UNDP Southern Sudan makes poverty reduction a key priority

Juba, 15 November 2009 - World leaders have pledged to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, which include the overarching goal of cutting extreme poverty in half. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), using its worldwide network, is coordinating global and national efforts to reach these Goals.

‘‘Following many years of war, which required sustained emergency assistance, Southern Sudan is slowly beginning to shift towards recovery,’’ said Mr. Joe Feeney, UNDP Southern Sudan’s Head of Office. ’’In light of this new reality, UNDP is changing the way it does business in the region.’’

UNDP has re-structured its operations in Southern Sudan to make poverty reduction a key priority. Under the leadership of Ms. Mandisa Mashologu, UNDP’s new Poverty Reduction and MDG Unit will provide support to national and sub-national counter-parts to plan, monitor, evaluate, and implement poverty reduction initiatives. It will also focus on consolidating a number of related projects and implementing new ones.

A top line initiative includes producing and disseminating National Human Development Reports to inform and influence policy. These reports will serve to strengthen national and state level capacities for data collection and management, in order to support strategic and annual planning efforts.

In close collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP), the Poverty Reduction and MDG Unit will also work to improve aid management and coordination. International assistance plays a major role in expanding the social safety net in Southern Sudan, and effective aid management will be crucial to ensuring that donor funds are targeted appropriately.

In addition, the Unit will lead on implementing policy and regulatory reforms for micro, small, and medium-scale enterprises to improve social and economic opportunities for the poor. The private sector is a vehicle of growth and pro-viding greater access to markets, goods, and services is vital.

Improving the delivery and usage of the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is also part the Unit’s remit. HIV/AIDS, in particular, is a key issue in the region and national institutions must be supported to mitigates its impact and prevent its further spread.

The fight against poverty requires a better understanding of what causes poverty, who is poor and how poverty changes over time. Many developing countries — including Southern Sudan — lack consistent, reliable and timely data on poverty and inequality. UNDP will fill this gap by supporting the establishment of a monitoring and assessment system. It is hoped that, as it develops, the data generated will be used to inform evidence-based policy-making aimed reducing poverty and advancing human development.

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