this context, we must profit from the complementarity of different forums and mechanisms, such as the United Nations Development Cooperation Forum, a platform bringing us together to harness partnerships in achieving the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda at the policy level, while this Forum serves as a key mechanism focusing on realizing development effectiveness at the most important level, country and regional.

We must do more to ensure that unlocking SDG financing goes beyond traditional development aid or narrow interpretations of national public funding.  We must engage far more deeply to unleash the full potential of local communities, civil society, academia, private sector and the international community in a coordinated and coherent manner.  To put it simply, the traditional approaches to development are not going to bring the SDGs to life.

We need to put in place a truly new paradigm shift, both in terms of ambition, scale and speed to match the 2030 Agenda.  As many of our partners here today have said, the value of development effectiveness and the effectiveness principles are at the heart of the transformative agenda our world needs.  That means national ownership, a focus on results, inclusive partnerships and mutual accountability and transparency.

These principles are also driving our own historic transformation of the United Nations development system, guided by the General Assembly, and geared towards better supporting Member States and people we serve.  As with our discussions on effectiveness, yes, it is about process, but, fundamentally, the transformation we seek is about people at the country level.

I am confident that we can continue to rely on your support as we continue working together for greater effectiveness and to ensure dignity, prosperity, and peace on a healthy planet.  I am pleased that last year, 86 partner countries and 100‑plus development partners took part in the Global Partnership’s effectiveness monitoring exercise, and we have seen many more this year.

Let’s keep building from these exercises and discussions to deliver for people.  I look forward to the outcome of your discussions today and to carrying this work to the SDG summit in September, as the first stocktaking of the SDGs, and beyond.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.