Remarks by Ruby Sandhu-Rojon Deputy Regional Director for Africa Joint UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board

Jan 30, 2017

Remarks by Ms. Ruby Sandhu-Rojon

Deputy Regional Director for Africa

at the Joint UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board

Mr. President of the UNDP Executive Board,

Distinguished Members of the Executive Board,

Representatives of the Governments of Botswana and Chad,

Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

I am pleased to submit to this First Regular session of the Joint UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board the Country Programme Documents for Botswana and Chad.

As per the regular practice, both Country Programmes have been formulated in close consultation with the partner governments and a wide range of stakeholders, including sister UN agencies, multilateral and bilateral partners, civil society, and the private sector. As such the programmes respond to the national development priorities and are designed within a broader framework of partnerships, allowing UNDP to focus on its comparative advantage. The timing of the development of these programmes allowed us to fully integrate the Sustainable Development Goals into the programmatic approach, outcomes and indicators. Members of the Executive Board will also have seen that both country programmes have made an effort to identify the most vulnerable population groups and subsequently target interventions to address their needs so as to ensure that no one is left behind.

While both programmes are aligned to the UNDP Strategic Plan, it is evident that they present very different contexts and therefore capture the versatility of UNDP’s approach to development challenges.

Notwithstanding these distinctions, one common development reality in both Botswana and Chad is the dominance of extractives - diamonds and oil, respectively - in the economy. The discovery of diamonds in the late 1960s greatly changed Botswana's economic landscape. Despite certain challenges, prudent policies enabled Botswana to invest its diamond resources in human development, and advance the socio-economic status of its population, as is evident from many of the development indicators.

Discovery of oil in Chad is much more recent, but the increase in state revenues, since production started in 2003, has led to a significant drop in poverty rates, combined with increased access to education and health services.

While extractive revenues have had a positive impact, both countries vie to diversify their economy to, on the one hand, reduce the risk and exposure towards a single resource and the potential volatility this brings; and, on the other hand, create more job-rich and inclusive growth that integrates vulnerable population groups into the economy and thereby addresses persistent inequalities. As a result, both country programmes have prioritized work in outcome 1 of UNDP’s strategic plan on inclusive and sustainable growth.

Mr. President, Distinguished members of the Executive Board,

At this juncture, please allow me to highlight a few specific points on each of the two programmes.

In response to the unique development needs of an upper middle income country, and as a result of a highly consultative process, the UN Botswana Partnership Framework follows an innovative approach around three shared outcomes across the UN System, namely: 1) policy design; 2) policy implementation; and 3) data. These three outcomes are the basis for the UNICEF, UNFPA and UNDP Country Programmes, thereby allowing for a unique collaborative platform across agencies.

For Chad, it would be remiss of me not to mention the particular challenges the country is facing due to the Boko Haram threat which is exacerbating an already difficult socio-economic situation in the Lake Chad basin. The programme is designed to support efforts to prevent and address radicalization and will also work with the vulnerable population in the Lake Chad basin on livelihoods and natural resource ecosystems management. As highlighted by the Associate Administrator, we welcome the understanding of the Executive Board that some of these interventions will need to remain flexible to respond to the particular challenges faced by the population.

Furthermore, in response to the protracted humanitarian challenges in Chad, the country programme has made a deliberate effort to design UNDP support such that we are able to operate along the humanitarian – development nexus, reducing inequalities and strengthening resilience to natural disasters and protracted humanitarian vulnerabilities.

Mr. President, Distinguished members of the Executive Board,

In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Members of the Board for their support to the UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa and to all programme countries under the Bureau’s responsibility. 

I thank you for your attention.