Helen Clark: Speech at Launch of the Oslo Governance and Peacebuilding Dialogue Series, UNDP Oslo Governance Center

12 Jun 2015

Olso, Norway

I am pleased to launch the Oslo Governance and Peacebuilding Dialogue Series, and open this first Dialogue on the theme of “Measuring SDG 16: promoting peaceful and inclusive societies.”

At the outset, let me thank His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon of Norway for being with us this morning, as our guest of honour, and for all the work which he continues to do as a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador.

I also thank State Secretary Hans Brattskar and the Government of Norway for their huge support to the work of the Oslo Governance Centre and to UNDP overall.

A big welcome also goes to representatives of government institutions, think tanks, academia, and civil society organisations from Norway and further afield who have gathered here to participate in the Dialogue.

The role of the Oslo Governance and Peacebuilding Dialogue Series

Norway is a highly appropriate place in which to launch this Dialogue Series on governance and peacebuilding in transitional societies. Norway’s leadership globally on peace making and peacebuilding is well known, including on policy and reform approaches to building peace, reducing inequality, managing extractive sectors, championing human rights and gender equality and supporting transparency and accountability. Across the Nordic region as a whole, governments, civil society organisations, think tanks, and research institutions offer substantial governance knowledge, best practices, and experiences, from which we can all learn and benefit.

The UN too has much to bring to these dialogues. UNDP has a special role to play in fragile and conflict-affected countries through its unique mandate on development, governance, conflict prevention, the rule of law, the restoration of core government functions, and security sector reform.  Through UNDP’s experiences around the world over half a century, we have learned a lot about what characterises successful transitions in crisis, post-crisis, and post-conflict settings. We have supported peace and reconciliation processes, dialogue around new constitutions, the extension of state authority, and electoral processes in many countries.

The Dialogue Series we are launching today will be a flagship initiative of the renewed Oslo Governance Centre. These dialogues each quarter in Oslo, elsewhere in the Nordic region, or further afield will provide opportunities for policy makers and practitioners to share experiences and expertise on governance and peacebuilding challenges.

Future Dialogues may be focused on a particular geographical region or theme; for example, on diagnosing and supporting core government functions in post-conflict and transition environments; operationalising a social contract, drawing on work already done in partnership with NOREF; the innovative use of information and communication technologies in governance and peacebuilding; and promoting tolerance and inclusion in multi-cultural societies. We are also exploring ways of sharing the learning virtually, in order to bring into these discussions those who cannot attend in person.

The First Oslo Governance and Peacebuilding Dialogue: “Measuring SDG16: promoting peaceful and inclusive societies”

The topic of this First Oslo Governance and Peacebuilding Dialogue – Measuring Sustainable Development Goal 16 to promote peaceful and inclusive societies – could not be more timely.

It  is likely that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be adopted in September at the United Nations in New York will reflect in full the proposal of the Open Working Group made in July last year. Thus in the UN Development Group, discussions are now centred on how we can help promote, implement, and measure progress on the proposed SDGs, their targets, and indicators.

Goal 16, which aims to ‘promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels’, is linked to getting traction on all the other proposed SDGs. Goal 16 will also have special relevance in countries in transition, where institutions may be weak and/or not inclusive, crime levels and gender-based violence pervasive, and corruption rampant.

UNDP is fully committed to supporting Member States to implement Goal 16, and to establish appropriate national monitoring systems for measuring progress. We are already heavily involved in this work, facilitating discussions around indicators for Goal 16 in the UN system, and with other partners and stakeholders.

For example, UNDP is working with a group of Member States – Albania, Indonesia, Rwanda, Tunisia and the UK – to pilot innovative approaches to governance in the context of the SDGs, demonstrating that it is possible to develop appropriate indicators in the national context. We are seeing through this experience that indicators on governance can help overcome constraints to delivery on the broader SDG agenda.

UNDP is also hosting a Virtual Network of around 100 experts to distil best practice on indicators for Goal 16, and we are co-leading efforts within the UN system to feed into the work of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group under the UN Statistical Commission which met last week.

As well, UNDP has been supporting the African Union to implement its Strategy for the Harmonization of Statistics in Africa – SHASA. Nationally representative surveys were piloted in nine countries to measure governance, peace and security, with more countries to follow. These surveys have shown that the perceptions of ordinary people about the governance, peace and security issues which affect them can be collected rigorously and reliably by National Statistical Offices.

Governance, peace and security are not experienced in the same way by rich and poor, young and old, or employed and unemployed. To match the post-2015 agenda’s ambition of ‘leaving no one behind’, there is an important role to be played by nationally representative surveys.

With UNDP’s support, the incorporation of governance indicators into official statistics will be further explored by the recently established Praia City Group under the UN Statistical Commission. This is a grouping of national statistical offices which has a mandate to develop international recommendations on the production of official statistics on governance. The Group will meet in Cape Verde for the first time on 17 June.

Specific topics for this morning’s discussion

The dialogue this morning will focus on two areas of importance:

First, we will review different experiences of measuring governance and peace which have been tested.

Second, we will discuss how these approaches might be used to support the measurement of Goal 16, and to promote peaceful and inclusive societies.

Tracking progress on Goal 16 will be essential to ensuring headway on the Agenda as a whole. I look forward to hearing the outcome of your discussions this morning on different experiences of measuring governance and peace to date, and on how these approaches might be used to support the measurement of Goal 16.

I wish you all a productive discussion.

Human Rights