UNDAF Joint Annual Review meeting, 11 May 2017 Opening Remarks by Dr. Pratibha Mehta UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative

May 11, 2017

Dear Mr. Davlatzod, Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade,

Distinguished Deputy Ministers, Government partners

Civil society organizations

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to warmly welcome you all on behalf of the United Nations in Tajikistan to this first Joint review of UNDAF results.

It is worth highlighting that we are starting this new practice when Tajikistan is  celebrating  25th anniversary of its membership in the United Nations and 20th anniversary of the Peace Accord.   All through this period, UN system has been a trusted partner of the Government and people of Tajikistan, first supporting the national efforts in the post conflict reconstruction process and, now in advancing the socio-economic development of the country. It is highly commendable that despite a devastating civil war, which ended just few years before the adoption of the MDG agenda in 2000, Tajikistan made impressive progress on MDGs and achieving poverty reduction and literacy targets.  During the 15 years of MDG period, UN aligned its assistance to support implementation of MDGs and other inter-government commitments made by Tajikistan, including the GA resolution led by Tajikistan on International Decade of actions “Water for life” 2005-2015.

 The UN is now committed to supporting the country in achieving the ambitious human rights based SDG 2030 agenda, including the unfinished MDGs and ensure that no one is left behind. We would like to commend the Government for becoming one of the first countries in the region to nationalize SDGs in the NDS as well as for starting to prepare a road map to implement and monitor SDGs and  to volunteer to present national review of SDGs progress in the High Level Political Forum in July in New York.

 The UNDAF is aligned with the national priorities and was jointly signed by the Prime Minister and the UN Agencies in December 2015. It serves as a common framework for 15 UN Agencies, resident and non-resident, to support implementation of NDS/MTDP and the SDGs through six outcome areas where UN has a comparative advantage over other development partners.  

Additionally, UN and the Government, the  Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, agreed to undertake annual joint review of results. I am very pleased to note such a good turnout from our partner Line Ministries and NGOs and would like to thank the MEDT, in particular, the Minister, for organizing this meeting. 

2016 was the first year of UNDAF implementation and despite some challenges UN delivered 83% of USD 54 Million programmed budget and contributed to strengthen rule of law, create livelihoods in remote areas; improve food security, nutrition status, particularly of children, access to health and education; disaster risk reduction and empowerment of women and marginalized groups by either providing direct assistance to targeted groups; by bringing best technical expertise to support formulation of new policies and national strategies in line with the international standards as well as by promoting knowledge sharing of global best practices.

 You will soon hear the key results of the first year of UNDAF implementation.  But let me highlight few things.

 In line with the UNDAF principle of using human rights based approach for assistance, all UN support in 2016 was targeted to increase access, opportunities and participation of poor, vulnerable and marginalized men, women and children, either through direct assistance to them or through technical advice for human rights based policies and strategies. However, in absence of data on vulnerable population, it is difficult to plan and target resources to the most in need. A nation-wide mapping of vulnerable population can serve as a bench mark not only for UNDAF, but more importantly for better targeted implementation and monitoring of NDS/SDGs to ensure that no one is left behind.  UN stand ready to support a nation- wide vulnerability analysis and mapping. 

This is the first time that the UN Agencies in Tajikistan have come together and produced a one UN results report, our ambition was to demonstrate UN contribution to NDS/MTDP/SDG implementation, but, in absence of NDS M&E framework we couldn’t do so. Government plan to establish M&E system for SDGs will help in UNDAF alignment with national indicators and future results reporting.        In 2016, Tajikistan faced number of external and internal challenges such as financial crisis, heaviest snow fall in over 50 years, etc. which once again highlighted Tajikistan’s economic, limatic and environmental vulnerabilities as well as boarder related challenges. Risk reduction and management is one of the key priorities of the UNDAF. In 2016, UN provided considerable assistance for contingency planning, mitigating and managing risks.  But at times, multiplicity of responsibility challenged us in identifying right institution and interlocuter to engage with. SDG framework also recognizes risk informed governance framework crucial for sustained progress and it is extremely relevant in Tajikistan context. We stand ready to work together with designated responsible government authority to strengthen risk informed governance, planning and response, which will go a long way in achieving sustainable development.  

Given that all development challenges and SDGs require multi-disciplinary approach, UN established 6 Inter- Agency Results Groups to implement UNDAF and achieve cross- sectoral results, drawing on  unique mandates of various UN Agencies and where possible, to provide joint support such as for food security and nutrition, social cohesion, rule of law, civil registration, etc. However, lack of proper inter- ministerial coordination mechanism posed challenges for UN joint programming and achieving cross-sectoral results. Within the framework of SDG, we propose establishment of a high -level inter-ministerial SDG coordination mechanism which in additional to promoting integrated development could also help government to direct UN and other development partners assistance.
The total budget of UNDAF in five years in $ 363 Million from core and non - core resources. About 1/3rd budget is still needed and UN is committed to making all efforts to mobilize resources. However, experience show that timely delivery and effective results are extremely important in building confidence and interest of donors.  While 2016 was the first year of UNDAF implementation and a lot of progress was made but more could have been done but we faced some new procedures and operational challenges.  UN’s ability to fly in top expertise in the country to help government in timely manner, our ability to monitor progress in the field, to build capacity through workshops and knowledge sharing is extremely important for implementing on our joint cooperation and commitment.  As a trusted partner of Government of Tajikistan for 25 years, people centered sustainable development in Tajikistan is the only goal of UN Country Team and we are ready to cooperate to help expedite approval process to achieve even more effective results.           

In conclusion, on behalf of the UN system in Tajikistan, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the national and local government,  civil society, donors and people of Tajikistan for their collaboration in UNDAF implementation and we look forward to hearing your comments on the results of 2016 and to our further productive cooperation.

Thank you!

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