Opening remarks by Beate Trankmann, UNDP Resident Representative, UNDP's 50th Anniversary event in Mongolia

Feb 25, 2016

UNDP 50th Anniversary 

UN House, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Your Excellency Foreign Minister Mr.Purevsuren,

Dear Friends and Partners of UNDP and colleagues,

A warm welcome to UN House to celebrate UNDP’s 50th anniversary. Less than 12 hours ago Ministers from around the world had their own celebration for UNDP’s 50th in New York.  

Fifty years ago, one in every three people around the world was living in poverty. It was against that backdrop that the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, was founded in 1966.

The then UN Secretary General U Thant said the new organization puts the United Nations on the "front-line of a global war on want."

For fifty years UNDP has been working in the forefront of development, advocating for change and connecting countries to the knowledge, experience, and resources they need to help people build better lives.

Half a century later, UNDP is looking at the future of people and planet. That future is uncertain. On the one hand, there are challenges such as climate change, economic inequality, as well as political turbulence and instability in many parts of the world. On the other hand, the world has more wealth, more knowledge and more technologies at its disposal to do something about these challenges. And the unprecedented consensus reached at last year’s global conferences about the best way forward provides a unique opportunity to eliminate poverty in our lifetime and make decisive progress on addressing climate change.

The world has changed and UNDP has changed with it. But the core mission of UNDP is more relevant than ever – that is, to support countries to eradicate poverty in a way which simultaneously reduces inequality and exclusion, while protecting the planet on which we all depend.

This is the key objective of the Sustainable Development Goals, also known as Agenda 2030. And it is what guides our work for the next 15 years. Agenda 2030 is the most ambitious effort on development in world history. UNDP is prepared to lead the way to achieve this global agenda.

We will connect the dots and integrate diverse efforts internationally, such as on health, energy, and climate work —so that we’re advancing development on all fronts.

We will constantly look for multiplier effects that yield big benefits—such as our work on women’s and girls’ education, which advances improvements in other areas, such as health and governance.

And we will identify entry points where we can accelerate our progress towards the SDGs and towards the final result: a more prosperous, fair, and inclusive world for all.

To be truly fit for purpose in the SDG era, UNDP must be ever more proactive, responsive, and innovative.

For half a century, UNDP’s has worked with countries across the globe to produce development success stories. Did you know for example?

  • That the masterplan for Singapore’s economic development is the result of a partnership between the Republic of Singapore and UNDP and was advised by a Dutch expert that UNDP engaged in 1967?
  • That, in the early 1980s, UNDP supported Argentina’s return to democracy, by helping the country to attract experts from around the world on governance and anti-corruption measures. We currently also support an election somewhere in the world every two weeks.
  • That, at the end of the 90s under the programme beautiful Bulgaria, UNDP hired long term unemployed including Roma people to restore historic buildings for urban renewal in city centers thus creating thousands of jobs to fight the economic downturn that the country went through during its transition. This programme has been replicated in Armenia, Serbia and Romania.

Many countries including Singapore and countries in Eastern Europe but also South Korea have long since graduated from UNDP support. In the future, we aim to include Mongolia in that list! 

In Mongolia, we established our office in 1973 and signed the current cooperation agreement in 1976. The photos on the wall and on screen give you an impression of our work over the years. This includes:

  • Supporting Mongolia during the democratic transition by helping to develop the institutions of democracy and establishing strong institutions of accountability such as the Independent Authority Against Corruption and the Human Rights Commission
  • To overcome economic hardship, UNDP contributed to setting up Xac Bank which started as UNDP micro-finance project
  • Responding to the 2001 dzud and to build the resilience of Mongolians against disasters, UNDP helped setting up NEMA
  • Most recently, we worked with the Government on a new approach to development planning and advised the formulation of Mongolia’s new Long Term Vision to ensure alignment with the SDGs.

Going forward the focus will be on supporting Mongolia to transform its vast mineral wealth into inclusive and environmentally sustainable development for all its people. This is at the heart of the SDG idea and it means that we will continue to work with Mongolia to translate its long-term vision and the SDGs into adequately resourced plans and policies and most importantly concrete acceleration action on the ground. We want to leave no one behind!

We look forward to working with all of you on these important agendas and I would like to use this opportunity to thank the Government of Mongolia and all our partners from the intl development community, private sector and civil society for the excellent partnership and support over the years.

Dear Friends- Let us use tonight to celebrate UNDP’s 50th birthday and past achievements. But let us also look forward and recommit ourselves to work tirelessly towards an equitable and inclusive Mongolia that can reap the benefits of its natural resource endowment for its people while protecting the environment and the climate for present and future generations to come.

Thank you! 

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