Spain and UNDP launch fund to advance MDGs progress

 

New York — The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Spain today launched a new fund to boost efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Spanish Secretary of State for International Cooperation Leire Pajín and Kemal Dervis, UNDP Administrator, signed the agreement establishing the Fund at the United Nations in New York. José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Spain’s Prime Minister, and Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, witnessed the signing.

With the agreement, Spain reinforces its commitment to the MDGs, broader international cooperation and multilateralism. Spain is contributing €528 million (about US$700 million at current exchange rates) to establish the United Nations Fund for the Achievement of the MDGs, to be managed by Spain and UNDP, which coordinates UN development activities in developing countries.

The Spanish Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Leire Pajin Iraola, recalled that in “his first visit to New York, the President of the Spanish Government conveyed to Secretary General Kofi Annan the Spanish Government’s willingness to be at the forefront of the fight against poverty, and notably to increase Spanish contributions in support of the United Nations development system. Today, we are back in New York, and pleased to say that our multilateral commitment, which has already been raised from €93 million in 2005 to more than €481 million in 2006, will be further increased through our new €528 million contribution of this Fund. We are doing all this with the confidence of knowing that we are working together with an effective instrument, the United Nation System, and in particular, UNDP. Only through a common effort— that of multilateral institutions, led by the UN, together with bilateral donors—will it be possible to realize the noble obligation assumed by all of us in 2000, the Millennium Development Goals.”

The MDG Fund will focus on the following:

Democratic governance
Gender equality
Basic social needs, including youth employment
Economic development, including the role of the private sector
Environment and climate change
Conflict prevention and peace-building
Cultural diversity and development
“UNDP thanks the Government of Spain for this contribution which confirms its leadership in multilateralism and international cooperation and highlights its confidence in the United Nations. While UNDP will manage this fund, Spain’s contribution will bolster the entire UN system by strengthening the reform process,” Dervis said. “Focussing on seven key development areas, widely acknowledged as central to the achievement of the MDGs, this contribution will better position the UN to help countries achieve their national development objectives.”

With the establishment of this Fund, Spain is making UNDP the strategic interlocutor for its multilateral action for development while creating a decision-making framework for Spanish contributions to the UN. Spain’s Master Plan for International Cooperation for 2005-2008 provides for a significant increase in multilateral development assistance, giving particular priority to the UN system. The Millennium Declaration is one of the main planks of Spain’s development policy. The Spanish contribution to the Fund is based upon the Act Regulating the Administration of External Debt, approved by the Spanish Parliament on 22 November 2006, which authorizes the use of some of the external debt payments collected by Spain.

The Fund will be managed by a steering committee made up of representatives from the Government of Spain and UNDP, together with independent development experts. Additionally, thematic advisory sub-committees will review the projects submitted by developing countries in collaboration with the UN system.

Through this contribution, Spain intends to support the efforts of the United Nations system to coordinate and streamline its work on the ground. The Fund will be used to strengthen the UN reform process; at the country level, UN Country Teams, under the leadership of UN Resident Coordinators—who often serve as UNDP Resident Representatives—will be invited to submit consolidated proposals, thus reinforcing and strengthening the coherence of UN development activities. In addition, the Fund will support a number of global MDG activities of UN funds and agencies.

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