UNDP Asia-Pacific chief Haoliang Xu on Monday said accelerating MDG progress and meeting the original deadline of 2015 must remain a top priority and over the years in Asia and the Pacific.
Xu assumed his role as the new Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
A Chinese national, Xu has held various leadership positions in UNDP, most recently as Deputy Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, according to a UNDP media release.
“I am very excited about my new role. I believe that the significant unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) remains the defining challenge of our time,” Xu said.
“My new assignment as head of UNDP operation in Asia-Pacific gives me an opportunity to work with our partners to bring together all the threads of MDGs in the region to build an inclusive, sustainable and resilient Asia-Pacific,” he said in his first meeting with the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific staff at UNDP headquarters in New York.
The Asia and Pacific region is the most diverse in the world both in terms of its country composition and the development challenges it faces.
While the region has some of the world’s largest and most dynamic economies, it is also home to more than half of the world’s poor; it is the most disaster-prone region in the world; small island developing states in the Pacific are already bearing the brunt of ongoing climate change; environmental degradation is a serious concern in many of Asia-Pacific countries.
UNDP in Asia-Pacific has offices in 24 countries and works in 36 countries. Its primary mandate is to work with governments to address their national development priorities.
“Working with governments and other partners, UNDP will help reduce poverty and inequality, promote effective governance and build resilience to help countries prevent and recover from crises. We need to ensure that UNDP in Asia-Pacific is a knowledge based development organization able to find effective and innovative development solutions.” said Xu.
UNDP’s Asia Pacific Bureau has placed strong emphasis on addressing issues such as gender equality, climate change, disaster risk reduction, social protection and inclusive growth. It has forged strategic partnerships with a number of emerging economies in the region such as China, India and Indonesia for facilitating knowledge and experience exchange and expanding South-South and triangular cooperation.
In the many Middle Income Countries of the region, Xu said: “We need to have an honest dialogue with our government partners so that they see UNDP, not as a donor, but rather as a trusted development partner that can work with them to find effective solutions to their very particular development challenges. If we don’t find a breakthrough in this regard, UNDP’s potential to add value to their national development agenda cannot be fully materialized.
“I will work hard with my colleagues, in headquarters and in the field, and all our partners to ensure that development cooperation in the region is effective”, pledged Xu.