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UNDP: Annual Report of the Administrator

Statement by Permanent Representative Mr. Geir O. Pedersen at Annual Session of the Executive Board of UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS, 30 May 2017.

| Executive Board

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President,

The last four years have been exceptionally busy for UNDP. UNDP has been through major organizational changes, introduced new results management tools and adapted to new global policy agendas and expectations. Simultaneously, UNDP had to cope with major reductions in its resource base.

During the next years UNDP will have to continue to make adjustments to better respond to our ever-changing world and the new demands put on the UN system. In particular on how to respond to the 2030 Agenda and align itself with the Secretary General's reform agenda. With limited resources available, it is more important than ever that UNDP prioritize and get it priorities right.

UNDP must be able to adapt. We are encouraged by UNDP's determination to cooperate closer with its sister agencies, strengthening the UN Country Teams, coordinating with the Secretariat and delineating more clearly the role of the resident coordinator. We especially welcome the proposal to contribute actively to the Secretary-General’s prevention agenda as well as follow up on the humanitarian-development nexus.

Economic transition and economic recovery after crisis should remain important areas of UNDP’s work.  And we fully support the emphasis on inclusiveness and sustainability. However, we note that references to economic growth, employment creation and productive capacities are less visible in the draft strategic plan. It should be clearer how UNDP will contribute to enabling environments for sustainable economic growth.  Modernizing government systems, increasing integrity in public institutions and strengthening rule of law contribute to enabling environment for economic growth. These are areas where UNDP has a comparative advantage. The strategic plan evaluation suggests that UNDP has not fully explored opportunities to build partnerships with the private sector, and we welcome the increased ambition of UNDP in this regard.

President,

UNDP is right in focusing more on how to improve its capacity at the country level in order to deliver better results and advice to the partner countries. While the annual report highlights how external factors impede performance, we would have appreciated equal attention in the annual report to internal challenges.  We encourage UNDP to work relentlessly to establish a reputation as a world leader in effective and efficient results management.  This is a necessary and forceful tool in UNDP’s resource mobilization efforts.

There is no lack of advice on what needs to be done.  We are especially looking forward to seeing the results from UNDP's efforts to improve the monitoring and evaluation capacity at the country level. It also appears that there are opportunities for improvement of all phases of project management. And when weaknesses in procurement management become a recurring issue in the audit reports, we get concerned. We expect effective follow up on this.

Regarding gender equality, UNDP has achieved much over the last four years, but is also lagging behind in some aspects. We welcome that UNDP is proposing a robust approach to mainstreaming of gender equality in the next strategic plan and in this regard we underline the need for adequate indicators to measure progress as well as predictable funding.

President,

UNDP’s difficult financial situation is a great concern to us. While we appreciate UNDP's efforts to reduce administrative costs as well as to protect the operational side of the budget, we  realize that UNDP is now at a critical point where further cost-cutting measures on the institutional side may have a direct impact on the organization’s ability to deliver results.  We strongly encourage UNDP to continue your active resource mobilization and efforts to expedite cost recovery from all categories of contributions.

President,

Norway has always been a strong supporter of UNDP and will remain so.  We look forward to the arrival of Achim Steiner as the new administrator and to cooperating closely with him in the finalization of the strategic plan and the integrated budget.