UN Resident Coordinator Remarks on the United Nations Day

Remarks of UN Resident Coordinator Richard Dictus on the United Nations Day celebration in the Opera House in Cairo

24 October 2018 

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

 It is an honour to be here today with H.E. Ambassador Ihab Fawzi, Assistant Foreign Minister for Multilateral Affairs and International Security, to commemorate United Nations (UN) Day. UN Day 2018 marks the 73rd anniversary of the UN Charter’s entry into force and celebrates everything that the UN represents and has achieved since its establishment in 1945. The Preamble of the Charter lays out the UN’s core aims:

المنسق المقيم للأمم المتحدة في مصر ريشار ديكتوس يلقي كلمة خلال إحتفالية يوم الأمم المتحدة في دار الأوبرا في مصر من تنظيم وزارة الخارجية المصرية وأسرة الأمم المتحدة في مصر

Posted by ‎مركز الأمم المتحدة للإعلام في مصر – UNICairo‎ on Wednesday, October 24, 2018

WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED

  • to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
  • to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
  • to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
  • to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

AND FOR THESE ENDS

  • to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and
  • to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
  • to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
  • to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples,

Today is also a moment to look back at the partnership between Egypt and the United Nations. Egypt is a founding member of the United Nations, one of the major peace keeping contributing countries and has been a non-permanent member of the Security Council five times. Egypt is home to some 32 United Nations offices and can be considered as one of the organization’s major hubs.

This partnership has a long history of working together to solve multidimensional development challenges and one that highlights a united commitment to pave the way for a better life for all. It’s a personal honor to be serving the United Nations in its journey towards supporting peace, prosperity and justice for all communities and individuals and it’s a further honor to be doing so in Egypt, a proud contributor to the United Nations.

In a time of rapid change that is coupled with both challenges and opportunities, Egypt is at the forefront of utilizing its assets, such as its young women and men that are vibrant, resourceful and innovative; natural resources such as the rich agricultural lands of the Nile delta, and its heritage through its rich and sophisticated history. Egypt has made bold and necessary strides to revive its economy – with growth figures reaching 5.4 percent in 2018 – and expanding social cohesion, especially through its socio-economic reform programme and its social safety nets. The United Nations in Egypt has been supporting socio-economic reform and has been at the forefront of social protection measures, addressing the greatest inequalities in society in a reinvigorated partnership with Government and civil society.

The Sustainable Development Goals, the SDGs, adopted in 2015 by the Member States of the UN General Assembly, have offered a shared platform to develop a new generation of joint action. Egypt has been one of the early adopters of the SDGs through the national Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt’s Vision 2030 and has meanwhile submitted two National Voluntary Reviews to the UN High Level Political Forum to much international acclaim. The SDGs have also prompted a reform of the United Nations Development System to make sure that the United Nations breaks out of its silos and that we leverage the strengths and assets of the organization in a coordinated fashion. Egypt’s Vision 2030, which contextualizes the Global Goals to Egyptian social, environmental and economic challenges, enabled us to agree on a UN Partnership Development Framework (UNPDF) focused on prosperity, people, planet and women. This requires United Nations Agencies, Funds and Programmes to work together to provide integrated support in an unprecedented fashion.

We have agreed with the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation to now operationalize a new structure for continuous consultations – Co-Chaired between the Government of Egypt and the United Nations. This will not only enable a consistent alignment of United Nations support to national plans and priorities, but that can also serve as a mutual accountability mechanism. The limited resources of the United Nations need to be leveraged towards the highest impact possible – to accelerate SDG achievement and catalyze new thinking. Thus, the Government of Egypt and the United Nations will jointly develop a new generation of programmes and projects that address the interlinked nature of the SDGs, to achieve national impacts and enable significant investment in the future.

The United Nations and Egypt have the possibility to undertake a groundbreaking and trendsetting cooperation. Egypt being an early adopter of the SDGs, has rapidly developed a leadership role, especially through Egypt’s Vision 2030. Soon other countries that may be facing similar challenges as Egypt, may be coming to look for answers and, at that time, we want to be ready to show exemplary cooperation towards achieving the SDGs. We hope that the United Nations will continue to be one of Egypt’s key strategic partners in achieving its national goals.

Reflecting over the previous five years, 2013 to 2017, and the previous partnership framework, the United Nations and its national and international partners, alongside the Government of Egypt, accomplished many milestones in addressing national development priorities. In further reference to the figures previously shown, the UN and its partners directly reached the lives of more than 40 million people in Egypt. Moreover, more than 65 percent of the UN’s total interventions were concentrated in rural Upper and Lower Egypt where more than half of the population are below the national poverty line, highlighting the significance of leaving no-one behind.

I would like to personally thank all United Nations colleagues for their tireless efforts towards reaching a sustainable future in Egypt and for working toward ensuring that no-one is left behind. Had it not been for your work and consistent collaboration with national partners, we would not have been able to reach such figures and transformative change. And thank you to His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Affairs for being a strong partner of the United Nations.

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