The 2030 Agenda and the changing development landscape imply transformative change. We need a UN Development System that is results-oriented, strategic, coordinated and focused, doing “the right things” in “the right place” to support member states in implementing the 2030 Agenda and sustaining peace.
The ambition should be to make the next Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy resolution an instrument for change. For this reason, we support the recommendation of the Secretary General to change the structure of the resolution, starting with what we want the UNDS to do and then attempting to agree on the major drivers for change. It is our view that a step-wise approach is the realistic path to follow.
There are issues that could be agreed upon during the upcoming negotiations while others will require further consideration before concluding. In order to make the resolution an instrument for change, we also need to give it a name and a format which is easy to understand and use in our work.
Let me highlight five major issues:
First, on functions: While we generally agree on the functions of the UN Development System proposed in the report of the Secretary General, we believe one important task is missing, notably to contribute to prevention and resilience. With regard to conflict prevention, the so-called “sustaining peace resolution” is an important point of reference.
It is also our view that the UN Development System needs to adopt differentiated modes of engagement, depending on the country context, in order to ensure that major efforts of the UNDS and its resources are concentrated in countries with the greatest needs, including Least Developed Countries and other countries with special needs. Direct support and service delivery by the UNDS should be reserved for such countries.
Second, funding is a major driver for change. Core resources remain crucial, especially for the normative functions and the policy advice of the UNDS in host countries, and we would like to see some improvement in the burden sharing.
One way of enhancing core resources would be to ensure full cost recovery. At the same time, we need to go for more “core-like” funding modalities, in particular inter-agency funding modalities that can help the UNDS to respond to the call for coherent policy advice and integrated approaches.
Third, the UNDS needs to deliver as one at country level: We would expect full implementation of the UNDG Standard Operating Procedures and mandatory Business Operation Strategies in all countries. Harmonized planning periods among all agencies and full acceptance of the principle of mutual recognition of each other’s procedures and business practices would facilitate this.
With special reference to fragile country contexts, we underscore the importance of working towards common strategic frameworks according to the principle of one country – one UN framework, based on common analyses of the root causes of poverty, vulnerability and conflict. As a general comment, we would like to see that the resolution underlines enhanced and more systematic collaboration with the World Bank and other multilateral finance institutions.
Fourth, a coherent response to the needs and priorities of host countries requires an independent UN Resident Coordinator with authority. An independent position requires, we believe, that the role of the UN Resident Coordinator is separated from the role as Resident Representative of UNDP. In order to move from “empowerment” to “authority”, several steps must be taken, inter alia by giving the Resident Coordinator decision making power, defining minimum requirements for common resources mobilization under the leadership of the RC as well as ensuring sufficient capacities at the RC Office.
Finally, we support the Secretary General’s emphasis on human rights-based approaches and gender equality as prerequisites for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and for realizing our common intention of “leaving no one behind”. It is therefore crucial that they are integrated and strengthened in all aspects of work of the UN Development System and hence reflected in all relevant parts of the resolution.
We look forward to constructive negotiations and trust that we will agree on a resolution that will serve as an instrument for getting the UN Development System that we need for the 2030 Agenda.