Speech - Post 2015 Regional Consultations
- Delivered by UNDP Ethiopia Resident Representative, Eugene Owusu
Your Excellency, Ato Ayalew Gobeze, President of the Amhara Regional State,
State Minister Dr. Abraham Tekeste, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development,
Our Esteemed Partners from the Private Sector and Civil Society,
led by W/zo Mulu Solomon, Ato Eshetu Bekele and Ato Meshesha Shewangezaw who have all worked together with us to make today a reality,
Distinguished Participants from the four regions of Amhara, Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz and Tigray,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me join H.E. State Minister Dr. Abraham to extend, on behalf of the UN Country Team in Ethiopia, a warm En-Kwan Dena Metachu.
We are here today to put our heads and hearts together to start a dialogue process that would allow Ethiopia amplify its voice to the world on our common development agenda.
The Future We Want is a phrase you will hear repeatedly over the course of this meeting and the next few months as we take this consultation to other regions.
This phrase was popularized by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon when he decided to write an opinion piece arguing for the world to come together and chart a sustainable way for all our peoples. And Ban Ki-Moon stressed this was necessary, ‘Because so many of today’s challenges are global, they demand a global response — collective power exercised in global partnership.’
The Secretary General also stressed that the world was calling for concrete hopes for real and tangible improvements on the lives of people with emphasis on ‘zero hunger’, empowerment of youth and women, and smarter use of our natural resource particularly in these
days when climate change is no longer confined to our research publications but a reality in our daily lives.
In 2015, just two years from now, the world will be assessing whether the ambitious global goals, the Millennium Development Goals, have met expectations or not. Here in Ethiopia, through the strong leadership of the Government, and exemplary country ownership of these development goals, we are making good progress on most of the eight MDGs. Ethiopia has been regularly monitored against these goals – worthy goals, but unfortunately you and the global citizens had no input in drafting them.
Today, we reverse that process by asking you to actively help the world draft the next set of global goals.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the next one and half days, we will be asking you to paint a vivid picture of the Future We Want: the Future ‘You’ Want - Yemi-Nishat Ethiopia.
And in doing so, we want you to reflect on the key questions of ‘what is important for any person in Ethiopia and your specific community to live well?’
Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plan is one way that this country has been trying to address this question through. And over the years, through a strong economic growth, Ethiopia has managed to help tackle its biggest enemy, poverty, cutting the rate from 44% in the late 1990s to 29% currently. Ethiopia’s intensive and sustained investment in infrastructure and social sectors is also paying dividends.
Challenges remain though that could cripple these hard one gains. The biggest one is inflation, which is still in the double digits. Financing the country’s ambitious transformation plan is also another
obstacle that the Government is working hard to address through enhancing local resource mobilization. And enhancing the enabling environment for the private sector will help in the Government’s efforts to increase its local resources – through increased revenue from taxation from a flourishing business group – but also create jobs for Africa’s second most populous country and put the private sector where it rightly belongs – as the engine of Ethiopia’s growth.
We have interrupted your busy schedules and asked you all to gather here in the beautiful scenic town of Bahir Dar, so that all of us can add our voices to the reflection on how we can bring about a better life for all.
Your reflection will help not strengthen Africa’s voice during the continental Post 2015 consultations that will soon take place, but your ideas will also help enrich Ethiopia’s development agenda post Growth and Transformation Plan, which ends at the same time as the MDGs in two years’ time.
If you look around this hall you will notice that we represent a mix of stakeholders that have a vested interest in Ethiopia’s development and the wellbeing of its people.
The rich mix of participants here should also reassure you that there is no one formula to the questions that our facilitating team will lead you through as we dialogue on what is important for any Ethiopian – women, men, young or old, the poor or the rich - to live well.
I trust your discussion and consultation for the post-2015 agenda will adequately draw on the lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals bring about concrete goals.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today we are kick starting a dialogue, not holding regular workshops where the emphasis is on those making presentations. I urge you to make the best use of these two days, to reach into your valuable experiences and make your voices heard loud and clear.
As indicated earlier, in the coming few months, this consultation process will reach other regions and special interest groups in the Ethiopia. We hope that you will set an example for others to follow with your enthusiasm and commitment to helping chart the global development agenda.
Excellency, Distinguished Guests,
I am personally excited that our seven set of consultations has opened so well and this is thanks to the good work done by all the stakeholders behind the scene to bring you all here.
Not all countries have been given this opportunity to help design the next set of global goals. And we know that all of us appreciate the unique position that we in Ethiopia find ourselves in.
The platform is ready and now all we need to make this consultation a resounding success is to hear from you and have you share your wisdom and insight.