As prepared for delivery.

I am very happy to be with you here enjoying the generous hospitality of the kingdom of Morocco in the city of Tangier which is often referred to as the “Bride of the North” -- and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.

I would like to thank you, Your Excellency Mounia Boucetta, Secretary of State to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for being here to inaugurate this important meeting. I would also like to thank Your Excellencies, officials from the Region.

I would like to share a few words on my expectations for the days ahead, some thoughts on UNDP’s role in the region as well as the some of the lessons we can learn from Morocco’s unique experience on its development pathway.

The event brings together UNDP’s senior management -- our new Resident Representatives and Deputies -- from all our Country Offices across the Arab States region for the first time since their recent appointment.

It is crucial to have such an event as this group of senior leadership of our 17 Offices in the Regional Bureau for Arab States are part of a new cohort that will be shaping next generation UNDP across the region.

In particular, it is a chance to come together and take stock of both challenges and opportunities that we must seize upon. It is also an opportunity to share your expertise and unique experience with one another.

I hope that we can come away from this meeting with a common and multi-faceted vision to deliver event better at the regional-level and across the diverse country contexts of the Arab States region -- ultimately helping those people who we serve.

In this respect, we are entrusting our senior leaders to find new ways to help UNDP perform faster and better than ever to deliver on the promise of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development -- to build a more sustainable and prosperous world -- a world that leaves no one behind.

We expect a lot from them.

We expect them to innovate new development solutions; to build new collaboration platforms.

We expect them to forge new partnerships and instruments for development.

We expect them to disrupt the way our organization thinks, invests, manages and delivers -- to be able to perform its new role in a reformed and revitalized UN Development System.

They will have to provide integrated support to our national partners to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

And, perhaps most importantly, we expect them to do all of this while effectively connecting our global pursuits to regional realities and to national priorities.

That is why, we all look forward to listening carefully to the insights and perspectives that your excellency will share with us, from your experience with Morocco’s development journey, as we chart the way forward in support of sustainable development in the region.

We are proud of the close relationship that we have cultivated over more than 50 years of close partnership with the people of the Kingdom of Morocco, their Government, civil society and the private sector across many areas of work.

We are particularly honoured to continue to support Morocco’s pioneering National Initiative for Human Development. First launched in 2005 by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, and now in its third cycle, this important initiative has produced sustainable results in social and economic growth, integrating the most disadvantaged Moroccans, enhancing their capabilities and opportunities and improving their future prospects.

Morocco’s commitment to the human development approach extends far beyond this important initiative. Today, the Kingdom contributes more than 2/3 (two-thirds) of all programme resources dedicated to achieving human development results, which are implemented by our UNDP Country Office.

We look forward to learning more about the new development model that His Majesty King Mohammed VI has called for; and especially about Morocco’s deliberate agenda, ambitious reforms and successful initiatives, to mitigate and adapt to the impact of Climate Change.

We salute Morocco’s commitment made through its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution to reduce 32 per cent of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. UNDP stands ready to provide needed support to achieve this ambitious goal.

As we convene our meeting today in Tangier, which has been described as a, “Door to Africa,” we are eager to learn more about Morocco’s commitment to expand its role in the existential fight against climate change to Africa through the Centre for Competencies in Climate Change. The centre aims to become a hub for the development and dissemination of climate change competencies for the entire continent. As part of this project, UNDP is happy to support the preliminary study for the Blue Fund covering 12 countries in the Congo Basin, where Morocco is a leading member of the Commission of the Congo Basin and the Commission of the Sahel, established during COP22.

Since re-joining the African Union in 2017, Morocco has played an active role in strengthening South-South and triangular cooperation in Africa.

Today, Morocco is the largest investor on the African continent in terms of total capital investment and the third largest overall, after China and the United Arab Emirates.

On the global stage, Morocco has been playing a critical role in the counter-terrorism fight, leading efforts in the Arab region. It is currently co-chairing the Global Counterterrorism Forum with the Netherlands.

Morocco is also on the frontlines of the regional and worldwide migration management effort in order to curb illegal migration and institute reform mechanisms regulating legal migration.

Morocco is also playing a leading role in the region to accelerate progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It was the first Arab country to volunteer to take part in the national reviews of implementation plans. Morocco also intends to prepare a voluntary report on its progress towards sustainable development to the High-level Political Forum in 2020. UNDP is pleased to work alongside other UN agencies in Morocco to support monitoring and reporting on the SDGs.

Coming away from this meeting, we should feel that we have set the conditions to achieve even better results across the diverse country contexts of the Arab States region as well as the region as a whole.

We knew, when choosing Tangier to convene UNDP’s Regional Management Meeting for Arab States that we were coming to the right place, to be inspired and to learn about the varied and often innovative efforts by the Kingdom of Morocco to make sustainable development work for all.

We look forward, your excellency, to your keynote address to illuminate the many dimensions of Morocco’s exciting development journey.   

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