Opening Remarks by Dr. Pratibha Mehta UN Resident Coordinator in Tajikistan

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Your Excellency Mr. Nematullo Hikmatullozoda, Minister of Economic Development and Trade

Distinguished Deputy Ministers, Government partners

Civil society organizations

Ladies and gentlemen

On behalf of the UN System in Tajikistan, I would like to welcome you all to the UN-Government Joint Steering Committee Meeting to review the results achieved in the second-year of implementation of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF 2016-2020) and discuss how we can further improve our development cooperation to accelerate development and achievement of the SDGs.

United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) is a strategic programme framework for the period 2016-2020 and draws on the full range of expertise and resources of the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) to respond to national priorities highlighted in the National Development Strategy for 2016-2030. More specifically, UNDAF contribute to inclusive and equitable access to quality services by all, particularly vulnerable people, strengthen good governance, protection of human rights and inclusive economic development and environmental sustainability as foundations for sustainable growth to eliminate poverty.

Today we will review the results we jointly achieved in 2017. My colleagues will present key UNDAF results and a full draft results report, which is in your folder will be finalized after this meeting for wider distribution to all partners. In my opening remarks, I would like to focus on some achievements, challenges and opportunities.

2017 was an important and dynamic year. We marked the 25 years of close collaboration between UN and Tajikistan and important steps were taken to accelerate SDGs implementation, both in the country and internationally.

A high-level National SDGs Conference organized during the ?rst visit of the new UN Secretary General in June was opened by the President of Tajikistan which for the first time brought several Ministries, development partners and CSOs to discuss SDGs implementation in the country. Tajikistan also became the ?rst country from Central Asia to present its Voluntary National Review report at the highest UN political platform in New York in July. In October, a month-long SDGs public awareness campaign was rolled out with 40 activities to reach out to university, schools, communities, CSOs and private sector in Dushanbe and all other Regions. In November, process to prepare the first National SDG Report was launched and UNDAF Results Groups, co-chaired by UN Agencies and Line Ministries were tasked to undertake thematic consultation on NDS/SDGs with multi-stakeholders.

2017 was also marked by the adoption of the National Action Plan to implement the second cycle of Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations, developed in a consultative process, and supported by the UN system while UN Convention of the Rights of the People with Disabilities was signed by the President of Tajikistan in March this year. As you know, promotion and protection of Human Rights is the core mandate of the UN and is mainstreamed in UNDAF. This year UN will support the Government of Tajikistan in elaborating a single integrated National Human Rights Strategy until 2030 which will integrate various action plans such as UPR, CRC, CEDAW, etc. to help in coordinated implementation and reporting.

Internationally, Tajikistan is continuing its global lead on water issues and SDG6. The General Assembly Resolution on Decade of Water (2018-2028), initiated by Tajikistan was successfully launched in this year in New York. In 2017 Tajikistan became a member of the ECOSOC for two terms and has been actively participating in historic UN reforms to make the UN system fit for purpose to address challenges of today's world and to provide joint up support to countries to implement SDGs.

The ambitious SDGs agenda not only requires the UN system to work as One UN, but more importantly it requires the governments to break its silos and adopt whole of government approach. Moreover, SDGs require better targeting to ensure that no one in the country is left behind in development, it requires innovative solutions, mobilizing domestic financing, partnering with CSOs and Private sector and establishing a culture of evidence based decision making. There are no easy solutions to reforming old working systems and set habits. But a changing world means that UN and its Member States must also change to respond to new challenges in new ways.

We had discussed some of these challenges in our Joint Steering Committee meeting last year and based on that we have initiated three actions. The UN system, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, has initiated a vulnerability mapping process. A nation-wide mapping of vulnerable population will allow us to understand who are the vulnerable, where do they live and why are they vulnerable. This will allow better targeting of UN and National budgets and capacity to ensure that no one is left behind. The Vulnerability maps will be produced as an ATLAS, so anyone can understand and use these maps.

Secondly, in recognition of the need to establish SDGs monitoring ecosystem and enhance M&E capacities to monitor NDS and SDGs, the UNDAF Coordination and M&E working Group together with the MEDT organized a workshop on SDG, NDS and UNDAF Monitoring Frameworks and gender-responsive M&E approaches with participation 18 Government entities and 15 UN agencies, the Statistics department conducting mapping of data availability for SDGs indicators. This year we will continue to focus on data management and monitoring and work with other development partners under government leadership.

Third, we had discussed the importance of innovative solutions and new ways for mobilizing financing for the complex SDGs agenda. To support this the UN has launched a rapid analysis of development finance in Tajikistan to assess current financial flows for development in Tajikistan and identify ways to diversify and leverage domestic and global financial recourses. The rapid analysis will be finalized shortly and would serve basis for dialogue in the country with the ministry of finance, department of taxation, state investment, line Ministries and donors. UN is ready to facilitate and support such a dialogue to identify action steps which can be included in the National SDG implementation road map.

Finally, I would like to highlight that whole of government and whole of country approach to achieving SDGs would require close involvement of local authorities and reforms to enable CSOs engagement as partners and incentives for private sector to contribute in scaling up of development solutions. A lot needs to be done to build partnerships, a beginning can be made, first by giving voice to all. In this regard, I would like to suggest establishment of a National SDGs partnership platform including line ministries and local governments, CSOs, IFIs, bilateral donors, development entities and private sector to promote focus on solutions, innovations, alternative financing, etc. This platform can feed in the National Development Council process and help link NDS and SDGs. UN will be ready to support the creation of SDGs partnership platform.

As I mentioned, before UN reforms will introduce profound change in how UN delivers in efficient and coherent manner following our core mandate of Human Rights. We think that change is not just brought through projects, but our individual and organizational behavior is equally important. To lead the way by demonstration, UN System in Tajikistan is paying highest importance to ethics and integrity and has adopted a policy of zero tolerance for sexual harassment, any form of discrimination and corruption for all UN personnel, including all our contractors.

We have introduced many greening features in our operations and will continue to find ways to cut usage of energy, paper and fuel and take actions to achieve gender parity in staffing.

We are now half way into the implementation of UNDAF and MTDP hence, it is a good moment to take stock and if necessary to take course correction measures to improve effectiveness of UN development cooperation to bring real change in the lives of women, men, girls and boys throughout the country, leaving no town, no district, no mahalla and no one behind.

I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the national and local government, civil society, development partners and people of Tajikistan for their collaboration in UNDAF implementation, we look forward to hearing your comments, ideas that will further enhance our work and to our future productive cooperation.

Thank you.

Source: United Nations in Tajikistan