12 June 2017

Secretary-General's remarks at Sustainable Development Goals Forum in Tajikistan

Your Excellency President of the Republic of Tajikistan,
Distinguished Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me begin by thanking the government and people of Tajikistan for their warm welcome.
I thank you for coming together to strengthen partnerships for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a transformative plan of action for people, peace, prosperity and the planet.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are integrated and indivisible, global in nature and universally applicable. Each Government decides how targets should be incorporated into national planning processes, policies and strategies taking into account national realities.
We are in the midst of a process to reform and strengthen the UN development system to better align it to deliver for people and achieve the SDGs.
Tajikistan has made remarkable progress.  Poverty has been cut by more than half -- from 81% in 2003 to 31% in 2015.
The Government of Tajikistan has also provided valuable support in advancing the SDG goal on water and sanitation.
I commend your leadership in sponsoring the General Assembly resolution on the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development” as well as the High-level Water Symposium in Dushanbe last August.  I thank President Rakhmon for his active engagement in the High-level Panel on Water co-convened by the United Nations and the World Bank.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Next month, Tajikistan will present its Voluntary National Review at the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.
This is a sign of the very strong commitment of President Rakhmon and the Government of Tajikistan to fully implementing the 2030 agenda.
We are pleased to have worked with the Government of Tajikistan in support of your National Development Strategy 2016-2030. This Strategy is the roadmap for SDG implementation in Tajikistan.
We have also worked with the Government to identify accelerators for achieving the SDGs in Tajikistan.  This includes addressing regional disparities, enhancing access to energy, and greater focus on gender equality and youth.
Of course, as is the case with any country, there are challenges. 
For example, food security.  Despite progress, malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies remain significant.  I welcome your focus today on national and global experience in ensuring food security and quality nutrition.
Tajikistan also faces unique threats from the impacts of climate change.  Landslides and floods have greatly affected roads and infrastructure.
Almost 30% of Tajikistan’s glaciers have melted in the last ten years alone.
The SDGs also stress a human rights-based approach to leave no one behind. The UN is committed to supporting Tajikistan in implementing the Universal Period Review recommendations of the Human Rights Council.
The rule of law, civic participation and free media are essential elements to strengthen human rights, and sustain peace and development.
The UN system is committed to support Tajikistan in further building knowledge, skills and values for a strong human rights culture and  a holistic approach to ensure equal access to justice.
Gender equality is also a priority and I know Tajikistan is working to narrow gender gaps and discrimination.
Doing so requires addressing disparities in the education system, especially at the university level; and expanding opportunities for women in the job market.
People-centred gender-sensitive policies can make an enormous difference in strengthening equal access to public education and health care, political participation, property, and land ownership as well as finance.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Achieving the 2030 Agenda will require cooperation and innovative partnerships. Enhancement of scientific and technological cooperation is also key.
We need the engagement of all stakeholders – governments, private sector, civil society, academia, citizens and international community. We need to work together to raise awareness, promote engagement and encourage participation and accountability at all levels.
We also need to work on innovative ways to mobilize domestic and alternative global development finance through public and private channels and develop strong partnerships. I am pleased to see that today’s conference includes a special session devoted to discussion of innovative partnerships. 
Let us work together with a sense of urgency and action to achieve the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals in Tajikistan.
Tajikistan can count on the UN system’s continued full support.
Thank you.