الكلمة الافتتاحية للسيدة إيلينا بانوفا، المُنسقة المقيمة للأمم المتحدة في مصر.
Your Excellency, Prime Minister, Dr. Mostafa Madbouly,
Your Excellency, Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation,
Your Excellencies Ministers,
Distinguished Members of the House of Representatives and Senators,
Your Excellencies Ambassadors,
On behalf of the UN, I thank you for taking the time to join us today in marking this extraordinary occasion, only once every five years, of the signing of the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework.
The Cooperation Framework is anchored in national development priorities and Egypt’s Vision 2030.
Its implementation is co-led by the Government and the United Nations, with the overarching aim to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals.
And I am very glad that with the video we watched earlier we were able to show a glimpse of what that cooperation looks like on the ground.
This video illustrates an important truth: that progress on the SDGs is not about lines on a graph, or even words on paper.
It is about healthy mothers and babies, children and youth learning the skills to fulfil their potential; parents who can feed their families.
It is about farmers being able to cultivate their lands in a way that respects nature, growing healthy, nutritious crops.
It is about women providing for the needs of their families through businesses they build.
It is about protecting communities against rising sea levels.
It is about all people, enjoying their human rights, their right to live a decent life in dignity.
As we mark the signing of the Cooperation Framework, this is what this document represents when it is brought to life.
Ladies and gentlemen, I will now zoom in on the Cooperation Framework, so allow me to cite the relevant UN General Assembly Resolution, which features the Cooperation Framework as and I quote ”the most important instrument for planning and implementation of the UN development activities at country level in support of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” Unquote.
It enables the UN country team, the government, and all partners to bring to life the SDGs at country level, in the lives of people.
And I would like to pause here and sincerely thank Your Excellency, Dr. Rania, for your inspiring and tireless leadership in developing this Cooperation Framework on behalf of the Government. You and your team have been the driving force behind this effort. And the ambition and quality of this document is a testament to your engagement.
The new generation of Cooperation Frameworks forms a centerpiece of the reform of the UN Development System, a key priority of the UN Secretary General.
And in line with his vision, I am happy to report that we mobilized the UN system to come on board. 26 UN entities, based in Egypt and operating from their headquarters, have jointly worked on this Cooperation Framework and will sign it today. This represents an increase of 7 UN agencies compared to the last Framework.
I am proud of this commitment by the UN leadership at country level and headquarters. For each of the five priority areas of the Cooperation Framework we had a Head of Agency lead in developing the substance and I am very grateful to my colleagues for investing their time and effort to produce this high-quality document.
Distinguished participants, in the Cooperation Framework we unpack the three dimensions of Sustainable Development.
First, we address the social dimension with a focus on strengthening human capital and access to basic services. This includes education, health, food and nutrition, social protection and assistance to migrants and refugees. (slide on Pillar 1)
Second, we look at the economic dimension, with focus on inclusive and environmentally sustainable economic development driven by industrialization, green and inclusive growth, decent jobs, digitalization and integrating the informal economy. Building on Egypt’s huge potential for entrepreneurship, we seek to invest in medium and small enterprises, entrepreneurial skills development, and support the integration of businesses into regional and global value chains. (slide on Pillar 2)
Third, we have the environmental dimension, calling for climate resilience and efficiency of natural resource management, focusing on early warning, preparedness, adaptation, just transition to green circular economy, inclusive agricultural systems, and inclusive and climate resilient urban development. (slide on Pillar 3)
The Cooperation Framework will act as a catalyst to deliver the climate ambitions at country level that the COP27 put on the global agenda.
And I would be remiss not to congratulate the Government on your leadership, delivering on a landmark agreement to establish a Loss and Damage Fund.
Many were doubtful, but you defied the skeptics and delivered on climate justice for the most vulnerable countries.
And this commitment to climate action is well-anchored in the Cooperation Framework, in support of the ambitious National Climate Change Strategy and initiatives such as NWFE on the Nexus of Water, Food and Energy.
I am glad to report that we have a new priority area in the Cooperation Framework on Transparency, Good Governance and Rule of Law, presenting an important opportunity to expand our cooperation. It focuses on support to strengthening institutions and public administration, anti-corruption and accountability, access to justice and international cooperation. (slide on Pillar 4)
Last but certainly not least, our Cooperation Framework is one of the few ones globally with a dedicated outcome area on the empowerment of women and girls. This encompasses women’s economic empowerment, women’s civic engagement and leadership, countering all forms of violence against women and girls, and a focus on services and opportunities for adolescent girls. (slide on Pillar 5)
The new generation of Cooperation Frameworks builds on the collective assessment and analysis of the UN System on the progress, gaps, and opportunities vis-à-vis a country’s commitment to achieving the SDGs, the UN norms and standards and the principles of the UN Charter.
This analysis identified key groups at risk of being left behind that are included in this framework.
In this way, the Cooperation Framework represents a commitment to the people of this country, particularly the most marginalized and vulnerable.
Ladies and gentlemen, we sign this Cooperation Framework at a crucial moment for Africa, and for Egypt.
The African continent, and Egypt specifically, is witnessing a series of cascading crises that threaten to undermine hard fought development gains for current and future generations alike.
Egypt is faced with the socio-economic fall outs of Covid-19, the knock-on effects of the war in Ukraine, the climate crisis, and the unfolding conflict in Sudan. None of this Egypt caused, but it is faced with the consequences.
For the UN this means that, as Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed put it recently, we are now asked to do “development in emergency mode”.
This means the implementation of the Cooperation Framework will remain responsive to new developments as they arise.
Going forward, we need to be at the top of our game and retain the agility to adapt.
Ladies and gentlemen, with the Cooperation Framework to be signed today, we now need to deliver.
From our side, we will mobilize the full range of UN assets, providing integrated policy advice and normative support, leveraging our convening power, while continuing to deliver direct support on the ground to those in need.
But this Cooperation Framework cannot be actioned by the UN in isolation.
Its successful implementation will require joint commitment to action and also:
political leadership shown by this Government to commit to Vision 2030 and its ownership over the sustainable development agenda.
leadership of bilateral and multilateral partners fostering coherence, transparency, and a focus on results.
leadership of the private sector to integrate sustainability into the core of their business models.
leadership of civil society to reach those at risk of being left behind and give them a voice.
leadership of academia to provide thought leadership and long-term vision to orient our priorities.
Ultimately, the litmus test for the success of this Cooperation Framework will be our collective ability to lead and come together around concrete partnerships to deliver for the people we serve.
I will conclude with the words of UN Secretary General Guterres, that continue inspiring me, and I quote: “We will never ever give up on making this world better for everyone, everywhere.”