ECOSOC: Operational Activities for Development Segment

Statement by Ms. Berit Fladby, Policy Director for UN Development Activities, at the Economic and Social Council on Operational Activities for Development Segment, 1 March 2017.


Let me first use this opportunity to express Norway’s support to the steps that the Secretary-General has already taken to make the UN more coherent. They are also well in line with the proposals presented by the UN70, a joint initiative by Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Jordan, Mexico and Norway.

As a response to the call in the QCPR, Norway encourages the Secretary-General to present bold and analytically well-founded proposals for further reform later this year.

In our view, the 2016 QCPR forms a good basis for further reform in individual UN funds, programmes, specialized agencies and relevant entities in the Secretariat as well as in the UN development system as a whole. We welcome the emphasis that Member States must do their part in following up the provisions of the resolution in the respective governing bodies.

The marching order in the resolution is clear: Support countries, at their request, in their efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda in a coherent and integrated manner. Moreover, the resolution asks for a UN development system that is ‘more strategic, accountable, transparent, collaborative, efficient, effective and results-oriented.’

While we appreciate the progress made by the UNDS over the last years, we believe that there is a substantial way to go in order to meet these aspirations.


I would like to convey our expectations with regard to some of the provisions in the QCPR:

First, results-based management is the clue if the system is going to deliver on the 2030 Agenda in a focused, efficient and effective manner. We encourage all UNDS entities to continue to strengthen results-based management, including risk management and to create an effective results culture in the entities. 

In order to improve the quality of common planning and results reporting at country level, we would reiterate the need for developing common methodologies. Moreover, we would like to see that all entities reflect the relevant provisions of the QCPR in their new strategic plans and accompanying results frameworks.

Second, the proof of the ability of the UNDS to deliver collectively on the 2030 Agenda will be found at the country level. It is promising that 57 countries have asked the UN to adopt the Delivering as One modality. Success in these and other countries requires that the UN country team under the leadership of the Resident Coordinator, and in close collaboration with the host government, is able to make the United Nations Development Framework (UNDAF) and its implementation strategic.

Three fundamental prerequisites for achieving this: 1) Full implementation by all UN country team members of the Management and Accountability System; 2) Adherence to the UNDG Standard Operating Procedures (including Business Operations Strategies); and 3) substantially enhanced common resource mobilization under the leadership of the Resident Coordinator.

We urge members of the country teams to contribute to the capacity of the Resident Coordinator Office. The Resident Coordinator system needs to be properly funded. This year, we hope to see that all organizations pay their full share of the cost-sharing arrangement and that members of the Fifth Committee finally can agree to cover the share of the Secretariat.

In crises-affected countries, a ‘whole of system approach’ would mean to move in the direction of ‘One Country – One UN Framework’. The United Nations Strategic Framework for Lebanon (2017-2020) shows that it is possible.

Third, investment in women and girls is of fundamental importance and has a multiplier effect for achieving sustained and inclusive economic growth, poverty eradication and sustainable development.

We urge all entities of the United Nations development system to enhance mainstreaming by fully implementing the System-wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women.

Fourth, leadership and concerted action at headquarters level is ‘a must’. We urge the heads of the agencies to pass clear messages in their respective organizations with regard to full implementation of the QCPR. 

We also encourage the UNDS, through the High-Level Committee on Management and the United Nations Development Group, to continue their good work on harmonizing and simplifying policies and procedures. In this regard, we expect that the UNDS will operate according to the principle of mutual recognition of best practices in terms of policies and procedures.

Fifth, there is a mismatch between what Member States expect from the system and the way it is funded. We look forward to the proposal by the Secretary-General on how funding can follow function.

We remain concerned about the decreasing trend of core resources, with uneven burden sharing among Member States, and the increasing trend of strictly earmarked support.  It is our view that the easiest way to increase the core resources in the short-term, is to fully adhere to the principle of full cost recovery, and we urge the entities of the United Nations development system to take necessary steps to this effect.

The 2030 Agenda and the emphasis of integrated approaches in the QCPR should serve as incentives for enhancing support to inter-agency funding mechanisms.


Concluding, Norway appreciates the Operational Segment of ECOSOC as a forum for system-wide coordination and guidance. However, we think that there is still scope for making the annual reports of the Secretary-General on implementation of the QCPR more evidence-based and analytical. For that purpose, we would urge the Secretariat and the United Nations Development Group jointly to update and improve the monitoring framework.

Next year, the Operational Segment will in addition look into three reports from the Secretary-General asked for in the QCPR that are crucial to bring the reform efforts to another level. If the Operational Segment is going to live up to expectations, we believe that it might be advisable to adjust the way the segment is organized. 

Thank you.