26 November 2016

Remarks to side event on the roll out process of the Sustainable Development Goals in Turkmenistan (as prepared for delivery)

I am delighted to be here for this important side event to roll out the&nbspprocess of the Sustainable Development goals in Turkmenistan.

This is my third visit to Turkmenistan. Each time, I held meaningful discussions with the leaders on how to achieve a life of dignity for all people across the country.

I consistently stressed the importance of human rights – not only for the sake of individuals but also for the security of the whole society.

I stood for the inclusion of partners from civil society because I am convinced that in all countries where they have the space to operate, everyone benefits.

And I have emphasized the vital need to build accountable institutions to earn public trust.

The Sustainable Development Goals will strengthen all of these areas and more.

They are our blueprint for peace, prosperity, the planet and people based on partnerships.

Turkmenistan has long understood the importance of sustainable development.

It started advocating in 2013 for the 2030 Agenda by holding a number of valuable events involving governments, parliament, civil society, universities, schools and young people.

When the 2030 Agenda was adopted, Turkmenistan set out to implement it across the country.

I commend the Government for successfully completing the first stage of a three-stage SDG rollout process.

The result is agreement on a list of nearly 150 SDG targets and nearly 200 indictors to carry out over the next 15 years.

I encourage the Government now to integrate these targets and indicators into national plans for the coming years.

It is a good sign that cabinet ministers are considering approving a coordination mechanism to ensure an “all-government” approach to the SDGs.

As a former foreign minister, I understand how important this is. The job of foreign minister may sound glamourous – but it is the finance minister who holds the purse strings! And all ministries must come together to realize the bold and ambitious vision of the SDGs.

That is why I commend the Government for starting to design an SDG monitoring system that involves all line ministries. This will allow you to show the world Turkmenistan’s progress.

We have the tools and the knowledge to make the 2030 Agenda a reality.

The question is whether we have enough political will.

When we look around the world, we see people desperately crying out for peace, justice and human rights.

They are suffering from violent conflict, grinding poverty, demoralizing inequality and environmental degradation.

When we empower these people, they can unlock a new future.

It is especially important to push for gender equality.

When we invest in women, societies advance. When we promote girls’ education, we prepare a new generation of doctors, parliamentarians, police and more.

We also need to harness the creative energy of youth.

I have been advocating for young people’s participation in decision-making.

Young people deserve the education, investments and opportunities they need to build a new future.

Governments must lead in achieving the SDGs – but they will not succeed on their own.

That is why I am doing everything possible to rally other partners from civil society, the world of business and philanthropy, faith leaders and non-governmental organizations.

We may be separated by geography or sector but we have common values and shared purpose.

Turkmenistan has shown its commitment to a sustainable future.

On October 16, the Mejlis ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Just last month, our United Nations Development Programme colleagues held a consultation with key officials on a monitoring system for Turkmenistan’s national action plan in the area of human rights.

And all of our agencies in the UN family are committed to continuing to support the Government in achieving the vision of the 2030 Agenda to leave no one behind.

Earlier today, I had the privilege of opening the new UN House in Turkmenistan with His Excellency&nbspPresident Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.

I said this impressive new structure is a model for other countries hosting the United Nations.

I am deeply grateful for this generous support.

The new UN House is more than a structure. It is a symbol of our strong partnership. And it is a hub where we will work together to realize a better future for this country and all of its people.

Let us resolve to strengthen this partnership even more as we advance towards achieving a better future for all.

Thank you.