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UNDP, UNFPA, UNOPS: Consultation on the revised Integrated Budget, 2018-2021, including change management

Mr. Chair,

Norway will hold this statement on behalf of Sweden, Finland, Denmark and my own country Norway.

Once again Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland would like to thank UNFPA for its immensely important work for the sexual and reproductive health and rights of girls, women and adolescents.

We thank you for and appreciate the ongoing reporting to the board on the budget process.

We commend UNFPA’s recent fundraising efforts and urges all donors in a position do so to give its contributions in form of regular resources.

We also thank you for the information shared in relation to the change management process and in the revised integrated budget itself.

We appreciate the separate budget lines to safeguard the crucial functions of internal revisions, evaluations and not at least UN reform.

We welcome UNFPA’s strengthened field focus with more resources dedicated to country programs and the commitment to channel all new funding to programming.

Having said that, we note that UNFPA already is among the best in class regarding its share of funds being programmed at country level. This trend continued to strengthen in 2017 with the country office’s share of the total program and institutional budget increasing to 81 %. If continued strengthening of the country offices are dependent on further reductions of the institutional budget, we fear that this may weaken UNFPA’s capability to maintain and develop its normative role.

Regarding the presented format of the budget – we appreciate that UNFPA now presents the budget in the context of the Strategic plan’s four outcomes areas. However, we are still missing the budget in relation to the Strategic Plan at output level.  This is essential for us to understand how UNFPA spends its resources in relation to UNFPA’s mandate and actual work.

This is also important in order to be able to have an effective and meaningful strategic funding dialogue in September. We very much appreciate the thinking from UNFPA shared at the informal briefing in terms of how to ensure a more effective financing of the organization. We are committed to ensure that budget is fully funded and that resources are aligned to the agreed priorities but we need a financial report as well as and analysis from the secretariat well in advance.

Then to the revisions of the integrated budget:

We applaud UNFPA for the continuous strive to becoming a more efficient and effective organization. Hence also undertaking the CRR and we are looking forward to learn more about the plan and expected results from the change management process.

UNFPAs strategic plan is agreed upon and we stand ready to collaborate with UNFPA, the board, governments and other partners to ensure that the strategic plan is implemented.

As major donors to UNFPAs core budget we would like to underline that what is important is NOT the relative size of the institutional budget in relation to the program budget, but that UNFPA is organized to reach its goals in the strategic plan in the most efficient way.

With regards to the proposed CRR, our position is the following:

At an overarching level, we believe UNFPA’s executive management is best informed and positioned to make decisions on the organizational set up.

UNFPA has said that CRR should not be a cost cutting exercise and for us it is also not clear that simply cutting costs at Headquarters will lead to more efficiency and contribute to a more efficient implementation of the strategic plan.

We appreciate the CRR, but unless we see the analysis behind that assesses the potential consequences we fear that the suggested changes may lead to unintended negative consequences.

Based on the defined functions for UNFPA and the model of strategizing the presence in different countries, we would like to better understand if the suggested moves of positions will enable UNFPA to perform even better.

In this process, safeguarding UNFPA’s normative and global role is for us of utmost importance.

Technical and control functions like internal audit and evaluation must be secured to maintain UNFPAs credibility.

To conclude. What matters to us is that UNFPA themselves presents how they most efficiently can reach the goals in the strategic plan.