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Unicef: Repositioning the UN development system

Statement on behalf of Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Italy, the Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey, UK and Norway by Senior Adviser Marit Halvsik Lillealtern, 5 february 2019.

| Executive Board

Thank you, Mr. President

I make this statement on behalf of Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Italy, the Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey, UK and my own country Norway.

Let me start by thanking UNICEF for the thorough and informative background note. It is an important step on the way to making the necessary adjustments to UNICEFs planning, financing and results reporting in response to the expectations in the QCPR and resolution 72/279. We welcome UNICEFs efforts to provide system-wide support for the repositioning exercise and to contribute to system-wide coherence. We commend UNICEF’s early financial contribution under the expanded cost sharing arrangement, and we appreciate that UNICEF was one of the six initial organizations to sign an MoU on mutual recognition of policies and practices.

In order to ensure follow-up of UNICEFs stated commitments to reform, it is our view that certain issues need further looking into;

First of all, as the new resident coordinators now are in place, we expect UNICEF to instruct its country representatives to report directly to the Resident Coordinator, not only to their headquarters. Direct reporting to the RC is critical to a more coherent effort by the UN at country level.

Secondly, the resolution 72/279 established UNDAF as the main planning instrument at country level. We consider strengthened common country assessments grounded in human rights and the principle of Leaving No One Behind essential for the UNDAF to play this role.

We urge UNICEF, as well as other funds and programmes, to ensure conformity between CPD cycles and UNDAF cycles through the active use of CPD extensions. Additionally, we encourage simplification of the CPD process, as called for in QCPR, in close collaboration with other UN funds and programmes and based on the common priorities in the UNDAF. 

Thirdly, we encourage UNICEF to support non-resident agencies in strengthening their impact at the country level. Working in multi-stakeholder partnerships should become the organizing principle to support the SDGs, and where applicable this includes making use of the invaluable expertise non-resident agencies can bring to the fore.

We call on UNICEF to engage with the ongoing funding dialogue in order to arrive at a focused and ambitious funding compact. This will serve as the basis for improved funding in exchange for commitments such as improved reporting, transparency, efficiency and accountability for results. Part of this should be a simple and transparent cost recovery framework to build further trust in the strategic allocation of regular resources.

We also wish to see UNICEF make changes to its administration and organizational efficiency in line with the JIU’s recommendations, as pragmatic first steps towards meeting the SG’s targets of 50% of UNCTs in common premises by 2021 and fully shared services by 2022.

Mr. President,

The reform efforts provide an opportunity to strengthen the collective accountability of the UNDS, and have raised the level of ambition beyond what was earlier agreed for the New York-based funds and programmes through the Common Chapter. We therefore encourage UNICEF to take the agreed reforms forward in the Mid-term Review of the current Strategic Plan and adjust its level of ambition accordingly.

Many of the policies, guidelines and regulations UNICEF needs for it to be able to fully analyze the need for adjustments in its own policies and procedures, have not yet been concluded and agreed upon. It is therefore understandably difficult for UNICEF to present a clear plan for its response at this time. However, we do ask that such a plan, with a tentative timeline, is presented to the Board at the Annual Meeting in June.

Thank you.