The power of technology, the importance of innovation and the need for a multilateral approach to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals were key themes raised by UNDP chief Achim Steiner at the 18th Doha Forum in Qatar on 15-16 December.
“Over the past two days there were many engaging, challenging, and thought-provoking conversations on how to address the challenges faced by our world today,” said Mr. Steiner. “One of the most common questions I was asked as Administrator of UNDP was whether achieving the Sustainable Development Goals was a realistic objective.
“My answer was simple: the ‘SDGs’ are not just a slogan but a framework for managing our complex future. If we embrace new technologies and explore new ways of working, we can realize this ambitious agenda,” he said.
Mr. Steiner joined UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for his meetings with Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, and Sheikha Moza bint Nasser. Mr, Steiner also met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani.
In his keynote address, Mr. Guterres said platforms like the Doha Forum, which nurse the exchange of ideas, are lacking in number, but vital. “Perhaps the most precious – and increasingly scarce – resource in our world today is dialogue,” he said, and added that more exchanges like those taking place at the Forum are needed, but dwindling trust is paralyzing the conversation.
While in Doha, Mr. Steiner and Mr. Khalifa Al-Kuwari, Director General of the Qatar Fund for Development, signed a Partnership Framework Agreement for the next four years where they agreed to partner to advance the Sustainable Development Goals globally. Qatar was also announced as one of UNDP’s core funders, with a contribution of $16 million over two years. An additional $20 million was committed to help fund UNDP’s Accelerator Labs and become a ‘launch partner.’
“We are very grateful to Qatar, not only for this generous contribution, but also for the partnership we are now developing to drive the 2030 Agenda. new and exciting opportunities await,” added Mr. Steiner.