2C: Joint Statement

Statement made by Norway on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway in the Second Committee General Discussion on Operational Activities for Development, 14 October 2022

I am delivering this Statement on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland and my own country Norway.

The ambitious reform we agreed on is being implemented and after three years the reforms are mostly moving in the right direction, not least thanks to the many dedicated and committed staff members from across the UN system.

The goal continues to be to improve the ability of the UN development system to assist countries in accelerating their implementation of the 2030 Agenda in a more coherent, integrated, efficient and effective way.

The true test of our success will be whether persons and communities experience actual improvement in their lives, in their environment and in their societies. We must hear from stakeholders at country level what works and what does not.

UN reform is a complex task, and the UN entities must align all their policies and procedures with the goals of reform.

Transparency is crucial for our confidence in the UN system and reform, to enable us to engage actively and meaningfully in the governing bodies and intergovernmental processes, as well as at country level. The UNOPS-case has highlighted the significance of this aspect, and the importance of all internal system-wide guidance documents and relevant reports being publicly available as well as drafted in an easily accessible and understandable way.

The QCPR asks for “whole of system” approaches in conflict-affected countries. A strengthened nexus approach should be our next target. We would like to learn how the reform strengthens the linkages between humanitarian, development and peacebuilding work at country level.


Allow me to highlight some areas we see as particularly important:

The resident coordinator system. It is crucial that the resident coordinators are genuinely empowered to lead the UNDS efforts at country level. As we – the Member States, have asked for. This will only happen with the full implementation of the Management and Accountability Framework.

The draft RC system Results Framework. This will be important for our ability to monitor the extent to which the system is delivering on our expectations.

The UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework must reflect the UN’s comparative advantage in each country. The UN cannot do everything everywhere. The Common Country Analysis, which examines the root causes for inequality, poverty and vulnerability, is a crucial entry point.

Leaving no one behind. UN engagement should contribute to reducing inequalities and promoting human rights and international norms and standards.

Gender equality and empowerment of women has a multiplier effect for achieving sustained and inclusive growth, poverty eradication and sustainable development. The Nordic Countries expects full implementation of the UN System-wide Action Plan on Gender Equality.

Funding. The present funding pattern continues to be an obstacle to reform, and the insufficient funding of the new resident coordinator system remains a concern.

Culture. The strong top-down leadership and political will that have driven implementation include cultural and behavioral changes that can make the reform self-sustaining. Key challenges to the reform include embedding ownership and buy-in across both UN entities and member states, where possible inconsistencies in HQ and field levels lead to behavior misaligned to global commitments.

We must keep the positive momentum, continue to work for the common goal of a coherent coordinated UN at country level.

Finally, let me assure you of the Nordic Countries continued full engagement and support in making the reform of the UN development system a success.