Remarks by UN Rwanda Resident Coordinator at National Forum on Knowledge Sharing for Inclusive and Sustainable Community Development

Remarks by Dr. Fodé Ndiaye, UN Rwanda Resident Coordinator
National Forum on Knowledge Sharing for Inclusive and Sustainable Community Development
 
Mwaramutse mwese! Good morning to you all. 
 
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to this National Forum on Knowledge Sharing for Inclusive and Sustainable New Community Development.
 
Allow me to start with an expression of sincere gratitude to the Government of Rwanda, and in particular to the Ministry of the Environment, for allowing us to partner with you on this exciting initiative.  In the same breath, I would be remiss if I did not also recognize FONERWA – the Rwanda’s Green Fund, which served  
 
as a centre for operations with the Government and provided the excellent leadership, management and technical skills, and in whose very able hands the Centre of Excellence will continue.  
 
Also I would like to recognize and thank His Excellency Mr. KIM Eung-joong, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea and the Korea International Cooperation Agency – KOIKA – which provided not only the needed funds but also the core vision of Saemaul Undong, also known as the New Community Movement or New Village Movement – which, as you know, is based on principles of community-driven “bottom-up” development (can-do spirit, self-reliance and cooperation). On behalf of UNDP and the UN System in Rwanda, we thank you for your continued support to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in Rwanda and beyond. We look forward to many more years of continued collaboration. 
 
New Village Movement was a rural development programme implemented in the early 1970s that significantly reduced rural poverty in the Republic of Korea by increasing household incomes, improving basic infrastructure and services, revitalizing local communities and empowering women. 
 
The genesis of this project was in 2014 when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched a global initiative called “Saemaul Initiative towards Inclusive and Sustainable New Communities (ISNC)”. 
 
The initiative focuses on scaling up local development solutions for sustainable livelihoods, drawing on the experiences of the Korea New Village Movement.  Rwanda was selected along with five other countries in Asia and Latin America to roll-out the global initiative. Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Bolivia and Uganda joined Rwanda with the expectation that lessons would be shared from country to country. Indeed, the UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner has said such South-South knowledge-sharing is crucial for ending poverty and achieving the global goals.  
 
This modality is so important to the United Nations System as a whole that UN Secretary General Antonio Gutierrez, in his 20 December report to the UN General Assembly titled “repositioning the United Nations Development System to deliver on the 2030 Agenda” said he is prioritizing efforts to “invigorate our support to South-South Cooperation.” The Secretary General added that “leveraging the abilities of all actors in development and enabling the fast-growing strengths of developing countries to inform and support each other is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda.“
 
I am sure the Secretary General would be pleased with the progress being made here in Rwanda with the Centre of Excellence (CoE), to collect and share the best practices of Rwanda’s homegrown integrated local development. Through capturing, documenting and facilitating dialogue around both successes and challenges, this system also will be able to feed into the development challenges taking place in neighbouring countries. 
 
With us today are government representatives from Uganda, who I understand are considering developing a similar Centre of Excellence in their country, through which they will be able to document and share their many successes in promoting local economic development in their communities, thus localizing the SDGs and engaging communities in developing and supporting effective solutions to the challenges they face on a daily basis. 
 
As I conclude my remarks, allow me to emphasize the tremendous progress that Rwanda is making under the strong leadership of HE Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda. It is well known that Rwanda met most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the end of 2015 through strong economic growth and substantial improvements in living standards, with a two-thirds drop in child mortality and near-universal primary school enrollment.  
 
A strong focus on the type of homegrown policies and initiatives that one can see in the Centre of Excellence has contributed to significant improvement in access to services and human development indicators. The poverty rate dropped from 44% in 2011 to 39% in 2014. The Social Transformation Pillar of Rwanda National Strategy for Transformation is aligned with the transformational aspirations of Vision 2020 and Vision 2050. The latter aims to reach upper-middle income country status by 2035 and high-income country status by 2050 with the aim of providing a high standard of living for its people by 2050. 
 
On the agenda, results of comparative analysis on Saemaul approach and home-grown solutions in Rwanda will be presented (amongst others) in order to share that knowledge on rural community Development in Rwanda. Through this online system, we hope that Government of Rwanda will continue to document and share more of the successes with other countries as the country progresses along the road to achieving the set development vision. 
 
I thank you for your kind attention and wish you all fruitful deliberations.
 
Murakoze Cyane, Merci Beaucoup, Turikumwe.