United Nations Country Team Retreat 2018: “Together for higher impact”
Remarks by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SSAP-SDGs) Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, 4 July 2018, Eko Hotel, Lagos
- The UN Resident/Humanitarian coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, HE Edward Kallon
- Heads of UN Agencies here Present
- Dear UN Colleagues,
- Distinguished Ladies & Gentlemen
- I am very pleased to join you today at this very important event, the United Nations Country Team Annual Retreat. I wish to thank the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Edward Kallon the United Nations Country Team for inviting and giving me the honor to make a few remarks on behalf of the Government of Nigeria on the Sustainable Development Goals status. I bring greetings to you, our valued partners from Mr President, His Excellency President Mohammadu Buhari and to thank you for your efforts, support and assistance.
- As your aware, The 2030 Agenda commits stakeholders to work together to promote sustained and inclusive economic growth, social development and environmental protection while ‘leaving no one behind’. The scale and ambition of this new agenda calls for an integrated approach to sustainable development and collective action at all levels. That means smarter partnerships, bringing together governments, civil society, the private sector, the development partners and other stakeholders; and collective mobilizing all available resources for both public and private investments.
- It’s worth repeating. The 2030 Agenda and its 17 interlinked Goals, cannot be achieved without the active participation and partnerships of all sectors of society. The United Nations is one of our indispensable partners. You are at the frontline of action and indeed, you are strongly making a case for the SDGs in our dear country, Nigeria. I am delighted to note that your 2018-2022 United Nations Development Assistance Framework emphasizes the importance of partnerships and brands it the UN Sustainable Development Partnership Framework. It highlights your commitment to work in partnership with us to contribute to the achievement of the development goals and aspirations of Nigeria.
- But while partnerships are essential – we have learned that collaboration is not always easy. I believe that while our partnership in Nigeria is strong; definitely, there are always areas where we can improve. I will therefore ask you to please allow me to take this opportunity to share some ideas on areas where our partnership could improve.
- First, as a truly global organization, the United Nations brings a universal presence, as well as experience and expertise gleaned over the years in diverse development contexts. As such, the UN is uniquely placed to understand what has worked and what has not and identify good practices. This knowledge generation, management and innovations could be better used as building blocks to accelerate action towards the SDGs implementation in Nigeria.
- Second, the United Nations has an unmatched convening power that could be used to unite people, bridge divides and bring partners together to work through more collective efforts. This convening role could be better used to enhance collaboration; support partnerships between diverse stakeholders, and strengthen collective efforts for the 2030 Agenda.
- Third, building resilience must be at the heart of sustainable development. In our immediate response to areas struck by humanitarian crisis, the United Nations should work together with our Government to make best use of our local skills, institutions and resources to make communities stronger and more resilient for the future to advance on the sustainable development path.
- Last but not least, the SDGs attainment depends on monitoring and evaluation. Our focus is on delivering results that impact positively on our citizens. This must be backed by a rigorous measuring, monitoring and evaluation system. We must ensure that all stakeholders at national and sub-national levels participate actively and that the different Monitoring and Evaluation systems are consolidated and harmonized. This requires an improvement in data collection and joint, timely and accurate reporting.
- With these four areas, the UN system must work as One to provide effective support to Government and avoid “Agency focus and SDGs goals selection because the 17 goals are indivisible.
Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen,
- The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the centerpiece of the current development agenda in Nigeria. We find it of outmost importance that Nigeria continues to be at the forefront of implementation even as the global community rolls out the SDGs.
- In an effort to domesticate, integrate and mainstream the new Agenda, my Office is working in partnership with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning to integrate the SDGs into the medium and long-term National Development plans for effective planning, adequate budgeting and overall successful implementation across the nation. We partnered with the National Bureau of Statistics and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and conducted a mapping exercise of existing SDGs related data and established baseline data which will be useful in benchmarking SDGs progress.
- The SDGs Office has undertaken a number of activities to provide strategic direction and impetus to the national commitment on the SDGs. These include but are not limited to:
- Development and Dissemination of the MDGs End-Point Report in collaboration with the UNDP, DFID, MDAs and other stakeholders;
- Development of the Country Transition Strategy to the SDGs;
- Development of Action Plan to guide SDGs implementation;
- Rollout of SDGs Needs Assessment and Costing Exercise in partnership with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, the MDAs as well as the UNDP;
- Data Mapping and Determination of 126 Baseline SDGs Indicators to benchmark progress through partnership with the National Bureau of Statistics;
- Partnership Agreement with UNDP to mainstream the SDGs at subnational levels;
- Establishment of institutional mechanisms such as the Presidential Council on SDGs, SDGs Committees in both chambers of the National Assembly, Inter-Ministerial Committee for MDAs coordination and a subnational partnership framework through the Conditional Grants Scheme; and
- Multi-Stakeholder engagement mechanisms such as the Private Sector Advisory Group, Donors’ Partnership Forum on SDGs, Civil Society Strategy Group on SDGs, amongst others.
- Mobilization of influencers such as SDGs Ambassadors and SDGs Champions for SDGs advocacy.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The 2030 Agenda starts with 5 Ps and I want to conclude my remarks by reiterating them.
The SDGs are about People. The SDGs are about Planet. The SDGs are about Prosperity. The SDGs are about Peace. The SDGs are about Partnership.
- Distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen, in order to address the expectation of Mr. President 0n positive reporting of the achievement of the SDGs in Nigeria, I wish to appeal to all UN Agencies in Nigeria to focus on all the sectors but with an objective that target the achievement of specific indicator(s). This therefore requires complementing the effort office of the SSAP- SDGs on domestication of SDGs across sectors at the national and subnational levels of Government. It is my pleasure to inform you that my office is already coordinating the report for Mr President on specific supports by the UN Organisations in Nigeria to achieving the SDGs within the next four years that the Uinted Nations Sustainable Development Partnership Framework will be implemented.
- Finally, I wish to assure all agencies within the UN system in Nigeria that any project/programme targeted at achieving key SDGs indicators will be acknowledged by the Government both locally and internationally.
- Let us therefore work together to make real progress as we consolidate on our development vision, moving towards the ambitious goals that we have set for ourselves.
I wish you all an engaging and successful Retreat in Lagos. I Thank you All.
Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire,
Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs