Statement by Ambassador Masood Khan, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations at UNDP Segment of the 2014 First Regular Session of the Executive Board of UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS (27 January 2014)

Mr. President,

I congratulate you and other members of the Bureau on your election and express appreciation for the work done by the outgoing President and Bureau members.

We thank the Administrator for sharing with us a comprehensive overview of the current international milieu in which we will craft a post-2015 development agenda.

We note the efforts that have been made to align the UNDPís institutional framework with the Strategic Plan. Only a dynamic organization capable of adjusting itself to current and emerging challenges can effectively play a role in transforming lives of people on the ground. The UNDP is one such organization. We commend the Administrator for her compelling and comprehensive report on the substantial and concrete contribution made by the UNDP to promote gender equality and women's empowerment in 2013.

Pakistan associates itself with the statement made by Bolivia on behalf of G-77 and China.

This year is an important year, a year in which we will take decisions to negotiate a transition form MDGs to an inclusive agenda for sustainable development till 2030. This agenda will be much more ambitious; but one on which we must succeed. As we develop our agenda, extreme poverty stalks the earth, people are losing jobs, many parts of the globe are riven by conflict, inequalities are increasing, and our ecosystem is wracked by disasters and extreme patterns of climate change.

Of course, this is not the whole story. Since the year 2000, when MDGs were launched, poverty has been reduced and there has been progress on other goals. But this progress has been uneven because many of the developing countries, and even some developed countries, have become much more fragile - economically, socially and environmentally.

This requires foresight and bold actions. Poverty, conflicts, disasters and stagnation in economies - all these demons - do not strike separately. We should also not operate in silos. For effective responses to these challenges, we should develop holistic strategies and action plans.

Mr. President,

As we go deeper into our deliberations to elaborate a post-2015 development agenda, we have to put gender equality and women's empowerment at the very center of our discourse, because this is a cross-cutting theme that impinges on our goals for eradication of poverty, sustainable development, peace and security, good governance, rule of law and protection of human rights.

In this context, the UN organizations' efforts to realize the goal of gender equality must continue to be made in sync with national priorities. As we know, women often face situations which enhance their vulnerability. The UNDP has a critical role in the economic and political empowerment of women. The UNDP, along with UN Women and ILO, should deepen its engagement with national governments to enhance livelihoods and job creation opportunities for women in developing countries.

It is an established fact that women in many countries continue to bear the brunt of poverty, violence, disease, conflicts, disasters and climate change. To rectify this situation, the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) must give due importance to gender equality. Women must sit at the tables where decisions are made on development, climate change and peace.

Turning to other points on the agenda, I would make the following points:

First, over the years, the UNDP has captured significant knowledge on good practices and solutions that respond to different and complex development challenges. This knowledge must be managed more efficiently and made available to programme countries in useable formats that are adaptable to their specific local contexts.

Second, to enhance the success of its global and regional programmes, the UNDP needs to cooperate closely and more effectively with regional mechanisms. In case of Pakistan, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) are the most relevant regional organizations. We call on the UNDP to collaborate more closely with SAARC countries on infrastructure development, energy, trade corridors, cross-border collaborative frameworks for disaster risk reduction and climate change.

Third, combating climate challenge and disaster risks as well as disaster preparedness are part of both global and regional programmes. The Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will be held in early 2015. The UNDP has a lead role in making that conference successful. In this regard, a review of the existing institutional development and collation and consolidation of data on the experience of risk-prone countries like Pakistan, in collaboration with national agencies, will be a valuable input to the Conference.

Fourth, South-South and Triangular Cooperation offers a unique opportunity for development cooperation. We hope the new Strategic Framework will enable the Office for South-South Cooperation to deliver on its mandate with full support of the UN Development System.

Fifth, the proposal for modifications to the procedures for consideration and approval of UNDP country programme documents is useful. We will work with Board members to ensure that the modifications not only increase efficiency but enhance the national ownership of these documents.

Sixth, we look forward to the review of the implementation of the UNDP Strategic Plan that we approved last September. We are particularly keen on understanding how the existing plan would impact institutional framework. In addition, we would welcome engagement on how the strategic plan is being translated at the national level in boosting capacities for growth and poverty eradication required for the transformational change.

Mr. President,

Pakistan has a long standing relationship with UNDP. We value its contribution to our development efforts.

Last week, we were pleased to receive in Pakistan Mr. Xu Haoliang, Assistant Administrator and Director Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific.We fully support his efforts to further the UNDP partnership with Pakistan.

Pakistan is a resilient nation of 180 million people. Economic prosperity of the people of Pakistan is the principal priority of the government of Pakistan under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The government has embarked upon an ambitious economic development programme to alleviate poverty and create new jobs, build conducive and safe environment for trade and investment, and address severe energy deficits in the country. We support regional projects that would establish transportation, trade, and energy corridors that would link up East, South, Central, and South-West Asia.

Pakistan is promoting maximum participation of women, as agents of change, in national development and their social, political and economic empowerment. Pakistan has one on the largest youth bulges in the world, with some sixty three per cent of its population under the age of 25. This month, the Prime Minister has launched a Youth Business Loans programme for young entrepreneurs to address unemployment. This will also stimulate small businesses and industry.

We know that in our development endeavour, we have a long way to go.

Mr. President,

We consider UNDP an important partner in our development endeavor and look forward to further strengthening our collaboration with the organization.

I thank you.