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Annual Session Executive Board UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS

Joint cross-regional statement on Item 6: "Interactive Dialogue with the UNDP administrator" at the 2021 Annual Session of the Executive Board of UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS by Deputy Permanent Representative Odd-Inge Kvalheim, 8 June 2021.

I am delivering this Statement on behalf of Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Kingdom of the Netherlands, New Zealand, Somalia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and my own country Norway.

President,

Development took a big hit in 2020, The COVID-19 pandemic may have pushed some 100 million people into poverty, the worst setback in a generation. 

15 months after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, we recognize the need to work together to find solutions for what is not only a health emergency, but indeed also a development emergency.

UNDP has proven its agility in the face of this unprecedented pandemic, and has succeeded in mobilizing financing, enacting digital transformation, and utilizing Accelerator Labs to enhance development initiatives.

We congratulate UNDP on results achieved through the strategic plan period from 2018 till now, and UNDP’s demonstrated ability to adapt to new development settings and challenges, be it UN reform or a global pandemic.

The reports presented to the Board demonstrates the broadness of UNDP’s field of operations across the three development settings and six signature solutions, with the ambition of making systemic changes and the need for structural transformations - helping partner countries achieve the SDGs.

I wish to take this opportunity to share our reflections on the new Strategic Plan.

As it has been proven so many times by yourself, Mr Administrator, UNDP’s commitment to climate action is robust and forward-looking. You have our support in ensuring that the next Strategic Plan supports people and the planet to thrive and prosper.

In this complex landscape, the unique support to effective, accountable, inclusive and democratic governance continues to be a core focus area for UNDP, including new, emerging areas as e-governance and recent work on misinformation. We look forward to UNDP’s continued leadership and even deeper engagement on democratic governance reflected in the new strategic plan period.

The report shows UNDP’s strengthened ability to integrate gender perspectives in its activities, but in crisis and conflict zones, women’s leadership needs more attention. Building on UNDP’s valuable experiences and expertise working in crisis, what kind of actions, including partnerships, are needed to achieve better results in this area, and what are UNDP’s next planned steps in addressing these issues, including strengthening a gender-based approach across all signature solutions and bearing in mind also its specialized knowledge and expertise on governance?

We encourage UNDP to introduce more analysis in its annual results reporting, including on overall development trends, and on UNDPs contribution to change over time.

Going forward into the new Strategic Plan it is important to reflect on lessons learned from the current strategic plan:

UNDP is well-positioned to increase its role and strengthen its collaboration with all relevant partners working in humanitarian-development-peace settings – from joint analysis, to joined-up planning and coherent actions in support of collective outcomes. We note that poverty eradication and democratic governance continue to be the most transformative areas of UNDP’s work, helping to build more gender-equal and resilient societies.

The internal evaluations carried out in 2020 highlighted what has been working well, notably the capacity of UNDP to strengthen local capacities, protect the rights of vulnerable groups, rehabilitate services and infrastructure and promote social cohesion in crisis contexts, and what requires improvements, in particular interventions fragmentation and shortcomings related to the management of results and knowledge. How do you intend to respond to these recommendations?

We also see a continued role for UNDP to underpin the transformation required to deliver across the SDGs and would like to hear more about how UNDP envisages its “integrator role” in future, and how this will be monitored and reported on.

Lastly, we would like to know how UNDP’s comparative strengths will be articulated in, and communicated through, the next strategic plan?

Let me conclude, Mr. Administrator, by reiterating our support to UNDP.

Thank you.