New Report ‘Transitioning from the MDGs to the SDGs’ Calls for Collaboration to ‘Deliver as One’

November 10, 2016

New York, November 10 — UNDP and the World Bank Group released its new report “Transitioning from the MDGs to the SDGs” today, coinciding with the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination's (CEB) Second Regular Session of 2016. The session brings together United Nations System Principals to enhance UN system-wide coherence and coordination on a broad range of issues of global concern. The launch of the report is timely as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has set the vision for the next 14 years of global action.

“The 2030 Agenda is recognized as a transformative, universal and integrated agenda. Implementation should not create 17 new silos around the Sustainable Development Goals,” recommends the new report.

The report pulls together the main lessons from the Millennium Development Goals Reviews by the UN System and World Bank Group for their engagement at the country level. These reviews took place at meetings of the UN CEB from 2013 to 2015.

According to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the CEB Reviews were “unprecedented – a truly integrated system-wide endeavour, championed jointly by World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and United Nations Development Programme Administrator Helen Clark”.

The report concludes, “it is time to more systematically consider the ‘how’ of the integration at the country level and draw on the comparative advantages of the UN system’s diverse areas of expertise, how to work collaboratively and deliver together, and how to work on the continuum from the normative to the operational as a comprehensive and coherent UN effort.”

UNDP Administrator Helen Clark stated, “To leave no one behind, strong engagement with local communities and civil society is required. This should include investments in the empowerment of women and girls, sustainable energy for all, and the sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity.” She further added, “Achieving sustainable development is helped by having humanitarian and development actors working closely together.”

“The World Bank Group and the United Nations have a shared vision of a world free of extreme poverty by 2030,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “To meet our ambitious goals, World Bank Group and UN staff must collaborate effectively with our country partners, use our comparative advantages, and remove bottlenecks that impede delivery. This report has shown that, together, we can achieve better results for people and the planet.”

The MDG acceleration exercise not only delivered results on the MDG targets, it also provided lessons that are directly applicable to our work on the Sustainable Development Goals and the World Bank Group’s own twin goals to end poverty and boost shared prosperity. We know that to achieve those ambitious and interrelated targets at scale, World Bank Group and UN staff have to be flexible, share knowledge, and focus on measurable results,” stated Mahmoud Mohieldin, World Bank Group Senior Vice President for the 2030 Development Agenda, United Nations Relations, and Partnerships.

The CEB reviews were the highest level of analysis the United Nation’s leadership devoted to advocating the need to work across silos, and work across the Millennium Development Goals to tackle off-track MDG targets, with an implicit aim to learn lessons for what was to come: a more integrated sustainable development horizon called the SDGs. There is a shared understanding that investing in solutions within a sector was often not sufficient to meet a particular MDG target,” said Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UN Assistant Secretary General and Director of UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support.

Simona Petrova, Acting Secretary of the CEB and Director of the CEB Secretariat, United Nations recalled, “the MDG Reviews showed that significant development gains were possible when the UN system really came together in support of countries. A hallmark of the Reviews was the high level of coordination and cooperation between the UN Country Teams and the World Bank Group offices. To help meet the ambition of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, achieving this degree of collaboration ought to be the goal in all countries from the very beginning of the SDG implementation period.”

The new report draws attention to the three main conclusions that need to be applied to the transition to the 2030 Agenda, such as: a) Support cross-institutional collaboration between the UN and the World Bank Group; b) Advance better understanding of cross-sectoral work, and the interrelatedness of goals and targets; and c) Promote global and high-level advocacy.

The report discusses 16 countries and the Pacific Island sub-region— an exercise that brought together the UN and the World Bank Group, which systemically identified the country situation, the bottlenecks to attainment of the MDGs, and potential solutions to be implemented. Since many MDGs have been absorbed into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), many of the observations and solutions provided are expected to prove useful to implementation of the SDGs.

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