Christine Evans-Klock, 24 October 2018, Accra: Message for 2018 UN Day
Thank you for being here this morning to participate in this celebration of UN Day.
Thank you for your continued support for the aspirations embodied in the UN Charter.
The UN partners with the Government of Ghana, with civil society, and with the private sector for sustainable economic, social and environmental development, peace and democracy, and human rights.
In June this year, the Government of Ghana and the United Nations in Ghana jointly signed the UN Sustainable Development Partnership (UNSDP), a 5-year framework to guide the UN’s support to national development efforts through 2022.
The Partnership framework aligns with the Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies, 2017-2024 (CPESDP), which sets out a vision for agricultural modernisation, industrial diversification, and youth employment. This vision for national development incorporates Ghana’s global development commitments, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an ambitious, global and unified agenda for social, economic and environmental development, translated into concrete and measurable results through its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
It commits UN Member States to complete the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals on poverty, health, and education, and to meet higher aspirations to reduce social and gender inequalities, boost economic and environmental development, strengthen national institutions for peace and security, and reinforce international partnerships on trade, development, corruption and climate change.
The UN’s partnership for 2018-2022 sets out four strategic Results Areas that closely align to the five components of the 2030 Agenda: Prosperity, People, Planet, Peace, and Partnerships:
- Results Area One, Shared prosperous economy, promotes productive agriculture to drive sustainable industrialisation, ensure a hunger- and malnutrition-free nation and generate decent jobs that expand opportunities for inclusive economic growth.
- Results Area Two, Social investment in people, supports Government capabilities to deliver equitable, quality and financially-sustainable social services in education, health and social protection, especially to vulnerable groups.
- Results Area Three, Protected and safe environment, promotes effective and coherent environmental governance at national and local levels and seeks to build up the resilience of both urban and rural communities.
- And Results Area Four, Inclusive, accountable governance, strengthens the transparency and accountability of institutions at all levels that protect the rights of all Ghanaians.
Within these Results Areas, UN actions will help achieve cross-cutting priorities that reflect UN values on human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment, data for development, HIV/AIDS, resilience and preparedness for humanitarian crises, and youth development.
The partnership framework reflects broad consultations, not only with Ministries on priorities for UN partnership, but with representatives of civil society and think tanks on governance and development issues, and with representatives of NGOs on human rights issues. They raised concerns about who is at risk of being left behind because of gender inequality, because of discrimination and violence on the basis of sexual orientation, because of lack of access to legal aid and of overcrowding in prisons, because of lack of protection due to status as refugees or migrants or statelessness, because of lack of quality health care treatment for mental illness and addiction, because of discrimination on the basis of disability or HIV/AIDS status, and because of environmental degradation.
The entire framework is designed to support Ghana’s national development strategy that private sector-led growth be inclusive and equitable growth – that it leave no one behind.
The partnership framework sets out the collective contributions of 24 UN Agencies working in Ghana. It will be implemented through annual joint work plans agreed with Government Ministries and Agencies and carried out with many implementing partners in government, civil society, and academia.
Monitoring and guidance for UNSDP implementation will be the responsibility of the High Level Ministerial Committee for the SDGs established by HE President Akufo-Addo in September last year. This will anchor UN work firmly in national strategies to achieve the SDGs.
The title for the UN programme for Ghana, UN Sustainable Development Partnership, reflects two commitments. First, it rightly signifies the nature of the work of the UN as partnership with the Government and people of Ghana rather than as provision of assistance or aid, which is appropriate for Ghana as a rising Middle-Income Country with a strong vision for self-reliant development.
Second, it focuses UN interventions on the shared commitment to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. It is guided by the underlying principles of the SDGs to leave no one behind, to improve equity by meeting first the needs of those who are furthest behind, to promote gender equality, and to ensure access to justice for all.
Through this partnership, the collective strength of the UN in Ghana will pilot projects to demonstrate new approaches to entrenched development challenges and inequalities; cooperate in extending essential public services to underserved social groups and locations; advise on the statistical foundation, design and practical implementation of policies and programmes; strengthen the institutions of democracy, justice and accountability; and facilitate knowledge sharing across countries.
The strength of national institutions and electoral processes in Ghana maintains expectations for transparent and accountable governance. This presents enormous potential for protecting basic human rights, driving inclusive economic development, and achieving the SDGs. The collective partnership of the United Nations in Ghana will continue to focus on realising this potential.
Ghana’s success in mobilising domestic resources to invest in development depends on success in combatting corruption. The willingness of businesses and households to pay their share depends on perception of fairness in terms of who pays taxes and in terms of who has access to quality public services the taxes are supposed to pay for.
This success also depends on perception of the effectiveness of public policies and programmes to meet daily needs for jobs, sanitation, health care, education, housing, and transportation. The design and adoption of policies in these key areas is notable, and so the focus going forward must be to ensure their sufficient funding and public accountability for their implementation and impact.
On this year’s celebration of UN Day, we are reminded of the commitment of the Member States and of the Secretariat to continue to improve the UN, in terms of its impact and efficiency.
In May this year the UN General Assembly adopted a Resolution on Repositioning the UN Development System to make it more fit for the purpose of helping member States achieve the SDGs. The reforms aim to improve governance and accountability of UN work at the country level, to adapt UN modalities to country circumstances, to strengthen joint programming across UN Agencies at the country level in support of the 2030 Agenda, and to reduce operational costs through more harmonised practices and common premises.
These reforms underscore the mandate of UN Country Teams to continue to take a human-rights up front approach in their support to achieve the SDGs.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to thank Ghana for its leadership in the United Nations. I am grateful to HE President Akuffo-Addo for agreeing to continue to co-Chair the Secretary-General’s Group of Eminent Advocates for the SDGs for another two-year term. This position helps drive Ghana’s leadership across Africa and the world. It also makes Ghana’s efforts more visible, as it continues to be accountable to citizens for the tangible difference the SDGs make in their lives.
On behalf of the UN, I would like once again to express appreciation for Ghana’s continuing contributions to UN Peacekeeping Operations. The men and women in uniform from military, police, prison and immigration services are making a difference in UN peacekeeping operations in many troubled places throughout the world. And the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Training Center is helping to prepare uniformed personnel from Ghana and the West Africa region for this important mission.
Last month, we gave thanks for the life of service and impact of former UN Secretary-General, and son of Ghana, Mr Kofi Annan, and we mourned his passing in a beautiful and meaningful State funeral. In his tribute on that occasion, Secretary-General António Guterres quoted these words from Kofi Annan: “You know what to do: Take care of each other. Take care of our planet. Recognize the humanity in all people. And support the United Nations -- the place where we can all come together to solve problems and build a better future for all.”
As UN staff, we take courage and inspiration from Mr. Annan’s example, from his standards for human rights and peace, and from his insistence on respecting the dignity of all persons.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In closing this morning, I would like to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and the Planning Committee for having organised this commemoration of UN Day. Today marks my last participation in a flag-raising event, my 8th over the last four years – counting UN Days and International Days of UN Peacekeepers.
It has been a great honour to represent the Heads of the UN Agencies and the more than 800 dedicated and experienced UN staff in Ghana on these special occasions.
These commemorations reflect the importance of the UN to the nation and the people of Ghana and their commitment to live up to the ideals of the UN Charter, and they will be among my special memories as I prepare to complete my assignment as representative of the Secretary-General in Ghana at the end of this year.
And so I particularly appreciate the honour this morning of sharing with you Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for UN Day 2018, and I quote:
The Secretary-General’s message on United Nations Day, 2018:
“United Nations Day marks the birthday of our founding Charter – the landmark document that embodies the hopes, dreams and aspirations of “we the peoples”.
“Every day, the women and men of the United Nations work to give practical meaning to that Charter.
“Despite the odds and the obstacles, we never give up.
“Extreme poverty is being reduced but we see inequality growing.
“Yet we don’t give up because we know by reducing inequality we increase hope and opportunity and peace around the world.
“Climate change is moving faster than we are, but we don’t give up because we know that climate action is the only path.
“Human rights are being violated in so many places. But we don’t give up because we know respect for human rights and human dignity is a basic condition for peace.
“Conflicts are multiplying - people are suffering. But we don’t give up because we know every man, woman and child deserves a life of peace.
“On United Nations Day, let us reaffirm our commitment.
To repair broken trust.
To heal our planet.
To leave no one behind.
To uphold dignity for one and all, as united nations.”