September 25, 2021

Helen Clark: Statement to the 94th Meeting of the Development Committee

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for "leaving no one behind" and "reaching those furthest behind first". To meet these aspirations, special attention must be given to countries where development challenges are being exacerbated by crises and disasters, including those caused by natural hazards, disease outbreaks, conflicts, civil unrest, and other factors. It is vital to ensure that the 1.4 billion people who live in such settings - among them half of the world's extremely poor people - are not left behind.

Reflecting the scale and scope of the challenges posed by ongoing crises, the United Nations Secretary-General convened the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit on 23-24 May in Istanbul, and the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants on 19 September in New York.

The World Humanitarian Summit

The World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) was held at a time of unprecedented humanitarian need. The Summit affirmed that addressing these challenges requires increasing levels of financing; political will and leadership to prevent and end conflict; and a new and coherent approach to reducing humanitarian needs, risk and vulnerability.

UN humanitarian, peacebuilding, and development actors will have to work together better in crisis and conflict settings and their aftermath. The WHS recognized that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a common framework to this end.

During the Summit several important initiatives were launched involving the UN, the World Bank Group, and other partners, including:

o The Commitment to Action on collaborating in a new way of working, was signed by several UN entities at the Summit, and endorsed by the World Bank and the International Organization of Migration . This is a step towards improved joint analysis and planning in order to strengthen the UN common system's contribution to meeting humanitarian needs, early recovery, reducing the vulnerability of countries and communities, and improving risk management.

o The Grand Bargain, launched at the WHS by major donors and aid organizations is a commitment to enhance efficiency, transparency, and collaboration in the way financing is provided and used in crisis situations. A key element of this is to ensure that financing incentivizes action across institutional boundaries to deliver better for the most vulnerable.

o The Global Preparedness Partnership, launched by the Vulnerable 20 Group of Finance Ministers, the UN, and the World Bank, aims to help an initial set of twenty of the most at-risk countries to achieve a minimum level of readiness to future shocks by 2020.

o The Global Risk Platform aims to bring together risk, vulnerability, and threat analysis initiatives in one global community of practice, with the goal of offering an evidence base to make humanitarian action and development more risk-informed.

The UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants

Addressing the specific issues associated with large movements of people looking for opportunities and security is also essential. Commitments were made by UN Member States at the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants to address the root causes of displacement and drivers of migration, and to identify collective responses to these challenges.

UN Member States' commitment to pursue the adoption of a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration by 2018 could mean migration will be guided by a set of common principles and approaches for the first time. Member States at the Summit also committed to adopting a Global Compact on Refugees by 2018, to achieve a more equitable sharing of responsibility for hosting and supporting refugees.

As stressed in the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants, it is also critical to improve the delivery of humanitarian and development assistance to the most-affected countries, including through innovative multilateral financial solutions, with the goal of closing all funding gaps.

The United Nations welcomes the recent launch of the World Bank's Global Concessional Financing Facility, which was developed in partnership with the UN. This new facility, which is part of the Global Crisis Response Platform, is an important instrument which aims at addressing refugee crises in middle-income countries, by helping them to secure the needed development financing and bridge the gap between humanitarian and development assistance.

Addressing Climate Change

Since the Development Committee last met, there have also been important developments related to climate action. A record-breaking 175 Parties signed the Paris Agreement on climate change in New York on 22 April. Now more and more countries are ratifying the Agreement, signaling that it is likely to come into force several years ahead of schedule. The United Nations urges all countries to complete their domestic ratification processes before the end of 2016.

Nearly all countries have committed to national targets for climate action through their Nationally-Determined Contributions (NDCs). It is critical that NDCs become more ambitious over time.

The commitments made on climate finance should be met as soon as possible, including those commitments to support the Green Climate Fund. All countries especially those which are most vulnerable to climate change impacts must have the technical, financial, and capacity building support they need for effective climate action. The United Nations looks forward to a successful outcome of COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco, in November.

Early Actions In Support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda is a top priority for the UN development system. Guided by its common approach to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) mainstreaming, acceleration, and policy support - known as MAPS - the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) is supporting countries to: adapt the 2030 Agenda in a range of national contexts; identify and address bottlenecks for further progress; and access a wide range of policy expertise from across the UN development system. This common approach can be adapted to all country contexts, including fragile and conflict-affected countries.

Many countries have already started adapting the 2030 Agenda to their national contexts. To date , 100 of 131 UN Country Teams around the world, have been requested by their host governments to support SDG implementation. This includes:

o support to multi-sector planning for SDG implementation and promoting coherent action across national and sub-national governments;

o strengthening statistical and data disaggregation capacities to support countries in monitoring SDG progress and conducting multidimensional poverty assessments, to ensure that no one is left behind; and

o raising awareness of the SDGs and leveraging partnerships for SDG implementation, including through the UN SDG Action Campaign.

A recent UNDG publication "The SDGs Are Coming To Life: Stories of Country Implementation and UN Support" showcases sixteen countries' early SDG implementation efforts. Some of the most innovative examples of early action come from countries in complex situations, including those reeling from the impacts of the Ebola crisis, the collapse of commodity prices, and/or decades of political unrest.

The first High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda took place in July 2016. There was a rich exchange of experiences on the theme of leaving no one behind. The universal applicability of this objective was reflected in the diversity of the twenty two countries which offered their national reviews - ranging from least developed to middle and high-income countries, and including small island and landlocked countries and those affected by crises.

International financial institutions, multilateral development banks, and major country groupings are also considering the alignment of their work streams with the 2030 Agenda. The G20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda, endorsed at the Hangzhou Summit in September 2016, is a case in point.

The collaboration between the World Bank Group and the United Nations

The United Nations congratulates Dr. Jim Yong Kim on his election to his second term as President of the World Bank Group, and welcomes his strong commitment to partnerships within the multilateral system and beyond.

Strong collaboration between the World Bank Group and the United Nations is critical for supporting countries to progress towards the SDGs.

Together with the World Bank Group, the UN is compiling lessons learned from Millennium Development Goals acceleration efforts to apply to our joint support to SDG implementation.

As conflict and fragility are among the biggest obstacles to achieving the SDGs, strengthening joint support to SDG implementation in fragile settings is a key priority for the UN and the World Bank, utilizing the New Deal approach and building on current areas of collaboration.

A portfolio review of the UN-World Bank Fragility and Conflict Partnership Trust Fund has emphasized the positive impacts the Facility's seed funding has had in achieving development results and effective UN-World Bank collaboration in fragile contexts. To improve coherence further, the UN and the World Bank are reorienting their work on the Partnership Trust Fund towards achieving shared outcomes at the country level.

Current examples of the UN and World Bank working together to support recovery and response include:

o At the request of the Government of Cameroon, the UN, World Bank, and European Union will soon begin a full needs assessment for recovery where the Boko Haram conflict has caused loss of life and displacement.

o In Yemen, a new emergency programme developed by the Government, UNDP, and the World Bank will create more than 900,000 work days benefiting over 57,000 families. As a result, around 380,000 Yemenis in conflict-affected areas will be able to access basic services.

o In the Central African Republic, the recent recovery assessment jointly conducted by UNDP, the World Bank, and the EU provided important inputs to the ongoing development of a three-year National Stabilization Plan.

In the spirit of United Nations resolutions on sustaining peace, and to support countries in the pursuit of the SDGs, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), UNDP, and the World Bank recently collaborated on research into the impact of employment programmes on peacebuilding. The research provides insights which will help develop employment programmes with a greater impact on sustaining peace. The next phase of collaboration will include pilot programmes.

UNDP, PBSO, the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA), and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) are working with the World Bank on a flagship study on development and conflict prevention to provide recommendations on how national and international development actors can strengthen efforts to prevent violent conflict.

The UN is also supporting the World Bank's Identification For Development (ID4Development) initiative, and collaborates with the World Bank to develop clear policy expertise on matters related to digital identity and national identity programmes. Currently lack of legal identity affects up to 1.5 billion people around the world, and is addressed in SDG Target 16.9 on ensuring legal identity for all.

The UN has engaged with the World Bank's management in relation to the revision of the Bank's Environmental and Social Framework over the last several years. The new Framework, approved by the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors in August 2016, presents a number of important features, including a broader scope in relation to social issues, strengthened support to project implementation, and its intention to allocate resources more strategically to risk. It also places greater emphasis on the use of borrower frameworks and capacity building, with a view to strengthening national systems. It is expected to influence the social and environmental safeguards and sustainability policies of bilateral and multilateral lenders, export credit agencies, and others, as well as legislative and policy frameworks governing social and environmental risk management at the country level. The UN is committed to support the World Bank in incorporating international human rights, labour, and environmental standards in developing future guidance on the Framework.

Financing for Development

The World Bank is a key contributor to the Financing for Development process. The inaugural ECOSOC forum on Financing for Development follow-up (FfD Forum) in April included a special high-level meeting with the Bretton Woods institutions, WTO, and UNCTAD. At the FfD forum there was an interactive dialogue among the representatives of intergovernmental bodies and senior management of the World Bank, IMF, and UNCTAD on two themes: (i) policy coherence in implementing the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA); and (ii) the humanitarian and development nexus.

Both the FfD Forum and the HLPF were informed by the inaugural report of the Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development. As major institutional stakeholders of the FfD process, the World Bank and the IMF worked closely with the UN Secretariat, UNDP, UNCTAD, the WTO, and fifty UN and other agencies to produce the inaugural report on follow-up to the AAAA and the means of implementation for the SDGs. Preparations are underway for the 2017 report which will include analysis of the global context, analysis of thematic issues, and updates of progress in implementing the commitments made in the Financing for Development outcomes. The United Nations looks forward to continued close collaboration on this joint effort.

Domestic public finance is a central component of financing the SDGs, as well as of the social compact in the AAAA. To ensure coherence among international organizations working on tax issues, the IMF, OECD, UN, and World Bank Group have agreed to form a joint platform for collaboration on tax matters, to enable development of a common approach, delivery of joint outputs, and responses to requests for a global dialogue on tax matters, including in the area of capacity building and technical assistance.

In Addis Ababa, Member States also called for further measures to strengthen international tax cooperation, including through the work of the United Nations Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters. To this end, they agreed to increase the frequency of the Committee's meetings. Since the Addis Conference, the Committee has also established two new subcommittees on taxation of royalties and on dispute avoidance and resolution. In addition, the Committee is considering which aspects of the Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (developed by OECD at the request of the G20) to bring into the forthcoming revision of the UN Model Double Taxation Convention.

The UN Member States in the Addis Ababa Financing for Development Conference also recommitted to broadening and strengthening the voice and participation of developing countries in international economic decision-making, norm-setting, and global economic governance. Countries also reiterated their commitment to further governance reform in both the IMF and the World Bank so that both adapt their governance to changes in the global economy. The UN looks forward to the next round of World Bank governance reforms being agreed on schedule in 2017 and moving the institution toward equitable voting power, while protecting the shares of the smallest poor countries, as agreed by Member States.

Source: United Nations Development Programme