UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Dr. Catherine Sozi at the signing of the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2020-2025

Ethiopia is at a critical juncture, undergoing political, economic and demographic transitions that are structural in nature.

Good afternoon

Your Excellency Ato Ahmed Shide, Minister of Finance

Your Excellency Ms.Yasmin Wohabrebbi, State Minister of Finance

Excellencies and colleagues in the UN system and Development Partners who are joining us virtually today,

I am pleased to be here today to sign the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, for 2020-2025, on behalf of the UNCT in Ethiopia, together with you, Your Excellency.

The Cooperation Framework is one of the cornerstones of the UN development system reform process, initiated by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Gutierrez. The reform is about making the UN fit for purpose to deliver on Agenda 2030 – the boldest and most ambitious agenda ever adopted to try to eradicate poverty in the world. Its ambitions are high; its urgency is great; and its timeline is short. For this agenda, we have less than 10 years to deliver on the promises made.

Within the reform, the Cooperation Framework has been placed as the most important instrument for planning and implementation of the UN development support to help countries accelerate progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

It represents the renewed commitment of the UN to support Ethiopia’s development priorities and contribute to the achievement of the SDGs in the country in an integrated manner, with a commitment to leave no one behind, in particular the most marginalized and vulnerable, respecting human rights and other international standards and obligations.

Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, colleagues

Today’s signing comes at a momentous time. Ethiopia is at a critical juncture, undergoing political, economic and demographic transitions that are structural in nature. These transitions pose important challenges, but they also permit a leap forward in inclusion, shared prosperity, sustainability, peace and security.

At the same time, we are in the middle of a global COVID-19 pandemic which is the most challenging crisis we have faced since the Second World War. The pandemic is causing great disruption to the country and is having severe health, economic and social impacts.

This moment, therefore, is a historic one. What happens over the next several years will profoundly alter the development trajectory of Ethiopia and its chances of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Our cooperation framework captures this moment. In line with the national priorities as outlined in the 10 Years Perspective Development Plan and the Home-Grown Economic Reform and taking into consideration our comparative advantage, we together with our national partners have identified four inter-connected priority areas to support the acceleration of progress towards meeting the SDGs in this country. Over the next five years, our support will aim at ensuring that:

Firstly - All people in Ethiopia enjoy the rights and capabilities to realize their potential in equality and with dignity.

Secondly - All people in Ethiopia live in a cohesive, just, inclusive and democratic society.

Thirdly - All people in Ethiopia benefit from an inclusive, resilient and sustainable economy and

Fourthly - All people in Ethiopia live in a society resilient to environmental risks and adapted to climate change.

Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, colleagues

The framework aims to address long-term trends rather than simply the ‘here and now’, emphasizing transformational change that deals with structural factors. It embraces the humanitarian – development and peace nexus, which is crucial to ensure sustainable development for all, everywhere across the country, in the regions, the woredas and zones.

We, however, cannot deliver on these commitments alone and in a vacuum.

We must now meet the challenge of providing integrated assistance that connects and cuts across the SDGs, and that embraces the impact of the current health and socio-economic crisis of COVID-19. In practice, this means effectively and coherently linking diverse partners and sources of expertise, including from governments, parliaments, civil society, the private sector, academia and the full range of international organisations. We will think and act innovatively and differently to strengthen the economy, communities and societies, and emerge as a united front, ready to handle the shocks and crises that will inevitably come.

The framework is ambitious and will require a large amount of funding. With the support of our development partners we will work hard to not only mobilize the resources required to meet the results outlined, but also ensure they are used efficiently and effectively.

Before closing, let me express my gratitude to the Government and to you, Your Excellency and your staff, as well as to the UN Country Team for the tireless efforts to develop this essential document that guides our collective action in the coming years.

I would also like to thank all our partners for sharing with us their inputs.

We commemorate 75 years of the UN this year and I don’t need to remind everyone that Ethiopia as a founding member of this institution, has a vested interest, as all member states, to see that we all succeed for the benefit of the people we have promised to serve.

Finally, I would like to express my confidence in the strong and committed leadership of the whole United Nations Country Team.

Wishing you all a Happy Ethiopian New Year! Melkam Addis Amet!

I thank you!

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