Greater coordination among United Nations agencies is crucial to helping countries, including those in the Arab region, slash poverty, hunger, illiteracy and a host of other scourges, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro told a meeting in Beirut today.
Ms. Migiro was addressing the opening of the Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM) meeting, which is designed to ensure that the various UN departments, agencies and other components in the region work more effectively together.
“We all appreciate that the objective of the RCM is mainly to achieve policy coherence and create synergy at the regional and sub-regional levels to improve the impact of our work,” she told the gathering in the Lebanese capital which was convened by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).
“Not for the sake of coordination itself, but to help facilitate real results for our clients – the governments and peoples of our Member States.”
She noted that coordination and collaboration within and among UN agencies is “central” to efforts to achieve the global anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline, known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as well as other objectives, and stressed the importance of their combined strength.
“Each of you, as separate agencies, programmes and funds, have decades of experience in this region – experience that spans a wide variety of issues,” she said.
“What unites us is our commitment to the right of all children, women and men to live full and dignified lives, with the opportunity and freedom to realize their full potential.”
Ms. Migiro underscored the urgency of enhancing the level of coordination among UN bodies in the region, noting that the target date for achieving the MDGs is just a few years away. “With just over five years left in the MDG period, we must do everything possible to ensure that the Goals are met, across this region, and within each country.”
She added that Western Asia demonstrates that “great progress can be made when good policies are matched with adequate resources,” noting that child and maternal mortality are low across the region, and extreme poverty is limited.
Still, more can be done, she said, pointing out that more children need to be enrolled in school, good jobs should be available to more people, and greater efforts are needed to address hunger.
In addition, she noted that the Arab region can play a vital role in identifying success stories and pointing out challenges, ahead of the high-level General Assembly meeting on the MDGs slated to be held in September 2010.
“We hope this will enable us to catalyze effective action to replicate and scale-up existing successes… to fill gaps in our progress toward the Goals… and to make good on the MDGs’ promise for all of the world’s people,” said the Deputy Secretary-General, who will travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this week for a similar regional coordination meeting convened by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).