Press release on the occasion of Afghanistan’s Side Event “Improving Aid Effectiveness and Building Partnerships with National Stakeholders to Eradicate Poverty and Promote Prosperity”
New York, 17 July 2017 – Today, the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the UN organized a side event on aid effectiveness and building partnerships with national stakeholders to eradicate poverty and promote prosperity on the margins of the 2017 High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development.
The event was organized in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). A long-time actor in the country, UNDP and the Government of Afghanistan are seeking ways to improve the delivery of services to the Afghan people and improve coherence and effectiveness of the UN country team’s work.
The interactive panel at the side event included H.E. Abdul Sattar Murad, Minister of Economy of Afghanistan, Mr. Achim Steiner, Under Secretary General of the United Nations and Administrator of UNDP, H.E. Roberto Sarmento De Oliveira Soares, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, and Ms. Paloma Duran, Director of the UN Sustainable Development Goals Fund.
The four panelists provided insights on the topic, given their long-standing experience in the field from different perspectives, and engaged in an interactive Q&A session afterwards.
Minister Murad made opening remarks focusing on the work the Ministry of Economy to start the nationalization process of the SDGs. As the leading Ministry in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the Ministry of Economy started a process of multi-stakeholders consultations, including civil society and the private sector, to make the Sustainable Development Goals truly a project for the people and by the people. The series of national consultations provided the foundation for identifying most critical areas of work to focus on, and assign the relevant line Ministries with the implementation and monitoring of SDGs targets and indicators.
Following that, UNDP Administrator Mr. Achim Steiner spoke about the importance of partnerships with national and international stakeholders and the critical role UNDP can play in this context. He praised the Government of Afghanistan for organizing this side event, which exemplifies the commitment made by the Government to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the political will for Afghan people not to be left behind. The UNDP Administrator highlighted that “continued development cooperation efforts from traditional donors and the evolving role of both domestic and private financing must be coupled with an increased role of non-government counterparts to create a sustainable and inclusive approach to financing the SDGs.” He also mentioned that the Agency will continue to support the NGOs registered in the country as they help to transform society and ensure accountability.
H.E. Roberto Sarmento De Oliveira Soares provided valuable insights on Timor-Leste’s experience with improving aid effectiveness for better delivery of services to the people. In this context, Mr. Soares stressed the crucial role of the g7+, a group of countries that are or have been affected by conflict and are now in transition to the next stage of development, of which Afghanistan is a member. The Vice Minister explained how, from the establishment of the Group
and the adoption of the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States (http://www.g7plus.org/sites/default/files/basic-page-downloads/A%20New%20Deal%20for%20engagement%20in%20Fragile%20States.pdf), the Government of Timor-Leste has been putting additional emphasis on transparency and accountability to their people and the donors, identifying aid effectiveness as a pivotal element of sustainable development.
After Mr. Soares’ remarks, Ms. Paloma Duran, SDGs Fund’s Director, provided insights on the role of the Sustainable Development Goals Fund in fostering public-private partnerships through integrated and multidimensional joint programs, illustrating examples of the Fund’s work in different countries’ contexts. Ms. Duran stressed the importance for UN Agencies to work together when implementing projects at the country level, building synergies through collaboration, and supporting a better delivery of services to the population.
A Q&A session followed, moderated by H.E. Mahmoud Saikal, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan. Ms. Farid, Member of Parliament of Afghanistan and Ms. Naderi, Senior Adviser on UN Affairs to H.E. President Ghani, commented on the panelists’ presentations, highlighting the importance of the SDGs as catalyst of collective action towards sustainable development. They also emphasized that the 2030 Agenda provides a unique chance for UN Agencies operating in the country to strengthen the coherence of their work and redouble their efforts in working with and for the people of Afghanistan to achieve a future of prosperity.
The Q&A session featured comments and questions from other delegations (Iran) and several members of civil society organizations (Cordaid, Netherlands).