UNITED NATIONS 71st Anniversary--Remarks by Ms. B. Trankmann, UN Resident Coordinator

Oct 21, 2016

UNITED NATIONS 71st Anniversary

Remarks by Ms. B. Trankmann, UN Resident Coordinator

Reception with the Counterparts

21 OCTOBER 2016

Excellency Ms. Battsetseg Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs

Representatives of the Government, Development Partners, Civil Society, UN colleagues,

Distinguished Guests,

Good evening to you all. A special thanks to the Foreign Ministry for hosting us, and to all for joining us today, as we celebrate the United Nations 71st birthday.

Next week marks another special anniversary: 55 years since Mongolia joined the UN.

On this momentous occasion, the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has passed on a special message for Mongolia. He says, quote:

"It is a great pleasure to congratulate the Government and people of Mongolia on the 55th anniversary of Mongolia’s membership of the United Nations. 

Our partnership began when United Nations agencies first became engaged in Mongolia in the early 1960s. Today, 11 United Nations Funds, Agencies and Programmes are present in the country, working to support sustainable development and improve the lives of all Mongolians. 

Mongolia has been active in promoting all three pillars of the UN’s work: human rights, peace and security and sustainable development. 

On human rights, I commend the leaders and people of Mongolia for their commitment to a democratic vision for their country, which will support efforts to fight poverty and promote dignity, justice, peace and prosperity. 

Mongolia’s commitment to global peace and security is demonstrated by the deployment of more than 900 Mongolian troops to six UN peace operations. Mongolia has declared itself a nuclear-weapon-free zone, and has contributed to regional trust-building by facilitating dialogue with neighbouring countries. 

And Mongolia has made a strong start on the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, by integrating the 17 Sustainable Development Goals into its national development plan. I also thank Mongolia for the prompt ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change. 

My visit to Mongolia in 2009 was truly memorable. I hope the natural beauty and traditional culture of Mongolia will be maintained along with peace and prosperity for many years to come. 

Congratulations on 55 years of successful partnership! We look forward to even stronger relations in the years ahead." (end of quote)

Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to join the Secretary General in congratulating Mongolia on this anniversary and to complement his words with a few of my own.

As the Secretary-General says, Mongolia has made a timely start on the SDGs to end poverty, tackle inequality and protect our planet. On the first anniversary of the goals, the focus is on early actions to enable them, such as Mongolia’s Sustainable Development Vision.

Mongolia has made tremendous strides since the 1990s. Last year, it has been classified as a high Human Development country for the first time. Economic progress has lifted half a million people out of poverty. But poverty remains a challenge. One in five Mongolians still lives below the poverty line. And progress has been achieved at the cost of environmental degradation.

In times of financial crisis, it may be tempting to scale back social spending. To do so however defies economic logic. Reducing poverty and inequality – ‘leaving no one behind’ – offers solid returns. According to the IMF, investing in the poorest 20% of citizens leads to higher growth. While boosting incomes of the wealthiest has little or no effect on GDP.

I would like to commend the new government for its’ emphasis on social agendas. Continued social and environmental investments are vital to protect Mongolia’s development gains.

Early steps to meeting the SDGs are being taken by translating the SDV into national and subnational government action plans. Aligning sectoral policies and government budgets and private sector investments behind the vision will be key.

The UN family in Mongolia stands ready to assist. The new 5 year UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), which we formally launched today, has the SDGs and Mongolia’s SDV at its core.

Thank you all – the government, our development partners and private sector contributors for your support. We look forward to continue working with you towards a fair and sustainable future for Mongolia and its people.

Happy UN Day. Thank you.