Remarks by Ms Lizbeth Cullity - Celebration of UNDP's 50th anniversary and launching of the Awareness Raising campaign on SDGs

Mar 22, 2016

Celebration of UNDP's 50th anniversary in Samoa. Photo credit: UNDP/E.Rollando/2016

Honourable Prime Minister and Members of the Cabinet,


Distinguished Guests,

Students and teachers,

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you all to the United Nations Development Programme 50th Anniversary celebration.

For five decades, UNDP has been supporting Governments around the world to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and protect the environment. UNDP connected countries to the knowledge, experience, and resources they needed to help people build better lives. Over that time, the world has changed enormously and UNDP made an effort to change and tackle the new challenges that Samoa and the rest of the countries face. 

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by 193 world leaders last September, provide the framework for the next phase of our work. Now, UNDP and the broader UN system, must work more effectively with countries to shape a more positive future, reach the most vulnerable and build a better planet for all. 

Today, we are here to celebrate UNDP’s birthday but also to highlight the role that we can all play in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. This new development agenda is bold, complex and transformational. We are now in its third month of implementation and the Government, the United Nations, the development partners, the private sector and academia are working together to translate the Goals into action at regional, national and local level. 

It is clear that this global agreement won’t make any sense unless people from all sectors of society get involved. The agenda belongs to everyone and we need young people, women, civil society organizations and the community as a whole to understand, commit and look for ways to make the Sustainable Development Agenda a reality. 

The Goals are not just about poverty. They encompass an array of issues such as good health and education, gender equality, decent job opportunities and climate change to mention a few. These are issues of concern to us all, no matter where we live.  

Raising awareness, fostering debate at community level and engaging with young people to find the best solutions for the future of the country is a top priority for the United Nations. All these activities, that at a glance may not seem so important, can be critical to further the SDGs. 

The parade, as well as the educational activities that teachers and students have undertaken in the last few weeks, are an opportunity to increase the visibility of the SDGs, learn and familiarize themselves with the new goals. We hope that today’s event will help us spark the interest of more schools and that, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture, will be able to implement similar activities with students throughout the country.

Today, we are here to reaffirm our commitment to the Sustainable Development Agenda and to inspire others to commit, to join us and help us building a better world by 2030.

My message for all the students and the people that are here today is: “No matter how big or small, the action you take can make a difference. You can trigger progress if you commit to something. You can help us find forward-thinking solutions to key development challenges that matter to you. We want you to be part of this ambitious agenda for sustainable development. You can achieve big things!”

In closing, with the SDGs, we have – together - a unique chance to make poverty history, to tangibly improve peoples’ lives and to stop the degradation of our environment.  We must make the next fifteen years a turning point in human history.  Each and every one of us has a responsibility to translate the Sustainable Development Goals into realities. By doing so, we will build a better world.


Thank you



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