UNDP's Haoliang Xu at Johns Hopkins SAIS | Global Goals in Asia-Pacific: Leave No One Behind

Oct 12, 2015

UNDP's Haoliang Xu presents insight into the future of development in Asia and the Pacific. | Photo Credit: UNDP Washington

Washington DC: Monday, October 5

Haoliang Xu – UN Assistant Secretary-General, and UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific – addressed approximately 60 people at Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He spoke about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, and its significance in Asia and the Pacific.

On September 25, the world welcomed the new Global Goals – a roadmap for achieving global sustainable development. As the development landscape continues to change within the region and around the world – and as new finance, technology, partnership, and agendas are introduced – Xu stressed that the new development era should “leave no one behind”.  

Although the region witnessed major achievements in development over the past 15 years (e.g. nearly all primary-aged children now complete school, and students at all levels of education benefit from gender parity), it is still faced with critical development issues. Economy sizes and rapid growth abound in some countries, but many Asia-Pacific countries are still far behind in per capita income. And two-thirds of the world’s deprived people live within the region – a region that is home to approximately 60 percent of the global development issues.

Xu highlighted these and other issues with a clear message in going forward: Economic growth and development must be inclusive, sustainable, and resilient. To achieve the new Global Goals, Xu reflected upon ways in which UNDP has worked with local and national governments on sustainable development, and outlined ways the Organization will continue to do so in the future within the region.

Regionally, UNDP has worked closely with local and national governments toward the achievement of – among other things – inclusive growth, environmental protection, resilience, and strengthened governance. For example, UNDP has supported elections in the region through voter registration of 173 million people since 2004. And since the India Ocean Tsunami, UNDP has worked closely with local and national governments on disaster risk management policies and practices in the Asia-Pacific region that include the development of early warning systems, creation of evacuation routes and the building of proper shelters.

Xu noted that UNDP strives to continue to help Asia and the Pacific to achieve as many of the Global Goals as possible in the next fifteen years by outlining the following priorities:

Mainstreaming and Policy Support
Integration of the Global Goals into national and local plans for development, and into budget allocations, will be crucial. UN agencies – including UNDP – will need to continue to export its skills and experience to support policy design and implementation.

Driving Innovation
Innovation is indispensable in development. New technology and platforms that UNDP provides and supports will accelerate development and growth. UNDP will continue to expand this initiative to drive growth and achieve sustainable development within the region.

Encouraging Co-Financing
The landscape of ‘traditional’ development financing is changing, with an increasing amount of domestic funding from host countries playing a key role in stimulating the development process. Within the region, UNDP will continue to partner with national and local governments to mobilize funds and implement sustainable development projects.

South-South Cooperation
South-South cooperation – collaboration among countries of the South in political, economic, social, cultural, environmental and technical areas – is a driving force of development in Asia and the Pacific. While aiming to achieve the Global Goals, UNDP will continue encouraging partnerships among Asia-Pacific countries and others.

Coordination
Coordination is key among the UN agencies, local and national governments working on the development agenda. For UNDP in Asia and the Pacific, coordination among these actors is a priority in order to advance the progress of the SDGs.

Though the achievement of all 17 Global Goals will be challenging, it will not be impossible. By UNDP continuing to work together with the local and national governments, and in conjunction with other development actors in the countries, together we can be the first generation to see a world without extreme levels of poverty.