Statement by UNRC Dr. Ozonnia Ojielo at the 75th Anniversary Celebration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ala Archa State Residence

Your Excellency Sooronbay Sharipovich

Excellency, Chingiz Azamatovich

Your Excellencies

Colleagues from the UN System

Ladies and gentlemen

It gives me great pleasure on behalf of the United Nations System to congratulate the President, the Government on the 75th Anniversary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Particularly, the Minister Chingiz Azamatovich and his deputies, all the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, diplomatic service veterans on the Anniversary. I wish you good health, prosperity and success in pursuing foreign policy in the interests of sustainable development of the Kyrgyz Republic and the entire international community.

It is appropriate that this anniversary celebration is dedicated to the Kyrgyz Republic’s relations with the United Nations System. The UN and the Kyrgyz Republic share a long history of successful cooperation, which became deeper and broader after Kyrgyzstan gained its independence in 1991.

As an active member of the UN, Kyrgyzstan has an impressive track record of excellent initiatives that found the support in the UN General Assembly and drew the world’s attention to the importance of, to name just a few, preserving unique heritages, development of mountainous regions and addressing risks from uranium wastes, as well as advancing social justice. Also Kyrgyzstan’s citizen Azizbek Ashurov has become the Laureate of the prestigious Nansen Refugee Award in 2019, as Kyrgyzstan, thanks to collaborative efforts of all, becomes the first country in the world to eliminate statelessness. Congratulations!

The amount of UN assistance to Kyrgyzstan in the last decade amounted to over 600 million US dollars. The UN will continue to accompany you in addressing economic and social challenges, natural emergencies and help conduct comprehensive reforms to strengthen democracy and respect for human rights and gender equality and jointly celebrate the achievements together. The UN has recently undergone serious reforms with a view to make the UN assistance more effective and strategic, to make sure all our work support key national priorities, strategies and programs, and country’s needs. Our partnership will grow stronger, as our activities are effectively aligned with the country’s strategic objectives.  

This year there were five High Level Political Fora at UN headquarters in NY, where Kyrgyz Republic actively participated:

The Climate Action Summit. Member States were encouraged to come to the Summit with clear indications of their National Determined Contributions, if we are to make progress in reducing Green House Gas emissions to 1.5c. The summit brought together governments, private sector, civil society and communities to build consensus on six key issues: A global transition to renewable energy; sustainable and resilient infrastructures and cities; sustainable agriculture; management of forests and oceans; resilience and adaptation to climate impacts; and alignment of public and private finance with a zero-net economy. Minister Chingiz Azamatovich rightly put it in his speech at the General Assembly that the accelerated melting of glaciers will have implications for vast territories by changing landscapes and impacting traditional ways of life and can cause mass movements of people.

The Jogorku Kenesh ratified the adoption of the Paris Agreement. My deepest congratulations to the Jogorku Kenesh! The UNCT is now working with national institutions under the direction of the Office of the President in finalizing the Nationally Determined Contributions.

Making Universal Health Care a Reality. Member States also adopted a declaration on universal health care, so as to move together to build a healthier world. This was the most significant meeting ever held on universal health coverage.  With at least half of the world’s population lacking access to the essential health services they need, and health costs pushing almost 100 million people into extreme poverty each year, the meeting served as an opportunity to secure political commitments from Heads of State and Governments to prioritize and invest in universal health coverage and ensure health for all. In coming months Kyrgyzstan will endorse its first national action plan for health security – a multisectoral strategy which lays out the priority actions for having capacity and systems in place to manage health emergencies. Kyrgyzstan also introduced strategic laws allowing the state to regulate prices and make essential medicines more affordable to public.  

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – the most ambitious undertaking ever to transform our world, boost prosperity and ensure well-being for all, while protecting the environment – is divided into 17 Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. The SDG Summit was the first of its kind since the Agenda was adopted in 2015, and represented a chance to accelerate progress on the 17 Goals and their targets. The SDGs are embedded at the heart of Kyrgyzstan’s development strategies, ensuring our comprehensive and close partnership on overcoming wicked developed challenges in the country and reporting on the progress.    

Financing for Development: None of the Goals can be achieved without hard cash, but raising enough financing is a major challenge. Rising debt risks, and trade-restrictive measures, mean that investments critical to the 2030 Agenda remain underfunded. The High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development, brought together leaders from government, business and the financial sector, in a bid to unlock the resources and partnerships needed, and accelerate progress. It has been estimated that annual investments of around $5 to $7 trillion across all sectors are needed to achieve the SDGs, and the UN Secretary-General is calling for an environment that enables long-term investments in sustainable development, to promote the health and well-being of people, and the planet. We welcome the initiative to form a new development financing system in Kyrgyzstan, in order to more efficiently use the financial resources of the country's budget, with the support of the private sector and international partners.

Supporting Small Island developing States: The last of the five summits was the High-Level Midterm Review of the SAMOA Pathway, to support sustainable development in small island developing states. These are among the most vulnerable countries in the world, facing a unique set of issues relating to their small size, remoteness, exposure to external economic shocks, and global environmental challenges, including the impacts of climate change. The review discussed progress made on combating the devastating impact of climate change, building economic and environmental resilience, and other challenges. Kyrgyzstan is not an island state, but we are a landlocked and mountainous country and the challenges are as formidable, requiring us to work as hard to ignite development and share the benefits of progress with all our citizens.

These High-Level Political Summits were proceeded by another High-Level Political Forum where a number of member states presented their Voluntary National Reports (VNRs) on their efforts to achieve the SDGs since they were adopted in 2015. The Kyrgyz Republic will be among the 47 countries that will present their Voluntary National Reports in July 2020. We express our full commitment to assist in the preparation of the report. We are confident that the prepared report and its presentation will restate Kyrgyzstan’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.

As the ESCAP Progress Report in April 2019 starkly noted, none of the countries in the Asia-Pacific Region will achieve the SDGs by 2030 unless we scale up action on a number of Goals and reverse the decline on others.

The VNRs are important because they serve to provide additional momentum to member states’ efforts in realizing the SDGs. It is an opportunity for a country to develop and showcase its roadmap for achieving the SDGs, to establish a coordination structure for implementation, coordination and reporting on the SDGs, to determine the resources required for implementing the SDGs and to demonstrate a whole of society ownership on the SDGs. Also, it also an opportunity for peer support and peer encouragement, since many countries have similar challenges and learning from each other on how to address them.

The MFA is therefore at the forefront of the Kyrgyz Republic efforts to contribute to tackling global development problems together and in realizing the 17 interconnected Goals.

2020 will be a pivotal year for the United Nations. First, it will be celebrating its 75th anniversary. At a time in history when multilateralism is under threat, the United Nations represents the only global platform that allows us to build consensus and agree on ways forward for tackling these wicked development and other problems. In preparation for the UN’s 75th anniversary, the Secretary General has called for the widest possible consultations across and within countries on the future of the United Nations and what it should represent to the global community. The views and ideas that are generated will be presented to world leaders and senior UN officials at a high-profile event during the 75th Session of the UNGA in September 2020. 

This joint celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the MFA is therefore a forerunner to next years’ celebration of the UN’s 75th anniversary and is a reflection of Kyrgyz Republic’s active participation in United Nations fora, processes and platforms, and an acknowledgement of the excellent relations between KR and the United Nations System.

In September 2020 there will be the first “annual platform” to drive SDG progress, as part of the UN’s commemoration of its 75th anniversary. The UN Secretary General, Mr Guterres announced a decade of action to deliver SDGs by 2030, referring to the SDGs as providing a clear and fair roadmap for building a fair globalization and transforming economies and societies to ensure that no one is left behind. Even though much progress has been achieved, we need to bring much greater urgency and ambition to implementing the SDGs through enhanced international cooperation, private-public partnerships, adequate financing and innovative solutions. We also need to empower young people as partners and leaders. The SDGs therefore are a national agenda to be implemented with the support of the UN and other partners.

In 2020, it will be 25 years since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. It will also mark the 20th anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on the role of women in peace building. Both documents hallmarked a pivotal moment in global history: a tacit recognition that there cannot be development without gender equality and women’s empowerment. As the Kyrgyz Republic prepares to participate in these epocal events of 2020, we have an opportune moment to demonstrate the Kyrgyz Republic’s leadership and commitment on all these issues through enhanced action on gender equality and women’s empowerment, including through the full implementation of a minimum of 30% quota for women in local councils, full observation of the gender quota in the elections to the Jogorku Kenesh next year, and through an active and accelerated effort to increase the numbers and leadership roles for women in public offices.

All of these efforts will enable the Kyrgyz Republic to present a very compelling story during the presentation of the VNR next year on the commitment of our leadership to Goal 5 of the SDGs on gender equality.

I also wish to use this moment to invite all of us to use the occasion of the forthcoming 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence starting on 25 November 2019 which marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, to demonstrate our personal and collective commitment to the empowerment of women and eliminating violence against women and girls in our society.

The reform of the United Nations Development System which became operational on 1 January this year is specifically designed to enable the United Nations System at the country level enhance its support to member states in their realization of the SDGs and in addressing the multiple development challenges that they face. The UN is now required to be more outward facing in terms of the development needs of the country, to ensure a coherent, integrated and coordinated United Nations response to these development needs under the leadership of the Resident Coordinator; and to leverage partnerships and joint efforts with other development actors. It is also designed to increase the accountability of the United Nations System to the government and to the people of the country. Based on an empowered Resident Coordinator and United Nations Country Team, the UN is further expected to support national institutions and counterparts ensure the inclusion of all citizens in the national development strategies, plans and activities.

The notion of Leaving No One Behind (LNOB) which is at the heart of the SDGs is a very powerful and revolutionary notion. It goes to the heart of governance in any society. It reaffirms that how a society measures its’ strength and power is how it treats the less fortunate, the weak, the old, the marginalized, the disadvantaged, the excluded, the women and the less powerful. By making them the centre piece of national development efforts, it demonstrates the highest level of human connection and responsibility. That those who govern will ensure the fullest inclusion and participation of those who have less or have no voice and visibility.   Our role as the United Nations System therefore will be to support national planners and decision makers to ensure that the Leave No One Behind principle is fully integrated into national governance processes.

This will not be an easy task. Realizing the SDGs and ensuring sustainable national development will not happen overnight. It requires committed and dedicated action on the part of the leadership and the citizen. It will take national mobilization to work towards the national vision encapsulated in the National Development Strategy 2040. If anyone is in doubt whether this will be realized, at those moments when people may feel dispirited and want to give up, I would urge you to remind and recite to yourself the immortal words of your national anthem,

            “white-capped rocky cliffs and steppe are equal to the soul of our people

            For countless centuries, our fathers have lived and kept the Ala-Too

            March forward, Kyrgyz people, on the way to freedom, prosperity and progress

            Your fate is in your hands

            Long ago, our friendly people completed and gave us the clasp to nature

            We acquired an accord of harmony and peace over Kyrgyz land….

            Our hopes and aspirations have been fulfilled, our people wave the flag of freedom

            The tradition of our fathers came to us, let generations keep our holy heritage”

Following the spirit of your national anthem, we the United Nations System in the Kyrgyz Republic commit to you Sooronbay Sharipovich, your government and the people of the Kyrgyz Republic that  we will continue to exert ourselves, in partnership with national and international development actors, to support the full implementation of the National Development Strategy 2040, the accompanying strategies and programmes  in ensuring the socio-economic transformation of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Speech by
Author
Mr. Ozonnia Ojielo
Resident Coordinator
UN
Mr. Ozonnia Ojielo
UN entities involved in this initiative
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United Nations