As the UN Resident Coordinator mentioned, last week was important as world leaders gathered to address SDGs and highlight climate action globally. It was clear that the global agenda moved from talks and negotiations to action when it comes to sustainable development agenda.
As the largest development entity within the UN system, UNDP has a unique role when it comes to working across SDGs in terms of facilitating integrated solutions to help countries address their development challenges and moving from commitments to action. As UNDP, we offer our global expertise, developed and accumulated through years of presence in over 170 countries and territories.
We cooperate with the sister agencies and the broader UN team to support the Government and people of Kazakhstan on a wide range of development issues. We work both at the national level - helping formulate and roll out priority reforms, and locally, in direct interaction with people, piloting innovative solutions, engaging urban and rural youth and other vulnerable groups and improving quality of life of PWDs.
Today we support our national counterparts in implementing a number of strategic initiatives in various sectors ranging from preserving biodiversity to supporting large scale institutional reforms.
Let me give you a few examples of our joint initiatives with the Government of Kazakhstan. In terms of implementing a sustainable development agenda, I will try to group these in three large areas of focus: Improving governance, enhancing social policy, and fostering sustainability while achieving economic development.
First, on governance: In today’s challenging and dynamic environment, the way we configure the public administration system with the necessary skills and capacities will make a key difference on how the services are delivered and trust is built with citizens.
With this view in mind, we have been supporting the institutional reforms in the country. For example, UNDP helped develop a new pay scale and competence framework for over 90,000 civil servants nationwide. Currently we are supporting creation of the Presidential Personnel Reserve. We introduced innovative instruments for corruption prevention, including sectoral risk assessments and engagement of civil society. Similarly, we are working with local authorities to help improve local budgets in over 2,000 localities. We are currently reviewing functions at oblast levels- 9,000 of them- to improve efficiency in service delivery.
We see a greater emphasis recently on trust in Kazakhstan’s government’s policy orientation. Justice is a crucial element of building and maintaining such trust. That is why a lot of our effort goes into Justice Sector Reform. This work includes modernization of the Academy of Justice, building capacity of the High Judicial Council and enhancing selection of judges’ procedures, with an overall objective to increase public trust in judiciary. We also just commenced a new partnership with the Ministry of Interior to support Police Modernization.
A critical element of SDG implementation and Agenda 2030 is the principle of leaving no one behind in the process of attaining national development objectives. On social policy, we work closely with the government with this principle in mind, aiming to reduce vulnerabilities in the society- two examples being on people with disabilities and populations affected by Hepatitis C. With UNDP support over 21,000 vulnerable people received access to innovative treatment of Hepatitis C (95-97% success rate). We helped save USD 23.5 mln. of public money in the process.
Finally, on sustainable economic development, our work concentrates on ‘green growth’ and environmental protection. For example, we have contributed to the development of the Concept on transition to green economy back in 2013, and continuously work hand in hand with our national partners to support its implementation.
At the same time, we are helping mobilize finance with innovative solutions that facilitate access to “green” finance. For example, we partnered with private sector companies to develop and introduce a financial mechanism for attracting investment into low carbon projects that leveraged USD 46 mln. of investments for 71 projects with potential to reduce 1.1 million lifetime CO2 emissions. In 2019, we are to scale up this mechanism to renewables as well.
We are also working at the community level through pilot projects across all 14 oblasts of the country and 3 major cities (Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Shymkent), investing in more than 200 social facilities such as schools, hospitals and administrative buildings to demonstrate energy efficiency, renewable energy and waste treatment practices.
In biodiversity, we helped creating 7 protected areas covering 2.3 million hectares; and in agriculture, we supported restoration of 1,2 million hectares of lands that is now used for pastures, organic and irrigated agriculture with tenfold increase in yield productivity. The total number of our direct and indirect beneficiaries of our pilot projects reached 2,5 mln. people.
While a significant share of UNDP programme is funded by the Government, UNDP has been very successful in mobilizing international donors funding for Kazakhstan. To every USD 1 invested from the Republican Budget we have mobilized USD 2 from other donors (vertical funds, bilateral donors, Government of Japan). Overall, in the past 5 years we attracted over USD 100 million to Kazakhstan to support national development priorities and SDGs nationalization.
As Kazakhstan moves forward with SDG implementation, please count on us. UNDP, together with the UN team, is ready and committed to support Kazakhstan’s development priorities to the best of its abilities. Thank you for your attention.