New York

09 April 2014

Secretary-General's remarks to the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council Joint Thematic Debate on the Role of Partnerships in Implementation of the post-2015 Development Agenda

Thank you very much for this opportunity to address the critical role of partnerships in the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda. I thank the President of the General Assembly and the President of the Economic and Social Council for hosting this discussion.

I am especially pleased that this meeting reflects the spirit of partnership through the presence of two special guests. Mr. Tony Elumelu is a great businessman and philanthropist and Ms. Cabral dos Santos Nilo has worked with the United Nations through her very valuable organization GESTOS. I look forward to hearing their ideas about how we can advance together.

The means of implementation for the post-2015 development framework must be as ambitious as the goals. We must focus not only on what the goals are but how we achieve them. Success will require engaging a range of new partners. We will need increased public financing, including contributions through ODA, multilateral development banks and other official financing channels, including the United Nations. It will also require significant private financing, philanthropic contributions as well as expertise and in-kind contributions from businesses and civil society.

World leaders and other stakeholders stand at the cusp of great opportunity as we shape the next development agenda. This is a chance to set the world on a path that is transformative, equitable and sustainable. What we do in the coming months can help save lives and improve wellbeing for generations to come.

Our tenacious efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals have already succeeded on many levels, with thanks to many of you here today who have been with us since the beginning of this journey. As we push to reach all the MDGs, we can draw on the many lessons we have learned. We can also benefit from the outcomes of major UN conferences, especially the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development and the Special Event last year to follow up on efforts to reach the MDGs.

In recent years, we have made important changes to the way we approach development. One of the most significant changes has been the rise of new, influential actors playing a growing role in promoting the global public good. They have the capacity to help shape and deliver on common priorities – and their impact is growing stronger each day.

Across the United Nations system, we are rapidly increasing our work with these new actors. They have been accelerating our efforts to achieve the MDGs. And they have been bringing fresh perspectives to how we tackle some of these issues.  

Now we must enhance our own capacities to work with these new actors if we are to leverage their full potential to help achieve a transformative post-2015 development agenda. Sustainable development is about daunting decisions and bold commitments.

The private sector has increasingly made important contributions. The Global Compact has been promoting responsible and sustainable business actions. We need to continue to scale up this initiative.

As part of a global movement, civil society voices of support will help us continue to lift the ambition of what has to be a truly universal agenda.

This will require engaging and mobilizing people the world over to contribute to and monitor the outcome of the post-2015 development agenda. 

The importance of strategic partnerships is a common theme that runs through many of the expert reports that have been part of the post-2015 process, including by the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the UN Development Group, and the UN Global Compact.  The immense value of partnerships also figures prominently in my own report - A Life of Dignity for All.

These reports have different perspectives but they share the same view that partnerships can help us achieve the MDGs. The experts agree that partnerships can ensure the means for implementing an ambitious and inspiring post-2015 development framework.

The process of shaping a vision for this agenda has been open and inclusive. It is especially significant that we have involved not only governments but also civil society, the private sector, academia and research institutions. We have also heard the voices of nearly 2 million people through the My World options survey and our UN-led global conversation. 

Now we need to strengthen the UN’s capacity to do partnership at scale. Demands on the United Nations are much greater than our resources to meet them. Mandates are continuing to grow. We have to broaden our resource base to deliver on our goals for funding, institutions and networks.

To bring all partners together, Member States must adopt a strong, united position in support of more and better public financing so that we can better leverage private financing and support of our goals.

My proposal for a Partnership Facility, submitted to Member States for their consideration and approval, is precisely meant to ensure that the United Nations is equipped both with the capacity needed to harness the strengths of external partners – and the ability to ensure a coherent and accountable approach.

This capacity can enable the United Nations to achieve much greater results. We must have the ability to deliver partnership at scale as we race to the MDG finish line and as we prepare to scale up for even more ambitious post-2015 goals. If we agree on an ambitious framework without preparing the United Nations itself to implement it, we will marginalize our institution at precisely the moment it should be leading the charge.

Let us work closely together to deliver an ambitious framework and at the same time develop our own means of implementation so that we can rise to a level of effectiveness that is commensurate with our ambitions.

I count on you to provide the vision, mandate and the appropriate means of implementation to bring hope to all those around the world who most need it in the coming decades. Let us be bold and join forces in this noble enterprise.

Thank you.