Orignally published on 2021-10-27 10:00:39 by www.politico.com
Covid-19 has knocked the United Nations off schedule — it’s now running behind on meeting some Sustainable Development Goals and vaccination targets. As the head of the United Nations Development Program, Achim Steiner is on the front lines to catch up to those targets. He tells POLITICO’s Ryan Heath about why, even as countries are falling short of their COVAX and climate commitments, the United Nations is still the world’s best — and possibly only — bet to fight global problems.
On how he navigates his relationship with China
“When you invite us in to work with you, you invite us in as the United Nations Development Program with all the values and norms that come with it. But our role is to engage with the country and to be by its side, to assist it, to move forward. And that means not beginning the work by having a set of conditionalities, but rather agreeing on what our priorities [are] and the way we can work with each other as partners.” Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Program
On why he thinks the Sustainable Development Goals are still relevant, even as countries fail to progress towards them
“Now, having a pandemic hit us at this moment is obviously a major setback for the targets and indicators of the quantitative aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals. But, they are a temporary setback and I would argue strongly against those who are saying, ‘Well, maybe we need to find some other framework in which to work together.’ This is the only agenda that 193 countries have signed up to. It’s a shared view of our challenges, but also of pathways towards the future … To abandon the SDGs right now is not only a big mistake in terms of their relevance. In fact, they are the only strategy we have that allows us to walk forward together to build forward better.”