50 years old UNDP and Sustainable Development Goals

Feb 16, 2016

By Ercan Murat, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. 

Across the globe, world leaders are getting ready to adopt the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are essentially an agreed vision to put people and planet on a sustainable path by 2030. This will form the bedrock of a new development agenda that can set the world on a course of action to end poverty, transform lives and protect the planet.

In Azerbaijan, we’re looking forward to promote sustainable and inclusive economic development, strengthen institutional capacities and effective public and social services, and improve environmental management and resilience to disasters. These new Global Goals will help us achieve that. The Goals spell out how we work together to promote dignity, equality, justice, shared prosperity and well-being for all, while protecting the environment. We are the first generation that can end poverty and the last one that can avoid the worst effects of climate change.

I’ve learned from my work with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that setting goals and targets work. For example, empowering youth in decision-making and improving women’s economic rights, especially in rural regions of the country are our main aims that we partner with the Government of Azerbaijan to make a difference. Adoption of  SDGs opens promising doors for our cooperation and creates new opportunities for more synergies. We look forward to continuing our work in the years to come.

Millions of people’s lives have improved due to concerted efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which serve as the foundation for the next global development agenda. MDG targets have already been met on reducing poverty, increasing access to improved drinking water sources, improving the lives of slum dwellers and achieving gender parity in primary school. In Azerbaijan, during the 2000-2014  - Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) years -  extreme poverty was  eliminated, the level of absolute poverty decreased to 5.0% from 49.0%, the enrollment rates reached to 99.8-100% in  all levels of education, progress was made on  gender equality and women empowerment, the number of death among children under the age 5 per 1000 live births has fallen to 12.8 from 28, infant and maternal mortality  significantly reduced, malaria has been fully prevented,  significant progress was achieved on the provision of environmental sustainability and development of global partnership for development. If trends continue, the world will meet more MDGs targets.

Over the past 20 years, the likelihood of a child dying before age five has been nearly cut in half. Globally, the maternal mortality ratio dropped by nearly half. More people than ever before are receiving antiretroviral therapy for HIV-infection. More than six million deaths from malaria were averted due to substantial expansion of malaria interventions. Enormous progress has been made, showing the value of a unifying agenda underpinned by goals and targets. Yet despite this progress, the indignity of poverty did not end for all.

These 17 new Goals will continue the journey towards progress for everyone that aims at going even farther to focus the world on ending poverty, hunger and major health problems, as well as break new ground by setting goals and targets on inequalities, economic growth, decent jobs, energy, climate change, and peace and justice, among others.

I believe we will achieve substantial results by taking on the many interconnected challenges we face together. Taking action to achieve the Global Goals and building greater shared prosperity is in everybody’s best interest and provides enormous investment opportunities that will benefit all people and the planet. Success in this new ambitious agenda for global action will be driven by leaders, governments and people, especially at the local levels. The Goals should matter to all of us, and we all have a shared responsibility for our future.

Let’s focus on our shared problems and work on overcoming the common problems all countries face. With new, interconnected Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that apply to all, we can go much further to end all forms of poverty, ensure no one is left behind, tackle unsustainable practices and chart a dignified future for all people in all countries.

Global Development Partner with 50 years of history! UNDP has 50 years of experience working with more than 170 countries to make this a more prosperous, healthy, inclusive, and sustainable world. Early in 1966, United Nations leaders fighting poverty came together to form UNDP. At UNDP, we are committed to finish the job we started 50 years ago, and end poverty once and for all. Agenda 2030 is the most ambitious effort on development in world history. UNDP is prepared to lead the way to achieve this global agenda. This is a job not just for the poor countries or the rich counties. Not only for the people or their leaders. It’s a shared vision of the people and their leaders. And Azerbaijan has a part.

To celebrate this achievement and the 50th Anniversary of United Nations Development Programme, on 20 February 2016, we will organize the National Model UN Conference, bringing more than 300 youth together. These youth will be the biggest beneficiaries when the Sustainable Development Goals is accomplished.

UNDP stands ready to support Azerbaijan as it develops its plans for making the SDGs a reality. We will work closely with the government, private sector, civil society and many other partners in Azerbaijan to strive to achieve lasting results for people and planet. UNDP together with the rest of the UN system is poised to support Azerbaijan and partner with all stakeholders to make significant progress on the SDGs in the country.

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