|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fourth General Assembly
10th & 11th Meetings (AM & PM)
Speakers Say Funding for UN Development Activities Inadequate, Too Unpredictable,
as Economic Committee Takes up Operational Activities for Development
Delegates Also Note Monitoring, Evaluation Capacities Must Be Improved,
Express Support for Proposed Financial Data and Reporting System for Activities
Criticizing funding for development activities as inadequate and too unpredictable, several speakers this afternoon called for a smooth incoming flow of cash and more balance between funding levels for core and non-care activities, as the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) took up its agenda item on operational activities for development.
Development aid was a lifeline for many developing countries to meet the millennium targets, but new challenges such as the economic and food crisis and climate change were thwarting their best efforts, speakers said. To rectify that, the United Nations must take a more proactive role to ensure that donors lived up to the commitments in official development assistance and that operational activities were carried out effectively and in line with recipient countries’ specific needs.
Mozambique’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said contributions to the Organization’s operational activities for development reached $19.1 billion in 2007, but a good share of the increase was for supplementary funding to the detriment of core resources. The Secretary-General’s proposal to build a comprehensive and sustainable financial data and reporting system for those activities was a good idea, as it could help bring greater coherence and synergy among United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, as well as harmonize contributions of the United Nations and the Development Assistance Committee.
There was also room for improvement in programming and funding for United Nations humanitarian assistance, he said. The Organization’s efforts to respond to natural disasters were laudable, but they also should be reviewed in order to improve coordination, efficiency and effectiveness, bearing in mind that United Nations agencies had varying roles in disaster management and recovery.
Indonesia’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), agreed, and said the United Nations monitoring and evaluation capacities must be improved, particularly at the country level. The Organization and Member States should collaborate more closely to build national and regional capacity for early warning systems that complemented broader disaster preparedness and mitigation initiatives. The United Nations should provide leadership and clear guidance while strengthening cooperation with national and regional partners. It should also thoroughly assess the “Delivering as One” voluntary pilot programme, now present in eight countries.
Sweden’s representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the “Delivering as One” approach held great promise with respect to better efficiency and effectiveness. But, the United Nations must do more, particularly in the light of the current economic crisis, to reform its activities. One area in need of further improvement was the United Nations Resident Coordinator system -- the “backbone” of development coordination at the country level. He also called for an assessment of whether the “skills mix” of country teams corresponded to the tasks dictated by national priorities.
Also keen on strengthening the Resident Coordinator System was Malawi’s representative, who also spoke on behalf of Mozambique, the Netherlands, Norway, Rwanda, the United Republic of Tanzania and the United Kingdom. The fact that States had agreed on the Management and Accountability Framework was an important step, but now every United Nations agency needed to implement the proposal. The right people with the right skills had to be sent to their posts at the right time, especially in countries that were just emerging from conflict.
Sudan’s representative, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, pointed to several principles that should guide development. Governments should be in the driver’s seat, leading and informing United Nations operations in the field, and not the other way around. Governments should decide on their own priorities, select their development partners and determine the nature of the relationship with those partners. He also echoed the concerns of many speakers when he lamented that most donors were not on track to meet their commitments to increase official development assistance. Since the Group of 8 (G8) Summit at Gleneagles in 2005, official development assistance had increased at only half the rate required to meet the target of $130 billion by 2010.
Turning to South-South cooperation, Mexico’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, said it should complement, not substitute or detract from North-South Cooperation. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) should allocate sufficient funding for the Special Unit on South-South cooperation, and States should agree during the conference on South-South cooperation in Nairobi in December on a document on how such cooperation could contribute to social justice.
During the meeting, several United Nations officials presented reports for the Committee’s consideration. Nikhil Seth, Director, Office of Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), introduced the Secretary-General’s report on comprehensive statistical analysis of financing in 2007 of the United Nations operational activities for development. Mounir Zahran, Vice Chairman of the Joint Inspection Unit, introduced the report on national execution of technical cooperation projects, and Amin Adnan, Director, Secretariat of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board (CEB), introduced the Secretary-General’s note containing his comments and those of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board on the Unit’s report.
Also presenting reports were Ines Alberdi, Executive Director, United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), who introduced the Secretary-General’s note on UNIFEM’s activities, and Cosmas Gitta, Chief, Division for Policy Dialogue and Advocacy, Special Unit for South-South cooperation, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), who introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the state of South-South cooperation.
The Committee also concluded its debate on macroeconomic policy questions, hearing interventions from delegates on the need to address the root causes of the current economic and financial crisis, provide external debt relief to developing countries, design innovative mechanisms to stabilize commodity prices, create jobs and fuel sustainable enterprise.
Also making statements today were the representatives of Malawi (in his national capacity), Guinea, Iran, Venezuela, Bangladesh, St. Kitts and Nevis (on behalf of the Caribbean Community), Colombia, China, Kenya, Belarus, Peru, Switzerland, Turkey, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Ecuador, Cuba, Thailand, Japan, Ethiopia, Russian Federation, Republic of Korea, Algeria, Qatar, Morocco, Brazil, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Egypt.
The representatives of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) also spoke.
In addition, a representative of the Common Fund for Commodities made a statement.
The Second Committee will meet again at 10 a.m., on Thursday, 15 October, to begin its consideration of follow-up to and implementation of the outcome of the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development and the 2008 Review Conference.
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to conclude its debate on macroeconomic policy questions and begin its consideration of operational activities for development of the United Nations system and South-South cooperation for development.
Before the Committee was the Secretary-General’s report entitled comprehensive statistical analysis of the financing of operational activities for development of the United Nations system for 2007 (document A/64/75-E/2009/59). The analysis finds that the total value of contributions received by the United Nations system in 2007 for operational activities amounted to $19.1 billion, an 11 per cent increase in nominal terms, and a 2.4 per cent real term increase over 2006 contributions. System expenditures, meanwhile, amounted to $17.3 billion in 2007, according to the report.
Also before the Committee was the Secretary-General’s note on the activities of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (document A/64/164), which covers the first year of implementation of the 2008-2011 strategic plan of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).
In the report, the UNIFEM Consultative Committee, which is comprised of five Member States ( Estonia, Chile, Republic of Korea, Norway and the Sudan), emphasizes the continued involvement of UNIFEM in the United Nations work for gender equality and the empowerment of women and requests that UNIFEM continue to report annually on the strategic plan. The report also recognizes the impact of the global financial and economic crisis on women and girls.
The Committee also had before it the Secretary-General’s report on the state of South-South cooperation (document A/64/321), which reviews the progress, trends and challenges in South-South cooperation between 2007 and mid-2009, especially with regard to regional integration, trade, investment and economic cooperation.
The report states that, in 2009, owing to the economic crisis, 55 million to 90 million more people will live in extreme poverty than had been anticipated before the global economic recession, and although the global poverty rate is likely to be reduced by one half by 2015, several regions, including sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, will likely fall short of that goal because of the crisis.
The report recommends that, in addition to traditional bilateral and regional aid, countries contribute to the United Nations Fund for South-South Cooperation to ensure sufficient funding, despite the crisis.
Also before the Committee was the Secretary-General’s note on the report of the Joint Inspection Unit on the national execution of technical cooperation projects (document E/2009/13), which transmits to the Economic and Social Council the report of the Joint Inspection Unit titled “National execution of technical cooperation projects” (document JIU/REP/2008/4). The report reviews the evolution of national execution (NEX) programmes, lessons learned and best practices, and related issues including auditing, monitoring and evaluation.
The Secretary-General’s related note (document A/64/375/Add.1‑E/2009/103/Add.1 and A/64/375/Corr.1-E/2009/103/Corr.1) transmits to the General Assembly the comments of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination on the above-mentioned Joint Inspection Unit report
Statements on Macroeconomic Policy Questions
WARREN GUNDA ( Malawi) said that his country, one of the least developed countries in the world, had suffered from the economic recession, especially in terms of falling demand for exports and in reduced industrial production, and he encouraged the international community to help mitigate the hardship suffered by his and other developing countries. As a predominately agrarian economy, the downturn in commodity prices was troubling, and he feared that the impact of the crisis on Malawi might be felt even keener at a later stage, after other countries had begun recovering from the crisis.
Although Malawi had taken measures to control the deficit, the country still needed increased assistance from development partners, and he called for increased funding by donor countries, as well as a temporary debt moratorium for low-income countries. Despite the disheartening circumstances, Malawi was still committed to the macroeconomic development of the country and had begun deep economic reforms, to include six development priorities to enhance the transformation. However, he feared that the crisis might erode the already achieved gains and he appealed to all donors to make good on their promise of contributing 0.7 per cent of gross national income in aid.
MOHAMED CHERIF DIALLO ( Guinea) said the global economic and financial crisis had caused the most harm to countries that had least contributed to it and those that lacked sufficient resources to confront it. For millions of people, the current crisis provided the opportunity to remedy the dysfunctions of the international financial architecture, so that it could cope with, and prevent imbalances through better regulation and monitoring of macroeconomic policies. The reform must lead to more just and equitable representation of countries within the Bretton Woods institutions. There had been a dramatic drop in external financing and an increase in external debt.
The Government of Guinea had worked to decentralize public services, privatize public enterprises and increase public expenditures, he said. Guinea’s inflation was 13.5 per cent in 2008, versus 12.8 in 2007. The gross domestic product was 4.9 per cent in 2008, versus 1.8 per cent in 2007. External debt was a matter of serious concern for Guinea, as it seriously mortgaged efforts to eradicate poverty. In Guinea, external debt absorbed 56 per cent of tax revenue. The Government had the difficult task of deciding where to allocate scarce resources. He urged donors to help strengthen the capacities of countries in debt, so that they could reach the completion point of the World Bank’s debt relief initiative.
MOHAMMAD HASSANI NEJAD ( Iran) said that, despite the implementation of stimulus packages and signs of recovery, the global financial and economic crisis was not over yet, and he warned of the risk of a “double-dip” after the effects of the stimulus packages dissipate. Given countries’ different circumstances, he questioned the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recommendation of opposite measures -- counter-cyclical for the rich and pro-cyclical for the others -- and he noted with concern that the Fund still prescribed these pro-cyclical policies, which could exacerbate economic hardship.
With respect to commodities, he argued that the recent price volatility could not be explained by market fundamentals, but instead had to be ascribed to excessive speculation with lax supervision. The fluctuation in prices had had serious effects throughout many countries, worsening the food crisis and endangering poverty reduction. The steadiness and reliability needed for economic development had been jeopardized and he reiterated that it was necessary to investigate the root causes of the crisis.
JANE STEWART, Director, New York Office of the International Labour Organization (ILO), opened by saying that employment needed to be given due consideration in the emerging discussions on macroeconomic policy issues that arose due to the financial crisis. The ILO cautioned that global unemployment could reach the highest level ever on record, as a result of the crisis. The major challenge, she said, was for countries to spur economic growth, slow the rapid increase of unemployment, and accelerate a job-rich recovery. While some markets were showing initial signs of recovery, overall labour market distress remained particularly acute, as a result of the crisis. Every year the world’s labour force grew by some 45 million persons, mostly in developing countries. “We are not only facing a situation in which additional jobs must be created to reduce the unemployment inflicted by the crisis, but we must also create proportionally more jobs to absorb the natural increase in the labour force,” she said.
The current crisis had shown there were weaknesses in the international financial architecture that affected its capacity to support sustainable enterprises and employment generation. Prior to the crisis, the finance sector was often given priority over sustainable enterprises and decent work generation in the real economy. “This pattern cannot continue,” she said. As the ILO Director-General had said at the meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) in Pittsburgh, stabilizing financial markets and raising the rate of output growth, crucial as these were, was not enough. Financial markets had to be put at the service of the real economy, ensure the flow of credit to enterprises, and fuel production and jobs. She mentioned an ILO publication, entitled Protecting People, Saving Jobs, which assessed the employment and social protection measures taken by 54 countries across all regions and income groups, in an effort to assess effective crisis response measures for recovery and sustainable growth.
ALI MCHUMO, Managing Director, Common Fund for Commodities, said while commodity market structure had changed over the last two decades, the levels and structure of commodity exports of many developing countries had not. As a result, the performance of the commodity export sectors of many commodity-dependent countries, especially least developed countries, fell short of expectations and the improvement had been small, compared with the experience of more successful developing countries. For example, Africa was still predominantly commodity‑centred, with smallholders responsible for 80 per cent of agricultural production. In addition, adverse effects of price volatility focused on the poorest market participants, where commodity shocks mainly affected commodity‑dependent developing countries (CDDCs), particularly least developed countries. Price volatility remained unresolved, 20 years after the Fund was created to address this issue and others.
In absence of a global mechanism to tackle commodity price volatility, the Fund was currently financing short-term, country-based warehouse receipts projects and price-risk management schemes. The time had come for the global community to develop innovative mechanisms to enforce a certain level of commodity price stability that would provide the predictability and fairness needed to improve commodity markets. Global economic recovery depended, in part, on a structural improvement of the commodity sector, and there was a need for the adoption of a comprehensive global strategy to address the structural issues constituting the commodity problem. The Global Initiative on Commodities should be the starting point. In order for these issues to be addressed in a sustained a comprehensive manner, more resources were needed for the Fund to function adequately.
JULIO ESCALONA (Venezuela) said that the current crisis highlighted how the international financial system was designed to further the interest of countries with military and financial supremacy and that, as a result of this, injustice had risen and the rights of developing countries had been “trampled upon.” He called for a thorough reform of the financial system and encouraged the development of a new vision of unity based on cooperation and respect.
With regard to the debt crisis, he said that a global solution was required. The international community needed to look in detail at how debts were serviced, since developing countries had been paying ever higher dues. Money had to be freed to fight poverty, he said, and called for the developed world to stand by their pledge of contributing 0.7 per cent of their gross domestic product. Finally, he said that it was vital to rethink current agricultural policies; to do away with the inequity of the current structure and instead develop an approach with developing countries and food security in mind.
A.K ABDUL MOMEN ( Bangladesh) pointed out that multiple global challenges, including climate change, the financial meltdown, and food and fuel insecurity made it necessary for States to address these together. Resolute and comprehensive policies were necessary to reach the Millennium Development Goals, as well as a pledge to liberalize international trade in line with the Monterrey Consensus. He cautioned that many countries had not met pledges made at the Monterrey Consensus to allocate 0.7 per cent of their gross national income to developing countries and 0.2 per cent to least developed countries. In terms of ensuring that such countries were given full market access, he called on developed countries that had not done so to provide instant duty-free and quota-free market access before the stalled Doha round of talks had ended.
He cautioned that continuing unilateral, multilateral and regional liberalization and lower tariffs were constantly eroding his country’s economy and called for an effective, compensation-oriented means to mitigate the negative effects of sectoral tariff initiatives. Faced with the daunting prospects of low tariff barriers, least developed countries required assistance in trade capacity-building (TCB). The Aid for Trade initiative had to be implemented effectively, with additional, unconditional funding to help such countries boost infrastructure, and to diversify their exports. The poorest countries had been burdened with huge debt payouts; debt relief would help attain the Millennium Goals once debts had been realigned to suit reaching such a target. He welcomed calls for a renewed commitment to cancel money owed by some heavily indebted poor countries. In conclusion, he pointed out that trade and development were interlinked and that globalization had juxtaposed them. The effects of the financial crisis, which had created setbacks in terms of attaining the Millennium Goals, demonstrated this.
The Committee then began its consideration of operational activities for development.
Introduction of Reports
NIKHIL SETH, Director, Office of Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), introduced the Secretary-General’s report entitled “comprehensive statistical analysis of the financing of operational activities for development of the United Nations system for 2007” (document A/64/75-E/2009/59), which consolidated financial data and contributions and expenditures of 37 United Nations system entities that reported funding for such activities in 2007. According to the report, funding flows may be entering a period of increased volatility, with early indications that overall contributions to the United Nations development system in 2008 had increased by about 10 per cent in real terms over the previous year. But, there were concerns that they would drop in 2009 and 2010.
He said the report also stated that: core resources as a share of total contributions remained at less than 30 per cent; non-core resource flows had become highly fragmented, undermining the development system’s coherence and efficiency; and, despite growing volatility in resource flows, the targeting of support to least developed countries had improved. He also shed light on DESA’s current plans to improve the coverage, timeliness and quality of financial reporting of United Nations operations for development. He noted that the Organization was in the process of setting up a central repository of information on those operations that would be part of a system-wide financial database and reporting system developed by the Chief Executives Board. Among other things, DESA was working closely with United Nations system partners to efficiently fill the information gap and enhance information comparability.
MOUNIR ZAHRAN, Vice Chairman of the Joint Inspection Unit, introduced the report “National Execution of Technical Cooperation Projects” (document A/64/375). He said that there was a need for more coherence among various United Nations system organizations and entities. Earmarked resources had often limited the capacities of organizations that responded to the development priorities in the given countries, and occasionally led to geographic imbalance in expenditure. Further, the unpredictability of funding affected the planning process. He recommended that non-governmental organizations be used to complement the role of Governments and also that regional commissions play an enlarged role in planning, implementation and follow-up of nationally-executed projects.
AMIN ADNAN, Director, Secretariat of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board (CEB), introduced the Secretary-General’s note (document A/64/375/Add.1-E/2009/103/Add.1) that contained his comments and those of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board on the report of the Joint Inspection Unit on the national execution of technical cooperation projects. He said the report sought to identify and disseminate lessons learned and best practices in implementing national execution projects and programmes, including the related issues of auditing, monitoring and evaluation. The report included a study of the challenges faced by organizations when implementing national execution projects, and by the United Nations when trying to harmonize implementation of those programmes.
He said United Nations agencies had welcomed the report, which focused on an important mechanism for delivering country-level projects, and they had supported without reservation many of its recommendations, such as the need to more clearly define the terminology surrounding its implementation and to help recipient Governments strengthen capacity development and capacity assessment. They also fully supported the recommendation for less conditioned extra-budgetary contributions for national execution projects, saying that would ensure a closer alignment with the priorities of the countries they were working to serve. While the report gave a broad view of national execution projects, more work could be done to determine how specialized agencies and other United Nations bodies could best make use of them for project completion.
INES ALBERDI, Executive Director, United Nations Development Fund for Women, presented the note by the Secretary-General on the “Activities of the United Nations Development Fund for Women.” Gender equality and women’s empowerment had recently taken centre stage, with several initiatives by the Secretary-General including the appointment of a Special Representative on sexual violence and conflict. She outlined three areas within her field that related to the Committee’s work: United Nations reform; partnerships; and resources. Coordinated action was required to effectively address the abuse of women’s rights.
The Organization was increasingly working together at all levels to address the causes and consequences of gender inequality, she said, but added that progress was uneven and too slow, particularly in the absence of a recognized driver. To conclude, she said that without a change in the positioning, authority, coordination and resources available for the gender equality agenda, there was a high risk that progress would remain haphazard.
COSMAS GITTA, Chief of the Division for Policy Dialogue and Advocacy, Special Unit for South-South Cooperation, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the state of South-South cooperation (document A/64/321), which stated that developing countries’ main concern was the possibility of losing hard-won socio-economic gains in the wake of the food, energy, climate change and financial crises, and that regional integration efforts continued to be the main meeting point for South-South cooperation. A key lesson of the report was that the benefits from rising flows of South-South trade and investment tended to be concentrated in places where countries worked closely with their neighbours to coordinate policies for the development of transport infrastructure, skills, regulatory frameworks and other public goods that attracted domestic and foreign investment.
He said the report also stated that developing countries were increasingly turning to each other for development assistance from untraditional sources, such as debt relief, credit, soft loans and investments in infrastructure development, he said. Paradoxically, global economic deterioration had created opportunities for South-South cooperation, as many countries looked to each other to facilitate market recovery and ensure greater stability locally, and globally. More than 40 per cent of foreign direct investment from developing countries went to least developed countries. Total development assistance to developing countries could grow to more than $15 billion in 2010, if some developing countries kept their pledges. The report, however, showed that South-South foreign direct investment could fall markedly, if the global recession persisted.
Iran’s representative asked Mr. Gitta if there was a methodology in place to accumulate data on South-South cooperation, since the report was not comprehensively and systematically prepared. How was data chosen and how were the reports prepared? He also asked UNDP to respect editorial directives regarding the correct use of geographical names, and noted that several references to the Persian Gulf in the report on South-South cooperation were incorrect.
In response, Mr. GITTA said there was no methodology in place and that the UNDP was in the process of setting up a system for that. He also apologized for the references to the Persian Gulf, and pledged to work to correct such failings in the future.
Mr. SETH said the Economic and Social Council and other United Nations bodies were working to develop better methodology standards, and said they hoped to have information on that to share with delegates when the Development Cooperation Forum met in June 2010.
AMAR DAOUD ( Sudan), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, described several guiding principles in terms of development. Among them, he said that operational activities should be carried out for the benefit of recipient countries, following their own policies and priorities. At the country level, national leadership and ownership of development strategies should inform United Nations operations. Effectiveness and efficiency needed to be improved and, finally, national Governments had to have the sovereignty to decide on their own development priorities, select their development partners and determine what kind of relation with the development entities they wanted to establish.
With respect to development assistance, he was concerned that there had been no significant improvement in terms of the adequacy and predictability of funding, a problem compounded by a number of new challenges, including the economic crisis, the food crisis and climate change. He urged the Secretary-General to continue to address the imbalance between core and non-core contributions. Further, he said that most donors were not on track to live up to their commitments to increase their official development assistance and he noted with concern that, since the 2005 “Group of Eight” Summit at Gleneagles, official development assistance had increased at only half the rate required to meet the target of $130 billion by 2010.
On the subject of South-South cooperation, he said that it was greatly valued and that he looked forward to the Conference on the subject this December in Nairobi, Kenya, which provided a major opportunity to fully review and renew efforts to support South-South cooperation.
HARALD FRIES (Sweden), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that, in the context of the current global crisis, it was relevant to ask what more the United Nations could do in terms of stepping up its support of developing countries and their efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. With regard to United Nations reform, there was great promise in the “Delivering as One” approach with respect to improved efficiency and effectiveness, and he continued to lay out four key areas of reform: the Resident Coordinator system; business practice harmonization; country programming and reporting; and human resources capacity.
With respect to the Resident Coordinator system, he described it as the “backbone” of development coordination at the country level and said that, although considerable improvements have been made, more needed to be done to further strengthen the system. Concerning business practices, he welcomed the plan by the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination and called for its swift implementation. On the subject of country programming and reporting, he underscored the need to reduce the reporting burden of the country teams and welcomed efforts to harmonize reporting requirements. Finally, addressing the issue of human resources capacity, he called for an assessment of whether the “skills mix” of country teams corresponded to the tasks dictated by the national priorities.
Financial reporting had improved, he said, adding that it was essential to have dependable information to attain a comprehensive and reliable view of key aspects of the funding and expenditures of the Organization’s operational activities. He encouraged the United Nations Secretariat to continue to improve its financial data and reporting system. “The United Nations has great potential, but it must improve its efficiency and effectiveness…and redouble its reform efforts,” he said, adding that it was the duty of Member States to ensure that the Organization was properly mandated and resourced to help developing countries attain the Millennium Development Goals.
MARTY NATALEGAWA (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said the United Nations, through operational activities for development, must continue to mobilize support and enhance its coordination role for development assistance to the developing world. To that end, adequate and predictable funding was necessary. It was important to fulfil the commitments to increase funds for operational activities in line with developing countries’ national strategies and priorities. Core resources and increased development aid were needed to help countries reach the Millennium Development Goals. The United Nations should continue to provide leadership, clear guidance and greater coherence, effectiveness and efficiency in operational activities. Closer and strengthened cooperation with country and regional partners was needed.
The “Delivering as One” voluntary pilot programme in eight countries must be thoroughly assessed, with a view to improving operational activities for development mandates and making United Nations development assistance more effective, he said. He supported Viet Nam’s “One UN” pilot project. Almost three years after publication of the report of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on System-wide Coherence was published, it was time for Member States to hold practical discussions on how to deliver system-wide coherence through good governance, funding and cooperation between the Economic and Social Council and the governing bodies of funds and programmes. To that end, and, to ensure the continuity of common efforts, co-facilitators should be appointed soon.
There was an urgent need to simplify and harmonize the reporting system of the United Nations architecture, he said. The United Nations monitoring and evaluation capacities must be improved, particularly at the country level. He supported United Nations efforts to build a comprehensive, sustainable and consistent financial data and reporting system for development-related operational activities. Further, the Organization’s ability to respond to natural disasters and address gender issues was crucial for achieving the millennium targets. To that end, better efforts to give humanitarian and rehabilitation aid were needed. Closer collaboration was needed between the United Nations and Member States to build national and regional capacity for early warning systems that complemented broader disaster preparedness and mitigation initiatives. He supported UNIFEM’s efforts to carry out its 2008-2011 strategic plan fruitfully and effectively.
DELANO F. BART ( St. Kitts and Nevis), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that CARICOM members remained ardent proponents of a more effective and efficient United Nations development system through strengthened governance and improved financing of operational activities for development. As reaffirmed in the recently adopted General Assembly resolution 63/311 on system wide coherence, strengthening of the governance of operational activities for development should focus on enhancing existing intergovernmental bodies. CARICOM underscored the importance of ensuring the provision of adequate funding for operational activities for development on a timely and predictable basis, and in line with the national needs and priorities of developing countries.
He said that CARICOM members were of the view that the need for United Nations development activities in the subregion had increased significantly, given the myriad of development challenges faced by those countries, particularly in the areas of environmental sustainability, adapting to climate change, food security, combating non-communicable diseases, crime prevention and combating drug trafficking and other international crimes. The need for the United Nations development assistance had been made further acute, as a result of the impact of the current economic and financial crisis. In comparison to other developing countries and subregions, CARICOM member States received a very small percentage of overall official development assistance. For the most part, such assistance, as a source of financing for development, was not available to the members. Prior to the onset of the economic and financial crisis, the options for the subregion for sourcing financing for development were limited primarily to foreign direct investment and bilateral and multilateral lending agencies. With the onset of the crisis, the limited sources available to the subregion had all but dried up.
He noted that the United Nations presence had been complementary and supportive of CARICOM Government’s development initiatives and played a fundamental role, given the existence of structural weaknesses that impeded full execution of development projects in cases where the States’ own means of implementation were weak. In that regard, he stated that the maintenance of a significant field presence for the United Nations development system in the subregion was essential. CARICOM was, therefore, quite concerned by the reduction of resources to the subregion at both the programmatic and administrative levels. The United Nations development system should recognize that such actions could jeopardize the modest human development gains that had been made.
CLAUDIA BLUM ( Colombia) called on the General Assembly to confer a higher level of priority to the strengthening of operational activities. In the context of the implementation of the comprehensive policy review contained in resolution 62/208, it was essential to ensure the continuity of the process aimed at enhancing the impact of cooperation by the United Nations system. The consolidation of a results-oriented culture, ever more transparent and with effective accountability, represented a vital field of work. Likewise, pursuing coherence across the United Nations system demanded the commitment of the General Assembly. Coherence should, however, not be considered an end in itself. Rather, it supported the achievement of greater effectiveness in the actions of the United Nations development system. In that regard, her country insisted on the importance of enhancing the coordination of activities of the system with the Governments of recipient countries. Better coordination allowed for securing a higher alignment with national priorities and specific challenges.
She noted that Colombia had been listed as one of the top five contributors to the system, in terms of local resources. That reflected the country’s confidence in the beneficial role of the United Nations in the promotion of development. The top six countries in that list were middle-income Latin-American countries. That circumstance described the general situation of the region. Paradoxically, information presented this year in the context of the Executive Boards of United Nations funds and programmes, described the allocation of core resources for programming and coordination activities in Latin America and the Caribbean as at the lowest levels. Further, the region was presented as having the lowest proportion of core resources against non-core resources.
While Colombia supported the urgency of strengthening cooperative actions to ensure advancement toward the Millennium Development Goals in regions that were lagging behind, it called for a better acknowledgement of the specific needs of middle-income countries, she went on. Those countries, where over half of the world’s poor lived, faced internal asymmetries in their development and were undertaking tremendous efforts to overcome them. They, therefore, required adequate levels of international support and cooperation.
NOEL GONZALEZ ( Mexico), speaking on behalf of the Rio group, said that it was necessary to reiterate the “emphatic” call to developed countries, so they might increase their contributions to core funds that serve as the cornerstone of the operational activities of the United Nations system. He also reiterated that it was necessary to decrease the overheads on financial flows, in order to spend more on actual programmes.
Noting his satisfaction by the General Assembly’s adoption of a resolution regarding a conference to be held in Nairobi in December on South-South cooperation, he said States should agree on a document that takes into account the contributions that South-South cooperation can make in terms of social justice. He also reiterated his view that South-South Cooperation did not substitute or detract from North-South cooperation, but rather, should be seen as complementary. He emphasized the urgent need for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to allocate appropriate financial resources, so that the Special Unit on South-South cooperation could efficiently accomplish its vital mission.
WARREN GUNDA (Malawi), speaking also on behalf of Mozambique, the Netherlands, Norway, Rwanda, the United Republic of Tanzania and the United Kingdom, said that, while there was progress, the United Nations development system could still become much more effective and efficient. “Delivering as One” programmes had reformed the Organization to make it more relevant and responsive to the needs of developing countries, but more needed to be dome. Headquarters, he said, needed to catch up and the reporting burden of country teams needed to be reduced.
With regard to funding, he said that the Organization needed to ensure that it was appropriate to the needs of recipient countries and delivered in ways that promoted coherence. The pilot countries would meet in Kigali next week and the country-led evaluations currently under way would provide important new evidence of achieved improvements and challenges ahead. He also anticipated independent evaluations, which, in conjunction with the pilots’ evidence, would help drive the reform process forward.
Finally, he expressed the expectation that the Resident Coordinator System would be strengthened, so that it might play a key role in the organizing of United Nations’ efforts at the country level. That States had agreed on the Management and Accountability Framework was an important step, but now every United Nations agency needed to implement the proposal. Further, he said, the right people with the right skills had to be sent to their posts at the right time, especially in countries that were just emerging from conflict.
DANIEL ANTÓNIO ( Mozambique), speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said contributions to the United Nations operational activities for development reached $19.1 billion in 2007. But, greater predictability and long-term stability in funding was still needed. The significant increase in supplementary funding, to the detriment of core resources, was of particular concern. He reiterated the importance of mobilizing more predictable and adequate funding for core operational programmes.
In preparation for the 2010 Millennium Development Goals Summit, immediate steps and concrete action were needed to boost official development assistance, particularly for operational activities for development, he said. He reiterated his call to developed countries that had not done so, to make good on their commitment to give 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product for official development assistance to developing countries, and from 0.15 per cent to 0.2 per cent to least developed countries. South-South cooperation should not substitute for North-South cooperation. Rather, it should be reinforced through triangular cooperation. He acknowledged United Nations efforts to respond to natural disasters, but said those efforts should be reviewed in order to improve coordination, efficiency and effectiveness, bearing in mind that United Nations agencies had varying roles in disaster management and recovery.
He said there was still room for improvement in programming and funding for United Nations humanitarian assistance. The Consolidated Appeal Process monitored by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs was fundamental for mobilizing resources to address emerging crises and for strategically planning for future crises. He welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal to build a comprehensive and sustainable financial data and reporting system for operational activities for development. He expressed hope that such a system could help bring greater coherence and synergy among United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, and help harmonize contributions of the United Nations and the Development Assistance Committee.
LIU ZHENMIN ( China) expressed support for the statement of the Group of 77 and China and said that countries needed to push for improvement in the international environment for development. The first priority must be given to poverty reduction and development, in accordance with international agreements. Development agencies should help developing countries enhance their own development capacity and explore models of development best suited to their national situations. Further, fund-raising efforts must be increased to provide the United Nations development system with adequate, stable and predictable core resources. The recent decline in core resources had weakened the supervisory role of the funds and programmes governing bodies, he said. He also called upon developed countries to fulfil their commitments under the Monterrey Consensus.
The capacity-building of developing countries should form the core of United Nations development activities, he continued. Developed countries should lower artificial barriers to technology transfer and recipient Governments should play a greater coordinating role in designing the Organization’s Development Aid Framework. They should not focus solely on good governance or combating corruption, at the expense of issues such as poverty reduction and development. He also supported expanding funding mechanisms of the United Nations funds and programmes to provide additional resources to developing countries for climate change adaptation. Developing countries must be able to afford and have access to climate and environmentally-friendly technologies. The United Nations should also strengthen its support for South-South cooperation, which had always been fundamental to China’s foreign policy, he said.
ZACHARY MUBURI MUITA ( Kenya) said that, due to the global economic recession, many countries had stressed that the United Nations should assume a bigger role in the financial decision-making process, especially given its universal membership and its presence in almost all the countries in the world. But, this call for enlarged involvement should also be reflected at the country-level through its programmes, he said, and called for the international community to provide adequate funding to the Organization to allow it to continue those critical programs, especially in terms of poverty eradication and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.
On the subject of South-South cooperation, he said it was a useful mechanism for the promotion of Southern development and said that the role of development partners could not be overstated. He also underscored the already achieved progress in the South-South cooperation area and supported the Secretary-General’s observations in a recent report, in which he recommended, among other things, increased multilateral support for South-South based development, as well as strengthened and closer collaboration.
SERGEI SERGEEV ( Belarus) said operational activities for development were at the heart of the United Nations development work. Decisions to increase the financial resources of the IMF and World Bank to give needed credit to countries were a good beginning. That should lead to increased funding for United Nations bodies. That must be supported by an increase in donor contributions. Improving the work of operational organs from the bottom up was necessary. Belarus needed more support from United Nations operational activities. More support was also needed for gender mainstreaming issues. United Nations operational organs must better assist middle-income countries in order to help them achieve sustainable development. That should not mean competition for resources.
He called on the heads of funds and programmes to come forward with a concrete proposal to discuss operational activities for development, in order to ensure coherence on the ground and in implementing priorities. Also, it was important to consider the ecological factors of financing for development. He called on the UNDP and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to pay particular attention to implementing technical assistance projects that increased energy efficiency and conservation, and that transferred renewable energy technology to middle-income and other developing countries.
GONZALO GUILLEN BEKER ( Peru) said that rising commodity and oil prices had proved a challenge to many countries recently, but that, to get beyond this, South-South cooperation was a key, bearing in mind that South-South cooperation was complementary to, not a replacement for, North–South relations. Regarding the road ahead, he emphasized two recent recommendations from the Secretary-General -- a renewed commitment of support to South-South development, as well as a consistent and sufficient flow of finance.
With respect to gender equality and the empowerment of women, he acknowledged the Secretary-General’s report on the activities of UNIFEM, a report which covers the first year of implementation of the 2008-2011 strategic plan of the Fund and analyzes the impact of the global financial and economic crisis on women and girls.
NADIA ISLER ( Switzerland) said the authority of resolution 62/208 had been consistently consolidated and it continued to enjoy broad and unchallenged recognition within the membership and increasingly strong acceptance among agencies. It was indisputable that the Quadrennial Comprehensive Review Policy (QCRP) and its follow-up Economic and Social Council mechanism were the most effective, convincing and sustainable strategic policies in the United Nations’ operational activities for development. The Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of resolution 62/208, which had been submitted to the operational activities segment of the Economic and Social Council last July, provided the membership with an effective monitoring tool. Moreover, there had been an increasing number of promising developments in the Organization’s development operations. Among them were the Economic and Social Council’s adoption of a substantial and detailed resolution (E/2009/L.18) in July, improvements to the functioning of the Resident Coordinator System and follow-up initiatives of the “One UN” pilot countries.
She stressed that the United Nations funds, programmes and agencies must continue to consistently and coherently take appropriate action to implement the QCRP and report back to their governing bodies. Moving forward, the Resident Coordinator System should be strengthened, as called for by resolution 62/208 regarding the development of a standard operational reporting format. Switzerland believed this would strengthen accountability, while also reducing transaction costs. Accelerated coordination of efforts by headquarters units and mechanisms within the United Nations development system was required for a functional Resident Coordinator System. Sources of financing to support implementation of the plan of action for the harmonization of business practices should be explored. Further, countries should be encouraged to present, on a voluntary basis, the draft of a Joint Country Programme to the Economic and Social Council, to be discussed during the operational segment. The finalized Joint United Nations Country Programmes could subsequently be adopted on a non-objection basis by the respective Executive Boards and Governing Councils.
ZEYNEP KIZILTAN ( Turkey), aligning her statement with the one made on behalf of the European Union, stressed that South-South cooperation was important in achieving a global development partnership. Turkey was pleased to see that United Nations’ agencies were increasingly adopting South-South approaches in their policies, particularly those touching on transnational development challenges. But South-South cooperation should go beyond financial aid to include trade, the transfer of know-how and new technologies, and experience sharing on a demand-driven basis. South-South and triangular partnerships should also help strengthen vulnerable economies through financial aid and capacity-strengthening. Turkey was striving to reinforce its emerging donor country status and strengthen its multilateral and bilateral technical economic cooperation with developing countries.
The Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency was the lead agency in coordinating official development assistance, she said, noting that assistance totalled almost $800 million in 2008. The Agency’s activities were initially aimed at Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Balkans, but outreach had extended to the African continent, as well. It had 22 field offices, with 3 of them in Africa, and was cooperating, in the main, with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, UNDP, UNIDO, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the Islamic Development Bank. Concluding, she said a more dynamic South-South cooperation would complement North-South cooperation.
BOVONETHAT DOUANGCHACK (Lao People’s Democratic Republic) said, despite progress in improving system-wide coordination and mobilizing wider capacities of the United Nations system, challenges remained, including the persistent imbalance between core and non-core resources, unfolding against a backdrop of growing concerns about the possible negative impact of the economic crisis on aid and funding of the system. Strengthening collaboration and cooperation in the United Nations system and with donors, the private sector and civil society was needed, and donors should honour their commitments to the United Nations and to assist developing countries to reach internationally-agreed development goals. The United Nations system should also improve aid effectiveness through better quality and delivery, a more effective use of resources, a simplified operational process, reduced transaction costs and enhanced national ownership.
Lao People’s Democratic Republic and development partners were implementing an aid effectiveness agenda with the framework of the Vientiane Declaration Country Action Plan. A review showed progress in Government ownership of the development process and donor alignment to national priorities, but little progress in harmonization and managing for results. The action plan would need to be updated to incorporate new commitments and the stronger implementation efforts that were required from the Government and development partners. External financing and the predictability of resources were among the most urgent issues that would need to be addressed in the near future. He welcomed the tireless efforts of the United Nations country team, which had assisted the Government in implementing the sixth 5-year socio-economic development plan (2006-2010). The Government also strongly supported the “One UN” initiative, and commended the UNDP for its leading role among United Nations agencies and donor countries in his country.
CARLOS VELASTEGUI (Ecuador) aligned himself with statements made by the Sudan on behalf of the Group of 77 and China as well as Mexico, and appreciated the Secretary-General’s 2007 quantitative analysis/report that detailed how much money the Organization had spent on operational activities. This would not only identify how much Member States contributed to activities in line with their gross national income; in due course, it would also reveal the limitations of the Organization’s funding and programming constraints. For Southern countries, implementing national development programmes posed problems, he said, when there was an imbalance between basic resources and additional needs, calling on developed countries to make basic contributions. Ecuador also valued the Secretary-General’s report on the status of South-South cooperation.
International instruments and declarations forged by developing countries had not only deepened South-South cooperation, but they had also become a useful tool for mobilizing human and economic resources for development, especially since the global financial and economic crisis. His country was aware that, in order for this to succeed, it would have to be conditional and bear a certain level of analysis and acceptance among Southern countries. He reiterated Ecuador’s support for South-South and triangular cooperation and for creating synergies in North-South cooperation. This became even more pertinent for countries like Ecuador, as global development pledges were hardly being met. He acknowledged the United Nations’ efforts towards making South-South cooperation more flexible and practical, to help reach the goals set by international development agreements. He urged for more harmony and coordination within the United Nations system, to ensure that it integrated South-South cooperation in its programmes and activities. He hailed the approval of a recent resolution, which would convene a conference in Nairobi in December, on the subject.
NADIESKA NAVARRO BARRO ( Cuba) said that the current crisis -- complex and international -- represented a huge challenge for the United Nations funds, programmes and agencies. But, however severe the crisis, it could not become a pretext for developed countries to neglect their commitments in terms of financing, especially with respect to basic resources, which were the “bedrock” of operational activities. She took issue with the imbalance of the system and said that the current financing logic was aimed at meeting the interests of donor countries.
With respect to South-South cooperation, she said it was a priority for her country and one of the “fundamental pillars of the Cuban foreign policy.” On that subject, she said that her country had developed a scholarship program which benefited tens of thousands of young people from the developing world, including 31,000 youth currently studying in Cuba. She noted that these efforts had been undertaken despite adverse economic circumstances, caused for the most part by the commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States Government more than 50 years ago.
JAKKRIT SRIVALI (Thailand), aligning himself with the statement of the Sudan on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, and Indonesia on behalf of ASEAN, said that, despite positive trends in trade, financial and investment flows among developing countries until mid-2009, the current global economic crisis, aggravated by climate change and new and existing pandemics, was jeopardizing his country’s development efforts.
Renewed political commitment was of the utmost importance to the people of the least developed countries, whose urgent development needs required a prompt response from the international community. In that regard, Thailand was of the view that the UNDP needed to be given full support and a broader mandate to help implement development programmes in countries of need, regardless of their domestic political circumstances, in order to help alleviate the suffering of their peoples and contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Also, in the context of interregional partnerships, he believed that development partnership was far more than just financial assistance. At the same time, he firmly believed that South-South cooperation was an essential component in achieving a goal or two of the Millennium Development Goals, but by no means an adequate replacement for North-South cooperation.
On coordination and coherence, he said, given his country’s experiences both as a donor and recipient for nearly four decades, Thailand understood that, in order to achieve sustainability, it was vital to harmonize the aid provided by various development partners and, at the same time, to align the partners’ cooperation assistance with the recipient country’s own development objectives.
HIROTAKA NAKAMURA (Japan) said country ownership was the key to sustainability of any development efforts and the United Nations development system should fully support Governments to enhance their national capacity, keeping in mind that the ultimate objective was to help people in need. As the world tried to achieve the 2015 Millennium Goals, action today should bring tangible results today, not tomorrow, he said. Taking into account the global economic crisis, the effective delivery of assistance should be pursued more rigorously than ever before.
Gender mainstreaming should be promoted in all areas of the United Nations’ operational activities for development, including planning, implementation and evaluation, carefully avoiding duplication and fragmentation across various United Nations agencies. Both top-down and bottom-up approaches should be taken, he said.
South-South cooperation had been broadly expanding in recent years, with Japan working as a key pioneer. The Secretary-General’s report (A/64/321) asserted that the cost-effectiveness of South-South initiatives was well-established. Japan anticipated hearing various examples showing cost‑effectiveness at the coming High-level Conference on South-South cooperation to be held in December, he said.
YOSEPH KASSAYE ( Ethiopia) commended the Secretary-General’s efforts to improve operational activities and build comprehensive, sustainable and consistent financial data in a coherent manner. In particular, he noted the effort to strengthen collection and presentation of financial data for United Nations operational activities and the inclusion of the new section in the report which measured the United Nations expenditures and trends in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, he called upon United Nations development entities to strengthen the capacities of public institutions and focal points in programme countries, as well.
He strongly believed that strengthening the role and capacity of the United Nations development system required not only improvement in the areas of effectiveness, but also significant increases in resources. Although there was a positive trend in the total value of contributions received, the need for more consistent and stable funds was key for countries to achieve their development goals. He expressed concern that each year the General Assembly repeatedly highlighted the need to enhance core contributions to the United Nations development system, but most of the United Nations entities consistently received less than 50 per cent of their requirements as core resources every year. In that regard, he thanked Belgium for its decision to redirect contributions to the United Nations and other multilateral organizations to exclusively fund core resources, and said that other donor countries should do the same. He also thanked non- Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries for contributions for operational activities for development. Ethiopia is one of the largest recipients of United Nations development assistance. Thus, it had done its best to bring the United Nations development system on board to implement its national development plans, the latest being the Plan to Accelerate Sustained Development to End Poverty.
DMITRI MAKSIMYTCHEV ( Russian Federation) said that, in terms of the United Nations development system, the Russian Federation supported a strengthening of the Resident Coordinator role and, in general, looked favourably upon increased accountability and transparency in the system. He noted that there was still no unity among the Member States on the question of “One UN”, and reminded the delegates that when a resolution had been adopted on system-wide coherence, his country had described some doubts.
With regard to South-South cooperation, he welcomed the holding of the High-level Conference in Nairobi this December. His country supported South-South collaboration, an adjunct to North-South cooperation, and an important and distinctive model for collaboration, as well as a useful tool for developing a constructive dialogue.
SHIN BOONAM ( Republic of Korea) said that the operational activities of the United Nations were more important than ever, especially in light of the Millennium Development Goals. The consistent growth in contributions was encouraging, he said, noting that most agencies within the Organization recorded funding increases, and urging States not to reverse this trend. Adequate, stable and predictable funding was imperative, but it was also important that efforts be made to ensure the coherence, relevance and effectiveness of the operational activities.
The “Delivering as One” program was relevant, in this regard, he said. He expressed support for pooled funding mechanisms to conclude multi-donor trust funds and thematic funds, which he believed could be complementary to core funding. With respect to financial reporting, he suggested the inclusion of expenditure by sector or theme of major agencies in the next report. In conclusion, he praised the rise of South-South cooperation and encouraged the Organization to continue to provide relevant guidance to the relevant parties.
NOR EDDINE BENFREHA ( Algeria) said the 2005 Summit enshrined development as a pillar of the United Nations system to support developing countries’ efforts. The United Nations’ comparative advantage enabled it to help developing countries meet challenges to achieving sustainable development. Operational activities for development should be conducted in accordance with the policies, objectives and priorities of recipient countries. He reiterated Algeria’s support for neutrality and universality in operational activities for development. Those activities should be developed based on national strategies and with the participation of the Government and national entities of the recipient countries. The United Nations had made substantial efforts to simplify implementation procedures. Those efforts must be strengthened, in order to meet the expectations of developing countries.
Greater access to United Nations development assistance was needed, he said. United Nations funds, programmes and agencies should work to implement the triennial review of operational activities. He reaffirmed Algeria’s support for strengthening South-South cooperation, particularly given the current global economic woes. South-South cooperation must be guided by international solidarity. The upcoming High-level Conference on South-South cooperation, to be held in Nairobi in December, would be an appropriate place to take an in-depth look at ways to strengthen such cooperation.
TARIQ ALI AL-ANSARI ( Qatar) said that the operational activity of the United Nations system was the key to achieving social and economic welfare, environmental balance, and “a sound relationship between man, matter and the surrounding environment.” He lauded South-South cooperation, which helped countries achieve self-reliance and, in terms of triangular cooperation, argued that it was necessary that civil society groups from the North and the South join forces, for example on the subject of climate change. He said there was also a “pressing need” to do away with trade barriers that prevented developing countries from marketing their commodities on equal footing with the rest of the world.
At a time when poverty threatened nearly half of the world’s population and the gap between rich and poor countries was widening, there could be no sustainable peace, he said, adding that his country for that reason called for expanded cooperation between the countries of the South, and the strengthening of triangular cooperation. He also noted that Qatar is one of the few countries that fulfilled its commitments with regard to official development assistance. To conclude, he said that the upcoming High-level Conference on South-South cooperation in Nairobi, to be held this December, had the potential to transform South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation into one of the most effective mechanisms devoted to helping developing countries improve the living conditions of their people.
ABDESSELEM ARIFI ( Morocco) called for measures to strengthen and better target United Nations operational activities for development in the field. That required more financial and human resources. He supported the recommendations of the report of the Joint Inspection Unit on national implementation of technical cooperation projects and the comments of the Secretary-General and the Chief Executive Boards. As the main United Nations agency in the field, UNDP should be encouraged to ensure coherence of system-wide activities by increasing coordination, so that it could meet the expectations of the international community. He expressed hope that during the next Assembly debate on system-wide coherence Member States would lay a secure and sustainable foundation for action that would strengthen the role of United Nations agencies that worked on development concerns.
Strengthening operational activities for development required more human resources, he said. Recruitment of new staff, including Resident Coordinators, should be on the basis of applicants’ experience and knowledge of the full realities of the country where the activities were to be conducted. He called for making use of the talent and competence of staff in developing countries. He called for providing the necessary support for South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation, which were vital for achieving development. He expressed hope that the upcoming conference in Nairobi would facilitate concrete foundations for South-South cooperation. He expressed hope that greater priority would be given to implementation of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Forum.
GUILHERME DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA ( Brazil) said the economic downturn had negatively impacted the world, particularly the most vulnerable populations. Development models should focus on poverty alleviation and be socially inclusive and environmentally sensitive. They should focus on employment-led growth. Brazil was willing to work constructively with the United Nations development system, but there must be improvements made to the development framework to ensure greater transparency and accountability. The United Nations must be more responsive to developing countries’ needs and priorities. He stressed the importance of the comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development, and the engagement of developing countries in that review.
He welcomed harmonization and simplification of rules and practices for operational activities for development and highlighted the role of the United Nations Resident Coordinator. Also, the principles of local empowerment and national leadership must be adhered to. The Resident Coordinator system should also monitor implementation at the local level of relevant decisions of the Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. The principles of mutual accountability must be at the heart of all South-South activities. He expressed hope that the Nairobi Conference would help strengthen South-South cooperation.
MUHAMMAD AYUB ( Pakistan) said that he strongly felt that the issue of the United Nations development system and its operational activities could not be discussed without addressing the underlying issue of funding, without which there was a risk of fragmentation. Funding, he said, had to be expanded. With respect to South-South cooperation, he said that it was important to make use of the potential inherent in such collaborations, even though the South had a wide span that included economically dynamic countries, as well as more marginalized countries with extreme poverty and lack of basic infrastructure.
Regarding financing of the development system, he said that the strain of the economic crisis had exacerbated challenges and problems, and he welcomed the upcoming High-level conference on South-South Cooperation in Nairobi, to be held in December, as an important opportunity to discuss the role of South-South Cooperation and the triangular relationship.
GAUKHAR ABDYGALIEVA ( Kazakhstan) stressed the importance of improving operational activities for development. Adhering to the principles of universality and neutrality were critically important for recipient countries. She noted the role of the United Nations as a legitimate partner. It must work with Governments to meet the urgent needs and national priorities of countries. As the Millennium Development Goals’ deadline was approaching, now was the right time to adapt operational activities for development to current indicators. She stressed the importance of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), particularly in the light of the current economic and financial crisis.
She highlighted aspects of Kazakhstan’s 2010-2015 framework. The Government of Kazakhstan was partnering for development. She called on the United Nations to further strengthen efforts to reduce transaction costs in the field and to improve business practices. Kazakhstan was working to diversify development activities through a public-private partnership. She called for efforts to ensure a fair balance in funding operational activities for development, as well as more effective and timely financing. She also supported the gradual implementation of the “Delivering as One” initiative.
AMR MOHSEN HAMZA ( Egypt) said that the operational activity of the United Nations development system was an issue of utmost importance to his country and Egypt was deeply concerned by the continued deficiencies that plagued the funding of the activities, a challenge that had been further compounded by the global economic and financial crisis. This issue had to be addressed, he said, and added that, in terms of governance, his country looked forward to advancing the discussion in the coming weeks.
With regard to the subject of South-South cooperation, he said the High-level Conference on the subject to be held in Nairobi in December would be an important meeting, and he hoped that participants would seek to come out with a mandate that strengthened the United Nations development system.
RICHARD KENNEDY, of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), said that UNIDO promoted South-South cooperation by assisting with technologies and materials. For example, in the area of housing, the Organization had helped research and develop new or improved building materials to take the place of costly imports. In Cuba and Zambia, meanwhile, UNIDO had helped provide technical support from the Indian Institute of Sciences that introduced Indian biomass gasification technologies, which could help with sustainable energy supplies in rural areas. In the same vein, Chinese and Sri Lankan technologies were used to harness hydropower energy in several African countries.
Mr. Kennedy went on to outline agriculture-related projects in the Sudan and industrial cooperation in India and China, as well as the development of similar partnerships in Indonesia, Iran and Morocco. He concluded by saying that, following a recommendation by the Secretary-General, UNIDO has been working with UNDP and its Special Unit for South-South cooperation to further contact between entrepreneurs, civil society organizations and local Governments in developing countries.
MOUNIR ZAHRAN, Vice-Chairman of the Joint Inspection Unit, said that he hoped that the General Assembly would take concrete actions to implement the Unit’s recommendations. He reminded delegates that the Assembly had passed a resolution to “urgently undertake arrangements for an independent evaluation of lessons learned” from the “One UN” pilot countries and that the Unit had already envisaged such an independent meta-evaluation in its programme of work for 2010. Such an evaluation would not only allow for an independent assessment of the country-level evaluations and their results, but also provide insights into the opportunities and challenges of the “One UN” pilot countries.
* *** *For information media • not an official record