By Roy Trivedy,
United Nations in Timor-Leste
Thank you for joining us today Prime Minister and again giving your full support to the process by which the commitment to the internationally accepted Sustainable Development Goals can help Timor-Leste to achieve its development aspirations.
Congratulations to this country for its global leadership in identifying the value of the Sustainable Development Goals and committing to those Goals. Timor-Leste was one of the first countries to sign up to this process.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the world's best plan to build a better world for people and our planet by 2030. The SDGs are a call for action by all countries - poor, rich and middle-income - to promote prosperity while protecting the environment.
The Voluntary National Review is an important process because it helps all of us to track the progress that is being achieved against the SDGs and to focus on areas where we need to accelerate our efforts. It is clear from the Prime Minister’s opening remarks that Timor-Leste will participate in the review with pride.
To develop a good VNR Report, it is vital to have a clear and inclusive process. A process that will include everyone in this room as well as the full range of Government Ministries and Departments, local leaders, civil society and NGOs, academia, private sector, Embassies and development partners and UN agencies.
The Voluntary National Review of the Sustainable Development Goals is much more than a showcase in New York, as important as that is.
The process of pulling the report together - starts here today. It will enable Timor-Leste and its development partners to take stock of how we are progressing towards the targets that Timor-Leste has agreed on.
This process can help build a strong coalition for implementation of the SDGs in Timor-Leste.
Importantly the VNR team will learn lessons from the first three years of progress which will be particularly useful because it will enable us to discover where and how we can focus our efforts to achieve better results.
Make no mistake, if Timor-Leste is to achieve its targets, if Timor-Leste is to end poverty and protect the environment, we are all going to have to accelerate progress.
We know that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build sustainable economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, gender equality and decent job opportunities, while tackling climate change and working to protect our land, oceans and forests.
These ambitious goals cannot be achieved without almost every part of people’s lives being improved. For example to improve the health of all children in Timor-Leste might require better care of their mothers; improved roads to travel on; more reliable and clean water; fewer acts of violence; and families with good jobs.
This is what the Sustainable Development Goals project is about. By the end of this workshop, I hope that all of us will have a clearer sense of why the Sustainable Development Goals are important and how together we are going to move towards the production of the report, including the key steps and milestones we need to meet.
Timor-Leste is leading the process. The United Nations systems and its partners and the rest of the development community is here to help and support you.
World Leaders when they launched the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 stated: ‘’We can be the first generation to succeed in ending poverty; just as we may be the last to have a chance of saving the planet.’’
World leaders gave themselves until the year 2030 to meet these ambitious goals. It is only 11 years away – a child entering school this year has every right to hope that by the time they finish school, they will not live in poverty; they can hope for a job; a clean and sustainable environment; a home free from violence and hopelessness.
The Sustainable Development Goals project and the Voluntary National Review is about transforming people’s lives, and the world’s leaders have pledged that no one will be left behind. Let us now all get behind this process. It is time for us to develop our plan.