Fifty-sixth General Assembly
14th Meeting (AM)
INADEQUATE RESOURCES KEY ISSUE IN UN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION,
SECOND COMMITTEE IS TOLD
Constraints, Priorities of Donors Also a Factor, Says Australia’s Representative
While there were a number of challenges facing the United Nations in the area of development cooperation, the key issue was inadequate resources, Pakistan’s representative told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) this morning as it began its discussion of operational activities for development.
To ensure that United Nations operational activities better responded to the increasing development needs of developing countries, he said, sufficient resources should be provided on a secure and predictable basis. There was an urgent need for recognition by the donor community of its differentiated responsibilities in realizing the goal of universal development and providing the necessary resources for operational activities.
It was also important, noted Australia’s representative, to acknowledge that donors too faced funding constraints and competing priorities. It was their responsibility to ensure that their finite resources were targeted most effectively, to achieve maximum development benefits. Efforts to improve the impact of development programmes and to better measure and report on them would be important for attracting core resources.
In performing a review of operational activities, said the representative of Ghana, Member States too often took refuge in the principles of universality, neutrality, country-specificity and the goal of a coherent and integrated response –- as if mere reiteration would make it so. In reality, discussion and decision-making on operational activities had suffered from either imprecision or an absence of universal consensus on the principles and objectives, with inimical consequences for operational activities. That was why there had been such ambivalence in determining and meeting their funding requirements.
With regard to financial contributions, Belgium’s representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said that since the funds and programmes had introduced a multi-year funding frameworks (MYFF) approach, the decision to terminate the annual Pledging Conference should be taken. As happened last year, the European Union would accordingly not take part in that Conference.
A vital component of results-based management, he continued, was the monitoring and evaluation systems in operational organizations. In that regard, there were a number of weaknesses in the United Nations system, in particular shortcomings in the monitoring of projects by country offices and Headquarters.
There were also major difficulties in learning lessons and profiting from recommendations made in evaluations.
Introducing reports this morning were: Patrizio Civili, Assistant Secretary-General of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs; Safiatou Ba-N’Daw, Director of the Special Unit for Technical Cooperation Among Developing Countries; and Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Iran (on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China), Russian Federation, India, Belarus, Japan, Cuba, China and Venezuela.
The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. to continue its consideration of operational activities for development.
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to begin its consideration of operational activities for development, including the triennial policy review of those activities and economic and technical cooperation among developing countries.
The Committee had before it a note by the Secretary-General on the activities of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) (document A/56/174), which provides a review and update on the programme and activities of the Fund for 2000. UNIFEM and its partners had a unique opportunity to review progress towards gender equality through involvement in the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, held to assess progress made since the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995). UNIFEM produced Progress of the World’s Women 2000, a new biennial report to support the review process.
In 2000, states the report, UNIFEM’s work on peace produced momentum in the context of its work to introduce the issue of women and peace and security onto the agenda of the Security Council. The Fund was active in providing support to the Government of Namibia during its presidency of the Council in preparing an open debate on the issue. That was preceded by a non-governmental organization briefing under the Arria Formula, which culminated in the adoption of Council resolution 1325 (2000), on women and peace and security.
In October 2000, the report continues, UNIFEM and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed an agreement allowing UNIFEM to execute projects or programmes in its areas of comparative advantage on the Programme’s behalf. The agreement opens up new modalities for cooperation and supports the continuing efforts to strengthen the synergy and further clarify the relationship between the two organizations.
In the area of finances, 2000 saw a significant increase in total contributions –- more than 20 per cent over the previous year. Diversification of the Fund’s resource base remains a critical priority and one that continues to offer challenges.
Also before the Committee was a report of the Secretary-General on operational activities of the United Nations for international development cooperation: Progress in the implementation of the multi-year funding frameworks and evaluation of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (A/56/70-E/2001/58, Add.1 and 2).
The report focuses on the multi-year funding frameworks (MYFF) as part of ongoing efforts to strengthen strategic resources management in United Nations funds and programmes and to reverse the declining trend in core resources. The MYFF was developed by the executive boards of United Nations funds and programmes in 1998 to create a sustainable funding strategy for UNDP, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Food Programme. Its aim is to increase the core funding of those organizations on a predictable, continuous and assured basis.
The report concludes that the MYFF has not thus far secured a reversal of negative trends in funding for those agencies and programmes. Decline and stagnation in funding affects all in terms of a lack of synergy and a possible distortion of the priorities that the United Nations system is asked to support. Thus, the impact of operational activities for development of the United Nations system can be enhanced only by a substantial increase in their core funding on a predictable, continuous and assured basis.
The report adds that the continued stagnation of regular resource funding since the adoption of MYFF impairs the effectiveness of the changes implemented over the past two to three years. It is also important to reduce the over-dependence of United Nations funds and programmes on a limited number of donors. The traditional pledging conference held in November 2000 yielded modest results -- among other things, none of the major donors pledged because of the timing of their budget cycles. In that regard, there is a clear need for the intergovernmental bodies to reconsider the role of the pledging conference held each November.
Among its recommendations, the report states that increased multi-year pledging is necessary as a floor from which core resource commitments can continue to