The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

Towards ever more effective solutions: A statement from UNOPS Executive Director

Under-Secretary-General Faremo addresses the 2021 Second Regular Session of the UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board.

As the world is confronted by the scale of the challenges it faces, Ms. Faremo stressed the need for new approaches, renewed ambition – and immediate action.

By being more attuned to the needs of our partners and the communities we serve, we are better placed to tackle the inequalities that have worsened with the pandemic, and support those most vulnerable to climate change.

Grete Faremo - UNOPS Executive Director

Building on success delivering quality services with increased efficiency, Ms. Faremo presented the new UNOPS Strategic Plan, 2022-2025. Grounded in lessons learned from COVID-19 and the climate emergency, it focuses on how the organization will elevate its support for national development priorities. The plan will help further strengthen national capacities to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement. This includes bridging the financing gap and reducing inequalities.

Ms. Faremo emphasized that now more than ever the world needs infrastructure that is sustainable, inclusive and resilient.

“Infrastructure can influence 92 per cent of all targets across the SDGs. Let me repeat that figure: 92 per cent. The significance of this finding is immense,” said Ms. Faremo.

She went on to stress the fact that properly planned and developed infrastructure is central to making climate commitments a reality and addressing the growing inequalities around the world.

Ms. Faremo also spoke about UNOPS continued work helping partners tap into the huge unrealized potential of public procurement, which accounts for 15 to 30 per cent of gross domestic product in most countries. From Guatemala and Honduras, to Argentina and Mexico, she noted that UNOPS work supports national and local institutions in tackling corruption, building better public services and accelerating progress towards the SDGs – while saving governments hundreds of millions of dollars.

Speaking about its Sustainable Investments in Infrastructure and Innovation initiative, Ms. Faremo emphasized the organization's growing focus on innovation, resilient construction technology and tailored public-private partnerships. A recent landmark investment deal to build a 250 megawatt solar farm with partners – including the Danish Investment Fund for Developing Countries – to bring clean energy to around half a million people in Rajasthan, Western India is just one example of this.

Ms. Faremo noted that all UNOPS operations revolve around the organization’s commitment to advancing human rights, gender equality, and diversity and inclusion. Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, UNOPS achieved gender parity in its workforce. Ms. Faremo spoke to the organization’s broadening approach to wider diversity and inclusion as UNOPS moves into its new strategic plan.

Read the full speech here.

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