Thank you Dr. Salim Al Gudhea, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs, for the kind introduction and invitation to participate in this important event.
Mr. Ashok Nigam (RC/RR Kingdom of Saudi Arabia),
Mr. Olav KjA�rven (Director of UNICEF's Public Partnerships Division, UNICEF),
H.E. Ambassador Abdullah Almoalimi, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, and other KSA government representatives
First and foremost, I wish to extend my sincere congratulations on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 84thNational Day.
The Kingdom's ambition articulated in Vision 2030 for a better future -- centered on having a vibrant society, a thriving economy and an ambitious nation -- is notable. It is also wonderful to see the strong alignment between Vision 2030 and the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
With the thoughtful planning and strategic pathways outlined in the accompanying National Transformation Program 2020, Saudi Arabia has already made a good start in its journey towards ensuring a prosperous and sustainable future.
And we in the United Nations and UNDP are committed to support the Kingdom's efforts in SDG implementation, and to be a strong partner on this road to 2030.
My remarks today will draw on experiences from the ongoing roll-out of the SDGs across the globe.
Since the adoption of the SDGs one year ago, countries around the world have turned their attention to implementation. Twenty-two countries (including 7 OECD-DAC countries) voluntarily reported on their progress at the High-Level Political Forum earlier this year.
But these are not the only countries focused on implementation. Over 95 countries have called upon the UN Development System for assistance in mainstreaming SDGs in national development plans, advocacy, and support for monitoring and reporting.
UNDP's strategy for SDG implementation support is undertaken through a common approach endorsed by the UN Development Group known as MAPS:
" Mainstreaming: that is helping countries to translate the 2030 Agenda at national and local levels;
" Acceleration: identifying key drivers that can remove bottlenecks and accelerate progress; and
" Policy Support: offering UN technical expertise in an efficient and coherent manner for improved policies and programming.
From our work to date, I will distil a few key elements for successful implementation and highlight areas where the UN system can be called upon to be your partner:
" First, governments need to translate the Global Goals into national and local policies, plans and budgets, while targeting those who are most left behind. We are providing support to many countries on such "mainstreaming" - starting with analysis of the alignment of national plans with SDG targets.
" Saudi Arabia has already begun to identify some key gaps that would need to be addressed to achieve Vision 2030 and the SDGs, including economic diversification, strengthening of the private sector and entrepreneurship, especially among small and medium enterprises, and investment in human capital, including increased women's participation in the workforce, to name a few. This is an important step: identifying gaps can spur dialogue around policies and partnerships which can help address them.
" A second key element is to recognize that the SDGs were crafted as an integrated and interconnected set. Governments need to ensure a whole-of-government approach, and adopt multi-dimensional approaches to development. These must incorporate the pursuit of human development and environmental sustainability, simultaneously, and acknowledge the importance of addressing vulnerabilities and marginalisation. Working alongside partners, the UN and UNDP is developing "acceleration" tools, i.e., those that enable the identification of synergies and trade-offs across possible interventions that could lead to faster progress across multiple SDGs at the same time.
" The third element is partnership. The transformative 2030 Agenda can only be achieved if all of society - civil society, business, philanthropy, academia -- are engaged, working in partnership with governments at national and sub-national levels. The UN has rich experience in supporting effective multi-stakeholder engagement in all regions of the world, designing public awareness campaigns (including through the UN SDG Action Campaign) and facilitating south-south and triangular exchange of experiences in this regard.
" Finally, monitoring progress and accountability is a core component of the 2030 Agenda. Countries must ensure that they have data systems, capacities and mechanisms in place to track progress. We are working with several Member States in assessing their statistical capacities and national 'data ecosystems' to explore opportunities for engaging a broader set of stakeholders, including private sector and civil society, in more inclusive and participatory national statistical systems for monitoring the SDGs.
Let me close by congratulating the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia once again on your bold Vision 2030 and efforts to align it with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development. I look forward to a strong partnership and wish you a productive event.