/United Nations/ UNDP Administrator Affirms to QNA Importance of Qatar’s Role in Maintaining Peace and Resolving Conflicts

HE Administrator of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Achim Steiner stressed the importance of the State of Qatar’s role in peacekeeping, conflict resolution, mediation, and developing new cooperative relations, highlighting Qatar’s commitment to development and humanitarian responses to crises.

Speaking to Qatar News Agency , the Administrator of UNDP said HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s participation in the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly is a very strong signal of the support that the State of Qatar provides to the United Nations, its centrality in international relations and the rule of law, and its ability to also support countries through reaching agreements to address issues that perhaps in the past may have seemed secondary, but became very central today, especially responses to epidemics, emergencies, economic transformations, and reform of the international financial architecture.

He pointed out that the cooperation between the UNDP and the State of Qatar is increasing, especially in aspects related to women, peacekeeping, and women in conflict situations. He said, “we have developed partnerships with different ministries, and we have initiated some very significant global partnerships, particularly the accelerator labs today present in almost 100 countries, and without the partnership between UNDP, Qatar and Germany as the third partner, that would not have happened.” Steiner added, “we are an institution that is today working in 170 countries. We have over 22,000 colleagues and staff that are working in those countries and we have thousands of projects that we work with countries to implement. That is a tremendous resource that I think also the State of Qatar views as very relevant to its own strategic objectives.” He explained that the State of Qatar and UNDP’s partnership have been characterized by proactivity and objectivity in regard to development issues or specific initiatives,
pointing out, “for instance, Qatar investing in the accelerator labs, which have become a very significant partnership between UNDP, the State of Qatar, Germany and others. But also, UNDP has established a presence in Doha. We are collaborating both with government ministries, but also with some of the academic institutions that are now in the State of Qatar, and that I think provides us with significant potential and opportunities for the future.” Regarding the amount of annual support that Qatar provides to the Programme, HE Achim Steiner said, this support “falls into different categories,” noting that Qatar became a core contributor to UNDP, which obviously was a very significant development because an institution like the United Nations Development Programme is funded in two ways: member states contributing financing that allows the institution to have the presence in 135 to 140 countries, which provides the Programme with capacity and efficiency.

About the contribution of the United Nations House in Doha to promoting the Programme’s projects in Qatar and abroad, Achim Steiner said that “the opening of the UN House in Doha was actually officiated during the Secretary General’s last visit to Doha. I think everybody realized during that opening ceremony what a tremendous opportunity Qatar has created for the United Nations family. That UN House has become the platform for quite a number of agents.” He added that for the UNDP, the UN House in Doha is “both a practical and a policy opportunity. Practical because it gives us the possibility of housing our staff and our experts in Doha in an optimal working environment, and it has allowed us to deepen the cooperation between different parts of the State of Qatar and institutions that are also operating out of Doha. So very practical, but also very promising in terms of future cooperation.” He pointed out that the UNDP is about to complete negotiation on the new MOU that will allow them to extend the partners
hip between the two sides for the next two to three years, stressing the commitment to build on the initiatives that were developed in the last couple of years, amongst them the accelerator labs, in addition to the work in Afghanistan and some other places.

He emphasized the importance of cooperation between the two sides to provide investment opportunities for the State of Qatar and the Qatar Fund for Development, whether in terms of concessional finance, or in terms of grant finance, as in Africa where Qatar is intensifying its participation in partnership with the UNDP, adding “I think we see a lot of potential there, whether it is in sustainable finance, or in digital and energy transitions.” Regarding cooperation in Afghanistan, the Administrator of United Nations Development Programme told QNA that the State of Qatar was present from a very early time when UNDP proposed that as a development organization, we could not turn our back on Afghan citizens when many had to leave and suspended their programs. UNDP, as part of the UN family, committed to staying in Afghanistan, obviously changing the way it works, focusing on essentially beyond saving lives to saving livelihoods, he explained.

He added that the State of Qatar is one of the first financiers and contributors to the ABADEI programme, noting that the Qatar Fund for Development provided a contribution of $5 million to the United Nations Trust Fund for Afghanistan to support the region-based approach to development emergency initiatives led by the UNDP in Afghanistan, with the aim of restoring access to basic and necessary services.

He expressed his hope that Qatar will continue to view this partnership as one that focuses on the needs of the Afghan people, as well as on the strength that Qatar can bring to actually facilitating UNDP’s engagement at this moment there.

Regarding the widening development gaps in the Arab region, HE Administrator of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Achim Steiner said that despite some extraordinary development successes, improvements in living conditions, governance, health and education indicators, we have in certain parts of the region catastrophic setbacks, pointing out that over the last eight years of conflict, Yemen has lost according to UNDP’s reports and analysis, 20 to 25 years of its development gains.

He added that there are a lot of suffering, so the ongoing conflict there has had a tremendous impact not only on people in terms of their ability to survive, but also in terms of the development gains that it had achieved.

He also noted that Libya is another country still caught in conflict, which is an ongoing challenge according to the UNDP’s definition of the region, stating that we see again conflict causing enormous harm. I think our ability, as the United Nations family of humanitarians, as well as UNDP in the development side, to help people cope with these enormously painful disruptions has been critical to avoiding even more harm, he said, stressing that peace is always a precondition for successful development, so, we must continue to focus on peacemaking, sustaining development and protecting assets.

In his interview with QNA, the Administrator of United Nations Development Programme spoke about the call made by the Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals, saying, “I think many today talk in terms of the failure to achieve the indicators and targets that the world agreed upon in 2015 when it adopted the SDGs. I think my point would always be when we adopted those SDGs, we did not expect a global pandemic to hit us. We did not expect to find ourselves in the year 2023 with more wars, civil wars and conflicts than we have seen for decades happening around the world. We have a major financial and debt crisis unfolding for many developing countries. Their ability to even pay the interest on their debt is now forcing them to cut their education and health budgets.”

He stressed the SDGs are in fact a common and shared agenda on how to move forward, explaining, “I think it is important that we remind ourselves the pandemic, the increase in poverty and inequality, the setbacks we have through conflicts. All of these are in fact what the SDG’s are meant to avoid in the future, so they are still as relevant as ever, even if the indicators and targets are not very good news right now.”

Regarding development financing, Steiner said that wealthier countries are able to recover from these shocks faster, while poorer countries are recovering much more slowly or not at all, noting a divergence in the economic pathways that ultimately will create more political tension.

He emphasized the need to deescalate tensions and conflicts that set the world into a mode of competing with one another rather than cooperating with one another, adding that “part of what we see in the year 2023 is the inability of countries to come together to solve problems and as a result of that, every citizen on the planet is suffering more.”

He also explained that the implementation of the SDG is ultimately a responsibility of every country, pointing out that during the pandemic, countries did some miraculous things when it came to inclusion, from social safety nets to digitalization, attributing the increase in investment in renewable energy and clean energy infrastructure to the fact that energy security has become a driver of investments.

He stated that the SDGs remain in many ways the only agenda on which every country has agreed upon because they represent the major challenges in the world, noting that UNDP has also developed a series of inside reports for SDGs with 95 countries, which tell the story of where a country lost momentum as a result of crisis and how it is now trying to recover it.

He pointed out that from the national perspective, the SDGs are a global agreement, but in reality they become most relevant when a country translates them into national development priorities. This is UNDP’s number one priority, he said, highlighting the Programme’s role in helping countries find the right political options and then partnerships to recover the SDG momentum.

HE Administrator of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Achim Steiner concluded his statement to QNA by saying that “despite some of the criticism, and despite some of the frustrations with the United Nations, there is no other organization where every country that is a member state has a seat in the General Assembly hall; it has a right to speak, and a right to be heard. And that is why you will see the extraordinary number of leaders coming together in a couple of weeks here in New York. Because it is here that the world gathers to talk to each other or find a better way to resolve conflicts than going to war or to fight. And secondly, to forge an agenda of solidarity. I think people should not underestimate how important it is to have a place in the world where, despite all your differences, we are reminded that we are one planet, one human family, and we will not succeed in this century if we do not find ways to collaborate and cooperate.”

Source: Qatar News Agency

Recent post's