New York

25 September 2020

Deputy Secretary-General's remarks at the High-Level Event on "Beyond COVID-19, Public private partnerships for the SDGs as a model for building back better" [as prepared for delivery]

I wish to begin my remarks this morning by acknowledging the leadership of President Kenyatta and the country’s exemplary role in its response to COVID-19 and in advancing Agenda 2030. 

Your Excellency, your Big 4 development agenda, continues to demonstrate a recipe for accelerated human development and progress, in this decade of action for the 2030 Development Agenda. 

I am grateful for the possibility of joining you today to discuss the role of partnerships to recover better from the pandemic and to go back on track to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to advance, we have been forced to revise, over and over again, our data and projections to account for increasing numbers of lives, jobs and livelihoods lost and threatened by the disease and its socio-economic impacts.  

But we have also seen unprecedented alliances, innovation and achievements: rapid migration to digital technologies, a new generation of finance products and infrastructure, and ambitious social protection programmes implemented at a scale never seen before.

None of this would had been possible without partnerships. Indeed, COVID-19 has prompted extraordinary examples of collaboration on sustainable development.

Last Friday, in our first SDG Moment of the Decade of Action to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals, we had the opportunity of hearing about the power of collective action from all stakeholders.  

Governments, businesses, local governments and civil society alike spoke about the importance of working together for decisive and ambitious action to address the underlying inequalities and vulnerabilities that got us into this crisis in the first place, and to recover better. 

I am pleased to confirm that a strong partnership based on trust and mutual respect already exists between the UN family and the Government of Kenya.

With this solid ground and good examples to follow across the globe in areas ranging from data, technology and protection of jobs, to women’s participation in decision-making, social innovation and successful transitioning to green portfolios, all the elements to succeed are firmly in place.

The UN Global Compact has a crucial role to play in allowing for such learning to become a reality.  

As a ‘platform of platforms’ for the entire UN family – a “front door” for companies seeking to partner with the UN, and an essential framework for principle-based collaboration, the UN Global Compact is well paced to identify new ways to engage, build, promote and scale SDG partnerships for the future.

Kenya has the ingredients to succeed. I congratulate the UN Country Team and Government of Kenya for swiftly repurposing $45 million from the UN Development Assistance Framework and mobilizing an additional $58 million for the COVID-19 response and recovery agenda.  This has helped make possible the deployment of more than 150 staff and volunteers to help the Government to support more than 10 million vulnerable people.

The SDG Partnership Platform Kenya has also generated important gains, including an investment pipeline for healthcare; efforts to protect livelihoods in agriculture; and steps to harness the potential of technology, big-data and innovation, with a special focus on young people. 

I am convinced that Kenya will continue demonstrating that results and transformation are possible and I call upon all of you to double your efforts to invest at scale in those critical interventions that will unlock benefits across all the goals, to make bold choices, to take decisive action and to leave no one behind in your pursuit of a better future.

I wish you all a fruitful meeting and look forward to working with you to translate today’s enthusiasm into tomorrow’s SDG achievements.   

Thank you.