|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-sixth General Assembly
9th & 10th Meetings (AM & PM)
Delegates in Second Committee Call Attention to Developing World’s Potential,
While Urging Balanced Financing of United Nations Development Activities
Concerned that the global economic crisis would take its toll on official development assistance (ODA) from the developed world, delegates in the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today looked to the great potential existing in the global South, while also calling for greater balance in the core and non‑core resources of United Nations operational activities for development.
As the Committee took up its agenda item on operational activities for development, speakers described development assistance as a lifeline for least developed countries while also stressing the need to continue the international community’s commitment to middle‑income countries, saying they provided the greatest potential for growth while simultaneously facing their own significant development challenges, including poverty. Member states were encouraged that the funding of United Nations operational activities had been at an all‑time high in 2009, but stressed that inflation and the focus on non‑core resource allocation was hampering development assistance.
Many delegates looked to the global South for economic growth, saying that the sharing of resources and knowledge among its countries would be instrumental in the medium term. They also stressed the importance of ensuring that the United Nations development system became more inclusive while maintaining the coherence and cohesiveness of the Organization’s efforts and different entities.
Argentina’s representative, speaking for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, called for concrete measures to ensure that operational activities for development were carried out for the benefit of developing countries, “at their request and with their own ownership and leadership”. He called for stronger adherence to those principles and expressed hope that national Governments would remain able to determine their own priorities and select their own development partners, as well as the type of country‑level relationship they wished to establish with United Nations development entities.
He also called for implementation of the 2009 Nairobi Declaration on South‑South cooperation, and for its explicit incorporation into the operational programmes of the United Nations system. He expressed concern over a growing trend to redraw the boundaries separating developing and developed countries, emphasizing that South‑South cooperation should remain a complement, rather than an alternative, to traditional modes of international cooperation.
Nepal’s representative, speaking for the Group of Least Developed Countries, said it was encouraging that the United Nations development system’s resource base had broadened and become more diversified over time with the inclusion of non‑traditional donors, among them developing countries and the private sector as contributors, he added.
The representative of Antigua and Barbuda, speaking for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that despite the group’s incessant calls, there had been no significant improvement in adequately and predictably financing operational activities, particularly for development. The quantity, quality and predictability of United Nations development assistance were important, he said, adding that the alarming disparity between core and non‑core resources must be addressed urgently. Not only were non‑core resources unpredictable, but they also increased operational costs and contributed to ineffectiveness and fragmentation of the United Nations system. Establishing a balance was critical, he stressed.
Indonesia’s representative, speaking for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), noted that there had been no real growth in overall contributions over the last few years and called on developed partners to honour their ODA commitments. He also stressed the importance of sustaining the growth of middle‑income countries, while keeping the focus on least developed countries. He emphasized the need to recognize the opportunity for countries of the global South to share expertise and resources, while delivering results at a relatively low cost through South‑South and triangular cooperation.
The representative of the United States, pointing out that his country was often the largest donor and main partner to United Nations agencies, recalled that, in the area of transparency and accountability — a top Government priority — the United States had been the principal sponsor of the provision in General Assembly resolution 59/272 (2005) that made internal reports of the Office for Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) available to Member States. He also emphasized the need to move beyond traditional North‑South divides and embrace the new realities of the global partnership for development.
“In this day and age, a United Nations development system almost entirely dependent on 10 traditional donors is an outdated and unsustainable formula,” he continued. It was equally important to refocus on achieving solid performance results, he continued, pointing out that the Organization often had difficulty capturing and communicating its development results to the public. That information should be the basis for budgeting and resource allocation, he said, stressing: “In a time of scarce resources, the United Nations cannot afford business as usual.”
Presenting the relevant reports for the Committee’s consideration were Thomas Stelzer, Assistant Secretary‑General for Policy Coordination and Inter‑Agency Affairs in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and Yiping Zhou, Director of the Special Unit for South‑South Cooperation at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Also speaking today were representatives of Denmark (on behalf of the Nordic countries), Australia (also on behalf of Canada and New Zealand), Russian Federation, Malaysia, Switzerland, Brazil, Cuba, Belarus, Peru, China, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Republic of Korea, Ukraine, Uganda, Morocco, Namibia, Thailand, Mexico, Nigeria, Viet Nam and Japan.
Representatives of the International Labour Organization, Partners in Population and Development and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization also spoke.
The Second Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 14 October, to take up financing for development.
Meeting this morning to take up its agenda item on operational activities for development, members had before them two reports of the Secretary-General relating to United Nations operational activities for development and South-South cooperation for development, respectively.
The report “Analysis of the funding activities for development of the United Nations for 2009” (document A/66/79-E/2011/107) says there was no real growth in overall contributions compared to 2008, while a decline in humanitarian assistance-related funding was offset by an increase in development-related funding. About 65 per cent of funding was directed to longer-term development-related activities against 35 per cent to activities with a humanitarian-assistance focus. The United Nations development system was the largest multilateral partner of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD/DAC).
According to the report, a growing imbalance between core and non-core funding meant that some 27 per cent of total funding for operational activities for development in 2009 was in the form of core resources, with the remaining 73 per cent in the form of non-core contributions characterized by varying degrees of restrictions with regard to application and use. The report also discusses burden-sharing among OECD/DAC members, noting that 10 of them accounted for some 65 per cent of total core resources for development-related activities since 2009. Annual changes in donor contributions can be quite significant, including as a result of volatility in exchange rates.
The report recommends that the Economic and Social Council encourage donors to undertake consultations on how to improve burden-sharing in relation to core funding for development-related activities and, in particular, how more equal burden-sharing can be achieved by transforming non-core contributions into core contributions. It also suggests that the Council request the Secretary-General to conduct an analysis of the costs and benefits of coordinating operational activities for development. Lastly, it invites the executive boards of United Nations funds and programmes, as well as the governing bodies of specialized agencies, to examine the relevance of its findings with a view to identifying and addressing issues of common system-wide interest and concern, and to report back to the Council at its 2012 session.
Also before the Committee was the report “The State of South-South cooperation” (document A/66/229), which highlights how the changing nature of interactions have impacted development opportunities across the global South. Covering the period 2009-2011, following the 2008 economic crisis, the report presents a more resilient South that has embraced deeper and more institutionalized integration, suggesting that these increased connections have led to stronger demand for multilateral support to South-South and triangular cooperation.
The report recommends that the international development community continue to find ways to turn the challenges of the global South into opportunities and to scale up the impact of and contributions to South-South and triangular cooperation for more inclusive, equitable and sustainable human development. While bilateral and regional South-South cooperation forums will remain the main channels for mutual assistance and learning, persistent global challenges like food and energy insecurity, climate change and HIV/AIDS call for increased multilateral approaches, including through the United Nations system.
Collectively, the report points out, the global South possesses a wealth of information and data, effective knowledge-sharing systems, proven development policy options, tested institutional capacity-building solutions and affordable and appropriate technologies in areas such as food security, climate change and HIV/AIDS research. This knowledge can be more broadly shared, replicated and scaled up across the South, and the United Nations system must continue to improve the overarching coherence and coordination of its support for South-South and triangular cooperation. This can be accomplished through the use of innovative joint programmes, multi-country initiatives, stronger multilateral funding and coordination mechanisms and entities. However, the leadership of all Member States, regardless of development level or size of economy, remains vital and every developing country has something to offer.
In order for the private sector effectively and sustainably to invest, create jobs and reduce poverty, the report recommends, it is of critical importance that Governments focus on creating national and cross-border enabling environments by providing various public goods, including functioning physical, regulatory and legal infrastructures. Greater involvement by civil society organizations would also enrich South-South interactions, owing to their shared interest in social and environmental needs and their common concern for gender parity and civil liberties. The report stresses that sustainable development in the global South is interconnected with national, regional and triangular cooperation and must include the efforts of both private and public sectors.
Introduction of Reports
THOMAS STELZER, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the Secretary-General’s report “Analysis of the funding of operational activities for development of the United Nations system for 2009” (document A/66/79‑E/2011/107).
He said contributions to operational activities in 2009 matched those of 2008 in real terms, accounting for 18 per cent of official development assistance (ODA) and 63 per cent of all United Nations system-wide activities. Most contributions were dedicated to longer-term developmental activities, as opposed to humanitarian assistance, and were concentrated in a small number of United Nations system entities, with the top eight accounting for 84 per cent of all funding in 2009.
Pointing out the different rates of growth between core and non-core activities, he said the latter had grown by 10 per cent annually and the former by only 2 per cent in real terms over 15 years. During the same period, contributions to United Nations operational activities had grown by 96 per cent, making the Organization the largest multilateral partner for OEDC/DAC countries and confirmed its relevance to development.
He said the funding base had broadened significantly over the 15‑year period, with the share of contributions from OEDC/DAC countries dropping from 76 per cent to 63 per cent over the period, and those from non-OECD/DAC Governments, multilateral non-governmental organizations and private funding sources increasing. The growth of the latter contributions was undoubtedly the most significant trend in that regard, he added.
However, with core funding still reliant on a small number of donors — 65 per cent came from OEDC/DAC countries in 2009 — he cautioned that the system was vulnerable in sustaining a “critical mass” of the resources needed for the system to operate efficiently. Under instruction of the General Assembly, executive boards had initiated further discussion of the “critical mass” issue, and the Quadrennial Comprehensive Review would be an opportunity to review those discussions, he said.
Meanwhile, non-core contributions had grown exponentially, with implications for fragmentation and coherence, he continued. To address that threat, the General Assembly had urged executive boards to increase system-wide coherence, and they were expected to report soon. Despite the generally positive aggregate growth of funding, the predictability, reliability and stability of funding by individual contributors remained a problem, he noted.
He went on to state that 69 per cent of expenditure related to country-level programme activities, with least developed countries accounting for 69 per cent of that share. The rest was spent on regional programmes and programme support. The report introduced the concept of Country Programmable Resources to explain how much was spent on country-level development programmes, and provided further analysis of cost recovery of non-core funding flows.
On the issue of concentration and fragmentation, the results had been mixed, he continued, noting that 30 per cent of the countries concerned had accounted for 80 per cent of all country-level expenditures in 2009. In 38 countries, United Nations operational activities for development had accounted for more than 20 per cent of total ODA, showing that the United Nations development system was a relevant development partner there. However, they had accounted for less than 10 per cent of total ODA in 64 programme countries, making it far less relevant in those cases.
YIPING ZHOU, Director of the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), introduced the Secretary-General’s report, “The State of South-South cooperation” (document A/66/229), saying that despite the 2008 economic downturn many Southern countries were thriving with strong growth rates and robust economies. The global South had demonstrated outstanding economic resilience during the review period, he added.
In sum, the report noted mixed trends of both economic convergence and divergence as emerging economies attempted to catch up with the developed world, he continued. While least developed countries required a lot of assistance, the principle remained that in South-South cooperation, everyone had something to offer, he said. It facilitated the pooling of resources and a focus on large-scale interventions that improved the productive capacities of poor countries.
According to 2008 figures, developing countries accounted for around 37 per cent of global trade and nearly three quarters of global growth, with South-South flows making up half of that total, he said, adding that the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) had been transformed into a fully-fledged agency working to accelerate capacity-building and sustainable development through key partnerships at the regional and global levels. Work was also progressing on furthering regional economic integration through the formalization of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area by 2020 and a free trade area among the seven members of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation.
Citing more robust formal interactions, he recalled that in 2010, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs had reported that concessional loans and grants in the global South had risen rapidly in recent years, from $8.6 billion in 2006 to $15.3 billion in 2008. Triangular cooperation partnerships were becoming much stronger. As noted in the report, South-South cooperation was receiving enhanced support from the United Nations, and its agencies were making stronger efforts to further mainstream it through enhanced policy frameworks and planning instruments.
In its strategic plan for 2008-2012, UNDP had highlighted South-South cooperation as one of its principle approaches to ensuring development effectiveness in implementing its country and regional programmes, he said. That commitment was reflected in the 15 annual reports and 17 medium-term plans recently prepared by entities of the United Nations system. However, South-South cooperation would not be possible without the support and commitment of all Member States, he stressed.
MARCELO SUAREZ SALVIA (Argentina), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, stressed that operational activities for development depended on adequate, sustainable, timely and predictable funding. Expressing the Group’s great concern over the continued imbalance between core and non-core funding, he said it impacted negatively on the coherence of the United Nations system. Reliance on earmarked funding contradicted the principles and fundamental activities of United Nations operational activities — that they must be neutral and responsive to the needs of the programme countries concerned.
Reiterating that operational activities for development were carried out for the benefit of recipients, “at their request and in accordance with their own national policies and priorities”, he called for stronger adherence to those principles and expressed hope that national Governments would remain able to determine their own priorities and select their own development partners, as well as the type of country-level relationship they wished to establish with United Nations development entities.
Calling for implementation of the 2009 Nairobi Declaration, he also reiterated calls for concrete measures to support South-South cooperation, including triangular cooperation, to help developing countries, “at their request and with their own ownership and leadership, to develop capacities to maximize the benefits and impact of South-South and triangular cooperation”. He called also for the Declaration’s explicit incorporation into the operational programmes of the United Nations system.
Expressing concern about the growing trend to redraw the boundaries separating developing and developed countries, he said South-South cooperation should remain a complement, not an alternative, to traditional modalities of international cooperation. Developing countries needed support to develop their own capacities and meet development targets, including the Millennium Development Goals, he said. He also supported the idea of greater United Nations-system coherence in support of South-South cooperation, suggesting that the Organization’s various entities establish “centres of excellence” in their respective areas of expertise. It was to be hoped that the discussions on the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review would improve national as well as United Nations-system capacities so as to ensure country ownership and leadership of operational activities.
SHANKER BAIRAGI (Nepal), speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries and associating himself with the Group of 77, said the establishment of a special category for least developed countries, and a system for convening related United Nations conferences underscored the important responsibility that the Organization must fulfil. The Istanbul Programme of Action emanating from the United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in May this year embodied the genuine development aspirations of those countries in the coming decade and outlined the framework for a renewed and strengthened global partnership to realize them.
The United Nations and its various agencies were an integral part of that global compact and had a special responsibility to ensure full, effective and timely implementation of the Programme of Action, he continued. It was essential that the world body’s operational activities for development respond to the development of programme countries, as articulated in their national policies and plans, while respecting the principle of national ownership and leadership, he emphasized.
He said it was encouraging that the United Nations development system’s resource base had broadened and become more diversified over time with the inclusion of non-traditional donors, among them developing countries and the private sectors as contributors. However, it was a matter of concern that the imbalance between unrestricted core and highly fragmented, restricted non-core funding remained high, with non-core resources constituting some 73 per cent of the total contribution and the share of core resources declined to 27 per cent.
“We reiterate our informed view that predictability, reliability and sustainability of funding should underpin the funding arrangements of operational activities for development,” he stressed. It was equally important that non-core resources be fully aligned with the strategic plans and mandate of the relevant United Nations entities, he said, noting also the use of innovative funding mechanisms such as multi-donor trust funds.
South-South cooperation had great potential to transform the global development landscape, he said. Substantial cooperation on human and productive capacity-building and technical assistance, especially on issues of health, education, agriculture, environment and science, would contribute greatly to realizing development goals. The global South had effective knowledge-sharing systems, proven development policy options and appropriate technology in the areas of food security, climate change and HIV/AIDS research, he said before stating in conclusion that South-South cooperation had increased in importance and scope, and the time had come to further broaden and strengthen its effectiveness.
HASAN KLEIB (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, noted that there had been no real growth in overall contributions over the last few years and called on developed partners to honour their ODA commitments. He also stressed the importance of sustaining the growth of middle-income countries, while keeping the focus on least developed countries.
He emphasized the importance of South-South cooperation in international relations, and the need to recognize the opportunity for countries of the global South to share expertise and resources, while delivering results at relatively low cost through South-South and triangular cooperation. He also reaffirmed ASEAN’s commitment to strengthening and widening South-South cooperation and collaboration, and engaging in multilateral and bilateral initiatives. ASEAN hoped the Committee’s deliberations could guide the United Nations to gear its efforts and resources to addressing global concerns within its universal, neutral and voluntary nature, he said.
The Association shared the Secretary-General’s view of the highly fragmented situation, fluctuating contributions and the need for funding resources, which demanded urgent action by the entire United Nations system, he continued. Given its central role in development, the Organization should do more to enhance coherence and coordination mechanisms with a view to mobilizing greater support and financial resources for promoting South-South and triangular cooperation, he said, adding that the world body would be instrumental in the race to realize the Millennium Development Goals and in developing the post-2015 framework.
CONROD HUNTE (Antigua and Barbuda), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and associating himself with the Group of 77, said that despite incessant calls by CARICOM, there had been no significant improvement in the provision of adequate and predictable funding for operational activities, particularly for development. That “dire situation” had been exacerbated by a number of new challenges but more so by the continued and prolonged financial crisis.
Emphasizing that the quantity, quality and predictability of United Nations development assistance was important to CARICOM, he said it was necessary to strengthen multilateral frameworks. Persistent inequality between core and non-core funding weakened the multilateral funding of development assistance and had the negative effect of undercutting development effectiveness. The alarming disparity between core and non-core resources must be addressed urgently, he stressed, pointing out that non-core resources were not only unpredictable, they also increased operational costs, and contributed to ineffectiveness and fragmentation of the United Nations system. Establishing a balance was critical, he added.
Going on to underscore that operational activities for development should be responsive to national plans, he said it was imperative that they address the long-term development challenges of recipients and work towards building capacity. A continuous process was required and the United Nations could make a significant contribution, being instrumental in addressing long-term development challenges. Increased system-wide support was required to achieve that, he said, pointing out that ODA never reached the prescribed target levels and never rose significantly, even in years of robust economic growth. On South-South cooperation, he said it should be integrated carefully and strategically into United Nations system operational activities, but urged avoidance of attempts to conflate the two, emphasizing that South-South cooperation remained a complement, not a substitute.
MARIA NILAUS TARP (Denmark), speaking also on behalf of the other Nordic countries (Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway), said she held great expectations for the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review, which would be an important opportunity to take stock and step up efforts to guide the United Nations system towards the delivery of coherent, effective and efficient results. Operational activities constituted an important flow of resources to developing countries, she emphasized. Despite visible progress, the United Nations development system remained complex and fragmented, she added, recommending that the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review address effectiveness and efficiency, paying particular attention to the findings of the independent evaluation of “Delivering as One” and to the reports of country-led evaluations.
Noting the world body’s comparative advantage in fragile or post-conflict States, she said that in order to be a reliable and committed partner in the transition from relief to development, its coherence and ability to “deliver as one” was crucial. The Nordic countries were pleased to see a growth in the United Nations system’s development funding, but most of it was channelled to the non-core category of resources, she said, calling for a greater focus on core operational activities.
She also called for greater stability in providing financial resources, and for reducing dependence on a small number of donors, emphasizing that States should meet their ODA commitments. The Busan Conference held great potential, she said, expressing hopes that it would reaffirm the relevance of South-South and triangular cooperation for development while enabling exchanges between partner countries, donors and emerging economies on the sharing of experiences in pursuit of results. The Nordic countries also looked forward to strengthening their partnership with UN Women and promoting gender equality and women’s rights and empowerment worldwide, she added.
CHRISTOPHER STOKES ( Australia), speaking also on behalf of Canada and New Zealand (the CANZ Group), said “business as usual is no longer an option” for the United Nations development system. “Delivering as One” was the best way forward in ensuring that it played a coordinated part in helping countries achieve internationally agreed development goals. It was the responsibility of all Member States to maintain the momentum on development, building on the progress made and the lessons learned so far by finding ways to further improve approaches.
Saying CANZ welcomed the valuable contribution of the “Delivering as One” pilots in providing lessons and innovations towards a more effective system of support to programme countries, he said that improving coordination between United Nations agencies at the country level, under the leadership of Resident Coordinators, and between the United Nations system and host Governments was critical, and urged the United Nations system to review regulations and policies on human resources to ensure that they were appropriately supportive of the career paths of the Resident Coordinators, and empowered them to provide strong leadership in the United Nations response to national priorities. Lastly, he encouraged dialogue with Member States on the need for a “critical mass” of core resources.
DENIS PIMINOV ( Russian Federation) advocated the expansion and improvement of operational activities for development, and expressed support for improving the predictability, long-term stability and appropriate financing of United Nations operational activities for development. He said un-earmarked contributions were the best way to help the United Nations system’s programmes and funds achieve their comparative advantages. Concerned by the continuing reduction in the share of resources, which placed limits on the system’s ability to meet development needs, he recommended the use of thematically targeted funding. The proper balance called for a pragmatic approach, he added.
The idea of “critical mass” required thorough consideration and analysis, including consensus on its definition, he said. As for innovative mechanisms, they remained supplementary and voluntary, and could not replace traditional forms of resource mobilization. Analysis of the “Delivering as One” concept had received great attention, he said, concurring on the need to enhance the effectiveness and coherence of programmes, but emphasizing that future development depended on forthcoming intergovernmental analyses of pilot projects. The present stage in reforming United Nations operational activities for development would conclude with a General Assembly resolution and the current review would be the main source for policy guidance, he said.
Guidance would come from the need for national Governments to maintain the right to choose when determining the parameters of cooperation, he continued, expressing satisfaction with the increasing contributions towards operational assistance for development coming came from developing countries. South-South cooperation had become an important component of the development architecture, he said, emphasizing, however, that it was considered an independent conceptual basis for cooperation on assistance and development. The Nairobi Conference on South-South Cooperation and the Istanbul Conference on the Least Developed Countries had given particular significance to the issue, he noted, adding that the Russian Federation supported the major approaches formulated at those meetings and that consistent application would enhance its effects.
GOBALAKRISHNAN NAGAPAN ( Malaysia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, reaffirmed the importance of South-South cooperation as a vital vehicle of international cooperation for development. One of the cornerstones in enhancing it was the sharing of expertise and experiences, he said, welcoming the Secretary-General, which reflected the strong acceleration of economic growth across the global South, spurred by South-South interactions. At the same time, the Malaysian delegation was concerned about rising inequality and the possibility that many countries of the South would fail to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
He said programmes conducted under South-South cooperation should be driven more by demand than supply, integrate more fully the evaluation aspect and be more result-oriented. Malaysia would remain creative in formulating South-South cooperation programmes, with the aim of providing the least developed Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries with the capacity to better manage and improve their economic performances, reduce poverty and promote sustainable growth by leveraging the funds made available by the Islamic Development Bank. Malaysia would also continue to work with other countries, the United Nations and other stakeholders to further exploit the potential benefits of South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation, with the common goal of meeting internationally agreed development goals by 2015 and beyond.
PIUS WENNUBST ( Switzerland) pointed out key challenges to implementing General Assembly resolution 62/208 on operational activities for development. On the issue of harmonizing business practices, he said there had been insufficient progress at Headquarters and in the field, and urged Member States to identify hurdles that would prevent further progress in that regard. He also expressed hope that stronger language would be used in the next Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review.
Calling for increased authority to enable Resident Coordinators better to coordinate programmes, he also called for better responses in post-crisis situations. The United Nations system needed to be able to appoint the best people and to allow them to discharge their duties, he stressed. Humanitarian Coordinators needed authority over country teams, and humanitarian teams needed access to core resources to engage critical capacities.
Recognizing that the overall funding structure did not provide the right incentives for better coordination, he said the lack of core contributions led to the question: “What is the critical mass for each fund and programme to ensure they work to the best of their abilities?” He reiterated his call for fruitful dialogue within the system on the issue of “critical mass”, and urged constructive exchanges ahead of the next Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review. Open and challenging dialogue was needed to produce good decisions and a strengthened United Nations system, he added.
JOÃO LUCAS QUENTAL NOVAES DE ALMEIDA (Brazil), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, stressed the crucial role that operational activities played in supporting the national policies and strategies of developing countries as the world faced renewed economic turbulence as well as increasingly volatile food and energy prices. Operational activities should rightly focus on the poorest and most vulnerable countries, particularly the least developed countries, he said, stressing that the current situation, whereby financial resources tended to be concentrated disproportionately in a limited number of project countries, should be reviewed as a matter of urgency, he said.
Emphasizing the importance of objective, transparent allocation of funds and resources, he said that, while taking into account the positive long-term trend in the funding of operational activities, he was concerned that the total contributions had remained essentially stagnant in real terms for the last two years for which complete data were available. The increasingly broad funding base, including significant contributions by developing countries, was certainly a positive development, but financial flows to operational activities still lacked the necessary long-term predictability and reliability, he said. By virtue of its extensive field presence and notable local expertise, its specialized agencies, funds and programmes, the United Nations provided an unrivalled institutional network and should play a more central role, he stressed.
He said in conclusion that his country had become increasingly active in South-South cooperation, sharing successful experiences and providing technical cooperation through a developing-country perspective. Brazil was confident that South-South and triangular cooperation would continue to expand in the coming years, he said, underscoring the growing role of developing countries in the increasingly multi-polar world economy. The global South would expand at its own pace, respectful of its unique qualities and characteristics, he added.
JAIRO RODRÍGUEZ HERNÁNDEZ (Cuba), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that global crises, including the economic and financial crisis, remained major challenges to the work of the United Nations system. The efforts of its bodies to provide assistance constituted “a key element in the attempt of the countries of the South to address development processes”. The crisis should not be used as a pretext for reducing development commitments, particularly the delivery of core resources to the United Nations system, he stressed.
Emphasizing also the urgent need to reverse the growing imbalance between core and non-core resources, he said it was one of the main causes of incoherent operational activities, which were financed in such a way as to cater to the needs of donors rather than those of recipients. That ran counter to the principles governing United Nations operational activities, he said, rejecting the attachment of conditions to assistance and emphasizing the key role of the United Nations in countering the economic and financial crisis. That task required adequate accountability, he said, calling on the United Nations system and inter-agency organs to coordinate in order to achieve that.
VADIM PISAREVICH ( Belarus) said that in the years to come, the international community would have to much more effectively “mastermind their work” and pool efforts in the area of development assistance. The United Nations was the only player in the area of global development, he noted. Although there had been growth in contributions to United Nations organizations and agencies in support of development, he expressed concern that funding for operational activities came mainly from non-core resources while the share of core resources had declined.
That trend hamstrung the Organization’s operational agencies, he continued, noting that it obstructed their compliance with the mandates assigned to them by Member States, for the simple reason that non-core resources were neither a reliable nor a predictable source of development support. Low-income countries should receive the major share of resources from operational activities, he said, noting also the importance of remembering to support middle-income countries, which accounted for about two thirds of all Member States, and which experienced significant development problems of their own.
FERNANDO ROJAS ( Peru), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said increased solidarity in the South had breathed a new dynamism into international cooperation. South-South cooperation now existed in parallel with official assistance mechanisms but remained a complement to North-South cooperation, not a replacement, he emphasized. That made it important, despite the increasing importance of South-South cooperation, to remain aware of both its potential and its limitations. The countries of the South had better integrated their trade, economic and social relations, leading to increased requests for South-South and triangular cooperation, he noted.
He went on to say that bilateral cooperation among developing countries could lead to formal cooperation agreements and despite progress, there was a need for better coordination to increase the available financial resources. The United Nations system had increased efforts to bolster South-South cooperation, he said, calling for multilateral support to increase that cooperation further. Urging developed countries to increase their efforts in that regard, he said middle-income countries also had an important role to play in that regard, noting that they both provided cooperation and benefited from assistance. Because of their particular characteristics, middle income countries would benefit especially from assistance as it would bolster their ability to provide assistance to other countries of the South.
WANG MIN (China), endorsing the statement of the Group of 77 and China, said that sufficient, stable and predictable core resources were the foundation of the Organization’s operational activities and a requirement for strengthening the global development partnership. The downward trend in development financing and the imbalance between core and non-core resources had undercut the coherence and efficiency of the United Nations development system and could weaken the nature of its assistance, eroding the principle of national ownership, he warned. He called on all parties to act in line with Assembly resolution 64/289 on system-wide coherence and other consensus documents to immediately improve the funding system for operational activities and fulfil their respective responsibilities and commitments towards global development goals.
Noting that least developed countries were the most vulnerable group in the global economic system, he urged the international community to implement the Istanbul Programme of Action in full, translate its commitments into action, truly respect the leadership of least developed countries in their own development, and strengthen the package of support measures for them and immediately fulfil their ODA commitments to them. While emphasizing that South-South cooperation was not a replacement for North-South cooperation, he said he was encouraged by the headway of recent years in economic and technical cooperation among developing countries. China would seek policy and funding support for those efforts from the Organization’s development system.
AMAN HASSEN BAME ( Ethiopia) said that although the international community had been witnessing encouraging results in the provision of funding, particularly to long-term development-related activities, the concerns that programme countries had been raising for years had not yet been addressed. Citing the report, he said the unevenness resulting from the growing imbalance between core and non-core funding for operational activities was a major cause of the incoherence in the United Nations development system. Unless addressed in a timely manner, it could lead to distorted approaches and disrupt implementation of country programmes, he warned.
He said that his country, as one of the largest beneficiaries of the world body’s development system, attached great importance to the role of the United Nations operational activities. He added that his delegation had been promoting the Ethiopian Government’s decision to embrace the “Delivering as One” programme with the intention of bringing about greater coherence, transparency and effectiveness, as well as enhanced harmonization of efforts in resource allocation and mobilization on the part of the United Nations system. The delegation had full confidence that the “Delivering as One” programme in Ethiopia was moving in the right direction to bring about a bigger development impact in the country.
TAUHEDUL ISLAM (Bangladesh), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said that the capacity of the United Nations to deliver on development had been questioned often and “the capacity of the institution is a hallmark to herald its reliability to respond to the development needs of the Member States, especially the developing countries”. He urged the world body to remain geared towards the national needs of Member States on the basis of national ownership and strategy, calling on it to distance itself from conditionality in the name of structural adjustment.
Urging United Nations funds and programmes to adhere to the Accra Action Agenda in relation to the disbursement of development assistance by international institutions on the basis of national ownership and country-led priorities, he said the Organization needed to be “strong in capacity, sound in financial capability, equipped with human and systemic resources and transparent in operation”. Further resource mobilization was needed to embolden the world body in its development activities, he said.
Calling for the strengthening of the world body’s core resources while noting that the lack of such resources constituted “a manifestation of conditionality disguised in another form”, he warned that until its own core resources were bigger than its non-core resources, the United Nations would be unable to operate independently to fulfil the needs of its Member States. The essence of United Nations activities remained the same, he said, urging development partners to come forward and help developing countries, particularly least developed ones, to boost their national capacity to meet the Millennium Development Goals.
YOO HYERAN ( Republic of Korea) noted that United Nations development activities had bounced back faster than total ODA and multilateral aid flows, but key concerns over its development funding were persistent and ever-growing. A deteriorating imbalance between core and non-core resources was a concern, she said, adding that the persistent questions of predictability and stability of core resources may be more problematic than the level of funding due to the prolonged economic uncertainty in many traditional donor countries, exchange rate fluctuations and limited multi-year pledges.
She said the United Nations would remain a key development partner for her country, citing the Government’s contribution amounting to $90 million to operational activities in 2010. The Republic of Korea was also strengthening its efforts to increase its thematic contributions to United Nations entities, in full respect of their mandates, priorities and business modalities. For instance, it had established, with the UNDP, the “Korea-UNDP MDGs Trust Fund” in 2010 to help support the Programme’s efforts to accelerate realization of Millennium Development Goals, she said. The Republic of Korea’s multi-year support for the World Food Programme’s (WFP) “Food for New Village” was one of the recent examples of the country’s long-term commitment to United Nations agencies, she said.
She went on to stress the importance of South-South cooperation, saying there was growing recognition, together with triangular cooperation, it was one of the important methods of coping with crises and meeting international development goals. The international community should continue its efforts to address challenges in South-South cooperation, such as securing greater and more balanced participation by developing countries, avoiding duplication, increasing harmonization and seeking synergies between South-South and North-South cooperation. As the host country, the Republic of Korea looked forward to the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, to be held in Busan, which hopefully would help Member States embrace diverse approaches to the development-effectiveness agenda, on the basis of inclusive and comprehensive global development partnerships.
OLEKSANDR NAKONECHNYI ( Ukraine) commended the “Delivering as One” approach, saying it had proven effective in implementing development policy. He also supported steps taken for developing technical cooperation and funding to increase the efficiency, productivity and sustainability of operational activities, and welcomed developments in implementation of the Plan of Action for the Harmonization of Business Practices, particularly the various procurement initiatives under way, and the harmonized approaches to financial management. However, more needed to be done to fund operational activities for development, he said, stressing that the growing imbalance between core and non-core funding should be reversed and funding flows made more predictable, reliable and stable.
Noting the role of United Nations funds and programmes in supporting Government efforts to meet internationally agreed development goals, he praised the excellent coordination and collaboration between the Government of Ukraine and the United Nations team there, with particular regard to UNDP programmes aimed at reducing inequality, ensuring socially-oriented growth and environmental protection, and combating HIV/AIDS. UNDP was a proven advisor to the Ukrainian Government. He further singled out the contributions of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Ukraine, pointing out that all three agencies had contributed to the success of the new country programmes documents for Ukraine, which were well aligned with national programmes.
BENEDICT LUKWIYA ( Uganda) said the credibility and effectiveness of United Nations development assistance depended on its relevance to the needs of developing countries, as well as its role in supporting the national policies of the countries themselves. Assistance must be rooted in those policies, he stressed, adding that country-level operational activities must respond to national development agendas and respect the principles of national ownership and demand-driven activities.
Adequate and predictable financing of United Nations operational activities remained a critical requirement, he continued. It was encouraging that contributions from developing countries had grown by 75 per cent in real terms between 2005 and 2009, but 73 per cent of total funding was in the form of non-core contributions, which were characterized by restricted application and use. The growing imbalance was a matter of concern to developing countries, he stressed, suggesting that common funding mechanisms such as thematic and multi-donor funds could play an increasing role in the overall financing of operational activities for development.
He expressed disappointment that the integrated strategic and multi-lateral financing networks adopted by entities of the United Nations development system had not significantly advanced the predictability of resource flows. However, the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review presented an opportunity to take stock of the results achieved and identify clear guidelines for further progress, he said. Uganda welcomed efforts to create more inclusive partnerships and dialogue — with the increased participation of developing countries — which had resulted in the articulation of principles to guide South-South cooperation, he said in conclusion.
MOHAMMED LOULICHKI (Morocco), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said South-South cooperation was vital to international development, especially in the current global environment of food and energy insecurity. “This is unprecedented momentum between countries in the South”, he said, noting by 2030, the global South would be one of the main drivers of the international economy. In that respect, he said, the United Nations must play a more integrated role, with a focus on coherence in policy. At the same time, the world body had a responsibility, alongside the providers of aid, to address the disparities prevalent in the global South.
He said his country welcomed South-South and triangular cooperation and had made it a foreign-policy priority. The key to human development was reaching vulnerable populations, an approach that was in perfect harmony because it placed citizens at the forefront of development. Strengthening capacity-building had also found a place in Morocco, he said, pointing out that the number of foreign exchange students in the country, from at least 42 African States, had tripled in recent years. That was a part of the country’s development projects, he said, reiterating Morocco’s focus on and dedication to South-South cooperation.
ANNE NAMAKAU MUTELO ( Namibia), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, expressed concern that there had been no real growth in contributions to operational activities for development since 2008, despite the economic crisis. Even humanitarian assistance had declined, despite the alarming recent increase in the rate and magnitude of humanitarian catastrophes. She also pointed out the imbalance between core and non-core funding, noting that the former had declined while the latter had increased.
She went on to say that the worrying trend towards an increasing imbalance needed urgent review since non-core funds were marked by restrictions and core funds covered a higher share of United Nations institutional costs and programme activities of a more global and inter-regional character. The United Nations should vigorously pursue enhanced coherence, efficiency and effectiveness in its operational activities for development. As for the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review discussions, she said she looked forward to implementation of the General Assembly resolution on system-wide coherence.
JOSEPH M. TORSELLA (United States), noting that his country was often the largest donor and main partner to United Nations agencies, offered several proposals aimed at balancing confidence in and support for the Organization’s operational activities. He recalled that, in the area of transparency and accountability – a top Government priority – the United States had been the principal sponsor of the provision in General Assembly resolution 59/272 (2005) that made internal reports of the Office for Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) available to Member States. The delegation further applauded a recent move to make internal audit reports available to the public, and had addressed the issue of full public disclosure during board meetings of several United Nations agencies, he said.
It was equally important to refocus discussions about operational activities on achieving solid performance results, he continued, pointing out that the Organization often had difficulty capturing and communicating its development results to the public, though it was imperative to do so. That information should be the basis for budgeting and resource allocation, he stressed, adding: “In a time of scarce resources, the United Nations cannot afford business as usual.” Additionally, it was necessary to move beyond traditional North-South divides and embrace the new realities of the global partnership for development — including new State and non-State participants. “In this day and age, a United Nations development system almost entirely dependent on 10 traditional donors is an outdated and unsustainable formula,” he said.
He went on to emphasize that the Resident Coordinator system was a key component of effective coordination among United Nations agencies. Meanwhile, the “Delivering as One” pilot programmes had demonstrated some concrete ways to work together more efficiently. However, systematic evaluations were needed to validate those results, he stressed. With regard to the Quadrennial Comprehensive Review Process, he said the burden of the Resident Coordinator system should be shared, instead of relying exclusively on the UNDP. There was also an urgent need to ensure enhanced coordination and consultation between that Programme, as manager of the United Nations development system, and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in selecting Resident Coordinators, he said.
JAKKRIT SRIVALI ( Thailand), associating himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, called for the scaling-up of South–South cooperation efforts, saying technical cooperation with developing countries was high on his country’s agenda. Most of Thailand’s ODA went to least developing countries, he said, adding that the country had also been promoting regional connectivity through infrastructure and information and communications technology with a view to realizing the ASEAN Community.
He expressed support for efforts to increase the coherence, coordination and effectiveness of the United Nations system through a system-wide coherence approach. The United Nations Partnership Framework (UNPAF) was a good model of cooperation that helped in the design and implementation of partnership programmes, in accordance with national development agendas. He also urged boosting the roles of the United Nations Resident Coordinators and country teams. He welcomed the establishment of a special unit on South-South cooperation and expressed full support for the creation of proposed “centres of excellence”.
Thailand had been working to that end with the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and others, he continued. The country was attuned to the needs of the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, he said, calling for implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action and the Nairobi Declaration. Describing South-South cooperation as a complement and not a replacement for traditional North-South cooperation, he said ODA should be increased despite the current economic constraints.
Ms. LUNA ( Mexico) said her country recognized the need for United Nations agencies to adapt to changing environments, but the system must clearly define operational tasks in the regional and international spheres. Recalling a recent United Nations visit to Mexico, which had just commemorated the Organization’s 50-year-long presence in the country, said the world body had recognized its role in development. Going forward, the United Nations development system must agree on a sustainable development model and strengthen its cooperation mechanisms, she said.
Mexico looked forward to the Fourth High-level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, Republic of Korea, as a decisive opportunity to define and build a future global alliance, she said. There was a need to assist low-income countries, but also to continue the international commitment to middle-income countries. “Most people live in middle-income countries,” she said, listing almost all the member States of Latin America. They faced a number of challenges, including poverty. She expressed hope that, without replacing North-South cooperation but rather complementing it, South-South cooperation would provide middle-income countries with the ability to strengthen their institutions.
OLADELE KOLE ADEBOLA (Nigeria), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said it was vital to enhance the United Nations system’s capacity to improve its response to development needs. He emphasized the need to strengthen global partnerships for development, urging development partners to provide support for the realization of national-development objectives. The entire United Nations system, and the Bretton Woods institutions, should recognize local ownership and align their cooperation programmes with national development strategies to help make the optimum contribution to their realization.
Describing South-South cooperation as specific to the historic and political context of developing countries, he called on them to strengthen its promotion at all levels, with the support of the United Nations system. The Science and Technical Exchange Programme aimed to create opportunities for engaging the services of highly-trained African researchers, and Nigeria had been a strong advocate of the need to exchange expertise in the context of South-South cooperation, he said. Nigeria had also requested more support to help create the South-South Global Asset and Technologies Exchange project so as to facilitate the acquisition and exchange of technology among developing countries.
He went on to note the South’s resilience in response to the economic crisis, pointing out that his country’s robust growth in its aftermath underscored the resilience and prudence of Nigeria’s economic policies. South-South cooperation was a partnership among equals, based on solidarity, he said. He also acknowledged the need to enhance the development effectiveness of South-South cooperation by continuing to increase its mutual accountability and transparency while coordinating its initiatives with other development plans and priorities.
VU THI BICH DUNG (Viet Nam), associating herself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said her country placed “a lot of weight” on United Nations operations. Its Government and the United Nations were working together in carrying out development projects in Viet Nam, and although progress had been made, the next step in operational activities would be to further coordinate actions, reduce duplication, and avoid the scattering of resources, she stressed.
The effectiveness of the United Nations system remained fragmented, she said, emphasizing that implementation with regard to development needed further strengthening, and UNDP’s operational activities should be reinforced to enhance efficiency. There was a need for stronger support from United Nations Headquarters for implementation of development on the ground, she said, calling upon donors and the international community to continue to provide funds to the Organization.
NOZOMUYAMASHITA (Japan), emphasizing that the ultimate goal of the United Nations was to deliver assistance to people in need, said he looked forward to engaging with the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review on issues such as “Delivering as One” and “critical mass”. Regarding the question of core and non-core resources, he said it was important to look beyond the aggregated figures and find out what actually constituted “non-core” resources.
Describing his country as a “frontrunner” on South-South cooperation since the 1950s, he said it therefore recognized its value today. The country had been involved in knowledge-sharing and peer-learning efforts to promote the self-help efforts of developing countries since 1975 through the Japan International Cooperation Agency, and it maintained partnerships with 12 such nations. After providing Brazil with technical assistance to help develop its savannah areas, Japan had then joined with that country in partnering with Mozambique because there had been an opportunity for transfer, he said.
He went on to say that his country had also set-up the Japan International Cooperation Agency Coalition for Rice Development with the aim of doubling rice production by 2018. The term “South-South cooperation” had been debated and there was discussion about whether it had more to do with solidarity or aid effectiveness. Such differences of opinion should not affect it negatively or prevent forward movement, he said, noting that further development of the term was required to reflect changing realities. The positive impacts of South-South development were evident within triangular cooperation, he said, adding that although it was initially more costly, it became less so in the medium and longer term.
AMBER BARTH, International Labour Organization (ILO), said that the agency, guided by the outcomes of major United Nations conferences and summits, had been working to meet Member States’ expectations in support of South-South and triangular cooperation. To date, exchanges had been facilitated on the implementation of social protection floors and employment programmes; policies to combat child labour; knowledge-sharing platforms for skills development; capacity-building in the port and tourism sectors of Central America; and labour migration. Recently, the ILO had undertaken projects in the field of decent work through a partnership with India, Brazil and South Africa, and on “South-South and Triangular Cooperation for the Implementation of Gender Sensitive Social Protection Floors at Country Level”, with UNDP.
She said the ILO had also developed a strategy for South-South and triangular cooperation, guided by the 2007 UN Triennial Comprehensive Policy Review, the Nairobi Declaration, its own Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization. The outcome-based strategy focused on: institutional support to better map ILO South-South and triangular cooperation and capacity-building so that staff could proactively recognize new opportunities; mobilizing resources for technical cooperation and partnership-building with other international organizations and United Nations agencies; and strengthening support and capacity building of ILO constituents for South-South and triangular cooperation. It was critical that the development community apply South-South and triangular cooperation towards poverty eradication, employment creation, sustainable development and integration of the global South into the international economy, she emphasized, adding that the agency was committed to helping scale up opportunities for such activities.
SETHURAMIAH L. RAO, Permanent Observer for Partners in Population and Development, said that despite the continuing problems of poverty and population faced by least developed and many sub-Sahara African countries, they had effectively formulated and implemented population-related policies, while had succeeded in reducing poverty levels. Population, reproductive health and development were particularly suitable areas for South-South cooperation, he said. Under the aegis of Partners in Population and Development, training and capacity-building activities were ongoing in various fields, and many developing countries had first-rate technical capacities in the population and reproductive-health fields.
Partners in Population and Development had also promoted exchanges of reproductive-health commodities, information and experiences, and had catalogued innovative experiences that had led to success, he said. The Partnership had organized advocacy and policy dialogue activities on urgent topics in population, reproductive health and development. They had taken the form of international conferences from which had emanated declarations that served as useful guides for participating countries in addressing issues in the field. An international conference on population dynamics, climate change and sustainable development planned for Pretoria in November was a chance to advocate political, financial and technical support in addressing population, reproductive-health and development issues, he said.
GEORGE B. ASSAF, Director and Representative to the United Nations and other International Organizations, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), urged the international community to ask how the United Nations system and the wider multilateral and bilateral development system could deepen cooperation on the ground with a clear and sharp focus. In framing the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review over the coming months, it was to be hoped that Member States would look at any perceived deficiencies in accordance with how they coordinated responses on the ground, he said. They should examine how the system could become more results-oriented, he added.
Commenting on South-South cooperation, he said that although the world had seen the emergence of a number of developing countries such as Brazil, China, India and South Africa, which were providing much needed “dynamism” to the world economy, growth in other developing countries still lagged behind, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Although the global South faced challenges, it arguably had greater development potential today than ever before, he said, adding that in terms of technology transfer, it had yet to achieve its great potential. UNIDO has a special focus on helping build manufacturing capacities in the South and promoting South-South cooperation for sustainable industrial development, he said.
* *** *For information media • not an official record