2-3 June, 2020

UN House, Mongolia 

Opening Remarks by Elaine Conkievich

UNDP Resident Representative in Mongolia

 

UNDP Mongolia is honored to host a two-day workshop and thank you very much for attending via online.  

I am very pleased to see Mongolia’s strong commitments to implement the Sustainable Development Goals throughout the country first through the SDV2030 and now through Strategy 2050. Mongolia after the years of economic recession started to regain its strength, however, we need to admit that this recovery is now tenuous due to COVID-19 prevention measures which are impacting the economy and society and may bring long-term adverse consequences such as economic stagnation, increased poverty, further inequalities, disparities between urban and rural areas, and health and environmental concerns, which undermine the overall sustainable development progress and challenge achievements to date across many Sustainable Development Goals in Mongolia. We need to sustain momentum and consolidate our efforts to prevent a backsliding on progress achieved to date.   

Local governments have a special role, as their active involvement is necessary to achieve 65 percent of the SDGs. All SDGs have a link with the powers of local governments. Local governments are essential to achieve the SDGs, but the SDGs have also plenty to offer to local governments, as they provide a unique umbrella for a high-quality, integrated, inclusive, and ambitious planning. To enable local governments to become the catalysts of change, there should be sustained exchanges between the global, national and local levels to negotiate and balance local needs and aspirations with that of the sustainable development agenda. Local actors need to fully participate, not only in the implementation, but also in the agenda setting for, and monitoring of the SDGs.

Putting “localization” into practice has not been easy. In some respect, countries have had to rethink their governance systems in order to allow local governments to galvanize bottom-up action and take an active role in SDG policy and implementation. Oversight mechanisms that promote transparency and accountability at all levels of government is also essential to ensure that policies are implemented and are achieving desired results.

UNDP is committed to provide support to translate the SDGs and ambitions into national and local development plans, sectoral policies and budgets across the different levels of Government. In particular, UNDP supports Ulaanbaatar city and Orkhon and Zavkhan aimags to develop their medium-term development plans aligned with SDGs and national policies and to implement the plans through various pilot projects as SDG-based policy response, which is even more relevant now as Mongolia finds its way through the new COVID-19 world.  

As the nature of the challenges faced by aimags cut across sectors and stakeholders, resources, particularly, at local level are very limited, thus they require a set of coordinated responses which should be analyzed from a systems lens. UNDP is supporting many countries to rethink and shift their development trajectories to more innovative systems and approaches.

UNDP Mongolia with the support of the UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub, is pleased to host this 2-day workshop in cooperation with Ulaanbaatar city, Arkhangai, Zavkhan and Orkhon aimag’s Governor’s offices to develop innovative approaches to respond to complex issues faced by you using the systems change approach and map out development challenges, identify leverage points and draft a roadmap for the way forward.

In addition to local governments, we must not forget the role of the private sector, which also plays a main role in achieving the 2030 Agenda. As the Mongolian private sector produces around 80 percent of total economy, you can appreciate how the private sector is important for SDGs’ implementation.

In these two days, we will be focusing on two areas and discussing developing sustainable tourism and dealing with soil pollution. With the government, donors and CSOs, we aim to determine potential areas of cooperation between UNDP and the local governments in support of the key objectives in these two areas of the local development.

As we aim to reduce inequalities and accelerate Mongolia’s development, I would like to conclude my remarks by reminding all of us that it is critical that we not lose sight of “leaving no one left behind”, as only with this approach will be truly successful in achieving sustainable and green prosperity for Mongolia

Thank you very much and wishing you all fruitful discussions and discoveries over the next two days.    

 

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