Remarks by Beate Trankmann: Launching and Handover of Mongolia's 2030 Sustainable Development Vision

Apr 11, 2016

Launching and Handover of Mongolia's 2030 Sustainable Development Vision

Remarks by Ms. Beate Trankmann, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative

Government House, Chinggis Khaan Hall, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

11 April 2016

  • H.E. Mr. Enkhbold, Speaker of the Parliament of Mongolia,
  • H.E. Mr. Saikhanbileg, Prime Minister of Mongolia
  • Hon Mr. Bakei, Chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on State Structures
  • Honorable Members of Parliament and Government Ministers 
  • Members of the international community

Thank you for giving the United Nations the opportunity to speak at this important event.

We are delighted to witness today the launch and handover by Parliament of Mongolia’s 2030 Sustainable Development Vision, which charts the country’s development path for the next 15 years – the period of the Sustainable Development Goals.

By 2030, the Development Vision envisages Mongolia to be one of the leading Middle Income Countries – that has eradicated poverty in all its forms and preserves the ecological balance while continuing to build strong and stable governance systems.

Mongolia has shown strong development progress over the last 15 years. Last year, it has been classified for the first time as a high Human Development Country in UNDP’s Human Development Index. According to the inequality adjusted HDI, Mongolia remains more equal than most countries in Asia Pacific and is more or less comparable in terms of inequality with countries in Europe and Central Asia.

Recent economic progress has lifted many people out of poverty. However, with one in five people living below the poverty line, poverty remains a challenge. At the same time, progress has been achieved at the cost of environmental degradation that is impacting the lives of everyone, with the poor often being disproportionately affected. The key to making development progress sustainable is finding the balance among all its constituent parts – economic, social and environmental.   

At the United Nations, we are pleased to see Mongolia’s 2030 Vision firmly anchored in the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development approved by World leaders last Sept in New York.

This makes Mongolia one of the global early adopters of the SDGs and I would like to congratulate you on this achievement.

The 17 SDGs define the global priorities for people and planet for the next decade and a half.

They, indeed, integrate the three pillars of development – economic, social and environmental.

They put sustainability at the core and focus on eliminating poverty and reducing inequality in order to have everyone benefit from development.

The next step now is for Mongolia to translate its Sustainable Development vision - and the SDGs embedded in it - into concrete government policies, plans and budgets for actual implementation.

Like the SDGs - Mongolia’s vision is broad and ambitious. Implementing it, goes beyond government and requires a whole-of-society effort bringing in private sector, civil society and communities as well as political parties. In fact, the vision offers an opportunity to go beyond the short-term objectives of the next election and plan for the longer-term and for future generations. 

In translating the vision document into plans and budgets, it will be important to work out the connections between the different priorities - how they are mutually reinforcing and potentially competing with each other. We have seen that high economic growth, for example, does not automatically lead to decreasing poverty and inequality and it will be vital for the policies underpinning the Vision Document to ensure that both objectives can be met. Similarly, growth strategies especially in the mining, energy and agricultural sectors may need to be adjusted to ensure that environmental and climate change objectives can be reached.

At the same time, and beyond decreasing inequalities, the issue of targeting will need some more thinking. In particular, to ensure that development doesn’t leave anyone behind, action plans need to be targeted to reach the furthest behind first.

Last but not least, adequate state budget resources need to be put behind the key objectives of the vision. This involves adequate taxation measures and better targeting of state resources including the abolishment of counterproductive subsidies that don’t support pro-poor and pro-environment public programmes. It also involves public expenditure reviews to ensure that resources are indeed being assigned to policy priorities and sectors. Finally on this point, financing has to go beyond state budget and bring in new sources of finance from private sector, philanthropy and others.

To conclude, let me say that the UN stands ready to support the government of Mongolia in implementing its Long-term Sustainable Development Vision and the SDG agenda.

Some cooperation is already underway through a comprehensive data assessment to look at data availability against the 231 global SDG indicators and identify data gaps and capacity challenges.

The UN & UNDP are also setting up a broad programmatic platform for the SDGs that supports SDG mainstreaming into Mongolia’s national and local plans, policies and budgets and facilitates measures for acceleration and their subsequent monitoring.

As part of this, we will support the development of an integrated financing assessment of Mongolia’s Development Vision and introduce a screening tool for review and alignment of policies and sectoral plans with the Vision and the SDGs. We will also work with the Government of Mongolia to translate experiences from local pilot initiatives into country-wide systematic solutions underpinned by relevant policies and budget allocations.

We look forward to working with the Government, Parliament and all partners on this important agenda.