Eradicate Poverty and Promote Prosperity side-event held at the 2017 High-level Political ForumJul 17, 2017
by Narmina Guliyeva, Programme Specialist, UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia-Pacific
The Afghanistan Mission to the United Nations and the Ministry of Economy of Afghanistan organized a side event on 17 July in New York, on the sidelines of the United Nations High-Level Political Forum.
The event was titled Improving Aid Effectiveness and Building Partnerships with National Stakeholders to Eradicate Poverty and Promote Prosperity and had a special focus on Least Developed Countries.
This experience-sharing event was a useful contribution to ongoing efforts by multilateral institutions to remind the international community that Overseas Development Assistance remains key for Least Developed Countries towards achieving the 2030 Agenda.
The discussions further reiterated that the overall decline in aid to LDCs in real terms – from US$ 46 billion in 2010 to 41 billion in 2014 is worrisome.
Speakers emphasized that the SDGs not only require ODA, but also effective partnerships with national stakeholders.
The UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner noted the importance of parliaments and civil society in achieving the SDGs, as there is often perhaps too much focus on the executive branch.
H.E. Mr. Abdul Sattar Murad, Minister of Economy of the I.R. of Afghanistan agreed and reiterated the government’s commitment to creating space for civil society in development work. He noted that Afghanistan's development efforts have included a consultative process to engage all levels of society in fulfilling the principle of ‘leave no one behind’ at the heart of the Agenda 2030 vision for sustainable development.
Ms. Paloma Duran, Director, SDGs Fund, stressed that to achieve the SDGs by 2030, the private sector must be fully on board. Private companies bring creativity, resources and innovation to the discussions. Together, businesses in collaboration with local governments can also help to translate the global agenda into local action plans.
The Representative of the Afghanistan Parliament continues to achieve many impressive results and that Afghanistan’s prosperity will enable the world prosperity. She called for an increased accountability for the assistance that is provided to Afghanistan. This theme was echoed by the Senior Advisor from the President’s office who encouraged UN agencies to work as “One” on the SDGs, be flexible and tailor made to fit the country’s context.
A key to SDG implementation will be coordination across ministries and UN agencies.
The Youth Representative in the Parliament suggested that more could be done to involve youth in employment and innovation schemes, especially given the increasing mobile technology penetration in the country as an opportunity for progress.
The representative from Iran offered to share his country’s experience in developing targeted policies, noting that SDG 16 only discusses internal conflict, and spoke of the obstacle that increased militarism represents in achieving the SDGs. He called on the UN to define “international militarism”.
UNDP Representative from BPPS noted that peace and security issues often overshadow other “bread and butter” issues in Afghanistan, yet noted several positive developments such as how the diaspora are responding with a variety of social investments, raising the question of how to bring successful initiatives to scale. He also highlighted UNDP efforts in “tax inspectors without borders” as an effort to help countries increase revenues.
UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner congratulated Afghanistan for its notable achievements, and its strong development focus on the SDGs, despite the challenges the country is facing. He reiterated full commitment and support to the government and the people of Afghanistan by aligning United Nations programming to the national priorities. UNDP will make every effort to bring together all partners and stakeholders to achieve the 2030 Agenda in Afghanistan, he said.