It is a great pleasure to be here. I congratulate the Government of Fiji for a very successful start to the year. My colleagues and I look forward to continuing to support your work.
This meeting is meant as a dialogue. I will therefore keep my remarks brief.
I will focus on two sets of issues today: first, development and then reform. You should of course feel free to raise anything you wish during your own interventions.
You all know the pressing challenges we face: climate change, unemployment, food and energy insecurity, the marginalization of young people and women.
New opportunities for cooperation in addressing these issues have appeared on the development landscape. South-South and triangular exchanges have grown dramatically, complementing traditional North-South ties. New partners are increasingly engaged in the fight against poverty.
We welcome these new approaches and energies, which both complement, and add to traditional development assistance. At the same time, we must intensify our efforts for greater coherence and accountability.
Many strands of work are under way.
The Rio+20 outcome document outlined a vision for a more sustainable world of dynamic growth, shared prosperity, and environmental protection.
During the year ahead, we will discuss the contours of a high-level political forum for sustainable development.
A set of Sustainable Development Goals will begin to take shape. I am pleased to note that the first meeting of the Working Group will take place on Thursday. This session should mark a shift from discussions on process to the more important matters of substance.
Discussions on the post-2015 development agenda are under way.
The High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons will present its report in May. Further inputs are expected from across the UN system and beyond, including the outcomes of consultations going on around the world and the voices of businesses, academia and the scientific community.
These strands are expected to come together in September 2013. Our goal must be a single, coherent global agenda that can be every bit as successful in inspiring and mobilizing people as the MDGs have been.
And even now, we must redouble our efforts toward the MDGs between now and 2015.
An important milestone in that effort is around the corner. Friday, April 5th, will mark 1,000 days to the end of 2015 – the deadline for achieving the goals. This moment provides an opportunity to raise awareness and galvanize action. The UN system will mobilize on that day and throughout the period ahead to accelerate our efforts.
To translate norms and values into action, and better fulfil UN mandates, we need to leverage the strengths of the private sector, civil society and the philanthropic community. With that in mind, I am submitting to the Member States a proposal to strengthen our capacity to partner and, above all, to ensure the highest levels of accountability and transparency across the UN’s partnership efforts.
We are also preparing for next year’s conferences on Land-Locked and Small Island Developing States and looking to build on the recent success of the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review.
Member States have also agreed, in the declaration adopted at their high-level meeting last September, that the rule of law should be considered in the post-2015 development agenda.
As we move ahead, the G77’s leadership can make a difference, and I look forward to your engagement.
Let me turn now to management reform.
The goal of these efforts is to create a modern, truly global organization that delivers on mandates at the highest standards while minimizing administrative and support costs.
The development of an Enterprise Resources Planning system is a key enabler. The first deployment of Umoja will occur in July, followed by phased implementation in the rest of the Secretariat.
New accounting standards – the International Public Sector Accounting Standards, or IPSAS -- are soon to be implemented. These will increase transparency and accountability.
Other major change management efforts include the integration of research, training and library services, and the moves towards a digital Secretariat through technological solutions such as the paper-smart concept, which I saw in action at the Doha climate change conference.
On procurement, recent reforms focused on internal controls, acquisition practices and overall strategic management.
All of these efforts will help us cope with the current era of financial constraint. But they are also what we need in order to more effectively manage our human and material resources.
On mobility, I am aware that the General Assembly will consider my proposal during its current resumed session. My goal remains a managed system through which staff can develop their skills, and we deliver mandates more effectively by managing our staff more strategically. I am committed to answering further questions on this issue but we must also recognize the need to move ahead. I appreciate the support G-77 and China have rendered to the proposed framework. I count on your continued support so that we can reap the benefits from January 2015.
I thank the Group of 77 and China for wide-ranging contributions to our work. In representing two thirds of the UN’s Member States and a majority of the world’s population, you are a major voice.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts today, at this challenging time for all of us. And I look forward to regular dialogue on the way to 2015 and beyond.