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Volume 17, No.01 - January 2013

Global dialogue on development


NGO Committee to consider 200 applications

The 2013 Regular Session of the Committee on NGOs will meet on 21-30 January and is expected to adopt its report on 8 February 2013

The Committee on NGOs will consider over 200 new applications for status by NGOs as well as applications deferred from earlier sessions. It will also review nearly 300 quadrennial reports of NGOs in general or special consultative status.

It is a standing committee of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), established by the Council in 1946. It reports directly to ECOSOC, and the two reports of its annual regular session (usually at the end of January) and resumed session (in May) include draft resolutions or decisions on matters calling for action by the Council. 

The Committee has 19 members who are elected on the basis of equitable geographical representation: 

  • 5 members from African States;
  • 4 members from Asian States;
  • 2 members from Eastern European States;
  • 4 members from Latin American and Caribbean States; and
  • 4 members from Western European and other States.

The term of office of its members is four years. The current terms of reference of the Committee are set out in Resolution 1996/31. In its proceedings the Committee is guided by the rules of procedure of the Council. 

Members of the NGO Committee for the period 2011-2014 are the following: Belgium, Bulgaria (Chair), Burundi, China, Cuba, India, Israel (Vice-Chair and Rapporteur), Kyrgyzstan (Vice-Chair), Morocco, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Peru, Russian Federation, Senegal (Vice-Chair), Sudan, TURKEY, United States of America, and Venezuela (Bolivarian Rep.) 

The main tasks of the Committee are:

  • The consideration of applications for consultative status and requests for reclassification submitted by NGOs;
  • The consideration of quadrennial reports submitted by NGOs in General and Special categories;
  • The implementation of the provisions of Council resolution 1996/31 and the monitoring of the consultative relationship;
  • Any other issues which the ECOSOC may request the Committee to consider.

For more information: DESA’s NGO Branch

 

Major resolution on policy review recommends important improvements

The General Assembly adopted on 21 December a landmark resolution on the policy review of UN operational activities for development. The far-reaching changes endorsed in the resolution signal the importance of improving the relevance and effectiveness of the UN development system.

The resolution also recognizes the value of better linking operational activities with norms and standards such as freedom, peace, security and human rights, as well as the importance of incorporating sustainable development into the mandates, programmes, strategies and decision-making processes of UN entities. For the first time, there is also intergovernmental recognition of the ‘delivering-as-one’ model though it remains a voluntary option.

The resolution represents a significant step in the reform of the UN development system.  The resolution is the culmination of two months of intensive intergovernmental negotiations underpinned by comprehensive analytical preparations supported by DESA and UN system entities. It was stated at the time of the adoption of the QCPR resolution that “this legislation is a major confidence-builder in the UN development system”.

The new QCPR resolution addressed several key issues.

Funding

The resolution has identified a number of steps to address the growing imbalance between core and non-core contributions. Funds and Programmes (Fs/Ps) are requested to present proposals for the concept of “critical mass” of core funding with a view to a decision in 2014; all core and non-core resources at the country level to be consolidated within a common budgetary framework; Fs/Ps to adopt by 2013, with a view to full implementation in 2014, cost recovery frameworks based on the principle of full cost recovery of all non-programme costs proportionally from core and non-core funding sources. This decision will require an increase in the present programme support cost rate of the Fs/Ps.

Functioning (programming, business practices, resident coordinator system, DaO)

The UN development system to improve the UNDAF as a strategic framework, simplify the UNDAF process and strengthen joint programming; simplify and harmonize the UNDAF and agency-specific programming instruments and processes; develop a common approach for measuring progress in capacity development; mainstream South-South and triangular cooperation into country-level programming and strengthen the use of the gender scorecard.

The UN development system to consolidate support services at the country level either by adopting a lead agency model, establishing a common service centre, or through outsourcing, and report on concrete achievements by the end of 2014; UN entities to invest in intra-agency rationalization of business operations and present plans by the end of 2013; rules, policies and procedures in the functional areas of finance, human resources management, procurement, ICT and other administrative services to be unified across the UN system by 2016; use of national systems to be stepped-up and the number of parallel implementation units reduced; the Secretary-General to present a proposal in early 2014 for decision-making by the Executive Boards of Fs/Ps on the common definition of operating costs and a common and standardized system of cost control. This is important for enhanced transparency in financial reporting and the calculation of cost savings from harmonization of business practices across UN entities. The resolution also calls for achieving full interoperability of enterprise resources planning systems of Fs/Ps in 2016 and the UN development system to develop a strategy for common premises in programme countries by the end of 2013.

The resolution calls for enhancing the planning and coordination function of UN resident coordinators including their ability to propose amendments to projects and programmes to bring them in line with the UNDAF, as well as the UNDAF itself, or its action plan, if activities are determined to be no longer in alignment with the broader UN strategy; strengthening of the capacity of resident coordinators’ offices; improved reporting by resident coordinators on the results of the UN development system as a whole at the country level; further decentralization of authority to field representatives of UN entities for decisions on programmatic and financial matters; and improved coordination between Secretariat entities and agencies of the UN development system in countries in transition from relief to development, e.g. through simplification and harmonization of programming instruments and processes and business practices. The Secretary-General is also requested to submit a proposal on the funding of the resident coordinator system in 2013.

The UN system is requested to consolidate the DaO process by clearly outlining the core elements of each of the “ones” and to provide the respective programme countries with an integrated package of support, comprising standard operating procedures as well as guidance on DaO-specific programming, monitoring and evaluation and reporting, pooled funding mechanisms and support to the resident coordinator system; the Secretary-General is requested to present options for the review and approval of common country programme documents of the DaO countries for consideration of ECOSOC and GA in 2013 and to come up with proposals for the establishment of common monitoring, evaluation and reporting mechanisms on DAO implementation.

Results-based management and system-wide evaluation

In the areas of results-based management, the Secretary-General is requested to present a report to ECOSOC in 2013 on an approach to streamline the planning, monitoring, measurement and reporting on system-wide results. Governing bodies of UN entities are also invited to engage in a focused dialogue on how to balance reporting on system-wide results with the current agency-specific reporting requirements. The UN development system is also requested to develop clear and robust results frameworks that demonstrate complete results chains with the Fs/Ps reporting annually on implementation from 2014.

In addition, the resolution requests the Secretary-General to establish an interim coordination mechanism for system-wide evaluation of operational activities for development, with a draft policy and a proposal for pilot system-wide evaluations to be submitted for discussion at the operational activities segment of ECOSOC in 2013.

For more information: http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/about/qcpr.shtml

Vienna Policy Dialogue focuses on women empowerment

At its December meeting, the Vienna Policy Dialogue of the UN Development Cooperation Forum discussed how to firmly anchor gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in the evolving post-2015 UN development agenda. 

Organized by UNDESA, in partnership with UN Women and the Government of Austria, the Vienna Policy Dialogue on 13 and 14 December 2012 brought together more than 80 senior representatives and experts from national and local governments, civil society organizations, parliaments, and women’s organizations with representatives of international organizations.

With gender inequalities persisting across the globe, the main objective of the meeting was to explore how to put gender equality and the empowerment of women at the heart of the post 2015 development agenda to put an end to gender injustice. The meeting reviewed the role which development cooperation can play to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women. 

A key message emerging from the meeting was that Millennium Development Goals have helped to mobilize financial resources for gender equality and galvanize political support. At the same time, it acknowledged that the MDGs have not sufficiently addressed the root causes of gender inequality. Participants have therefore called for a post 2015 development agenda, which has both a standalone goal on gender equality and the integration of gender equality across the entire post 2015 development agenda.   

Participants also examined the role of mutual accountability mechanisms and gender responsive budgeting in addressing gender inequalities. Both were seen as powerful tools to ensure that gender equality becomes a reality on the ground. There was broad agreement that development partnerships at all level must reflect womens’ voices. Mutual accountability mechanisms can help to empower citizens in their efforts to hold their governments and providers of external assistance to account for gender-responsive policy making. 

The Vienna Policy Dialogue is the first in a series of consultations in preparation of the 2014 DCF.  The DCF is the principal multi-stakeholder platform for global dialogue and policy aimed at reviewing trends and progress in international development cooperation.  It provides policy guidance and recommendations to promote more effective and coherent international development cooperation.

For more information: http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/newfunct/dcfviennadialogue.shtml

Second Committee adopts important resolutions as it completes 67th session

Thirty-six resolutions and one decision were adopted by the Second Committee during its current session. At the front and centre of the discussion was the resolution on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review (QCPR)

The Committee faced difficult negotiations but was able to reach agreement by consensus on ways to better assess the effectiveness, efficiency, coherence and impact of the United Nations operational activities. Delegations were able to negotiate important resolutions that aim to provide policy direction for the macroeconomic and trade actions of the international community, including on external debt sustainability, international trade, international financial system, financing for development, and industrial development. 

Within the sustainable development cluster of items, the Second Committee adopted a total of 16 draft resolutions including on the Follow-up to Agenda 21; the preparatory work for the third international conference on Small Island Developing States; the designation of 2014 as the International Year of SIDS, the declaration of 2014-2024 as the United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All. A resolution on strengthening UNEP was also adopted and a UN-Habitat resolution reaffirmed the decision to hold, in 2016, a third United Nations conference on housing and sustainable urban development (Habitat III). 

On the issue of LDCs, the Committee has taken a significant step to follow up on the Istanbul commitments, including by adopting resolutions on smooth transition for countries graduating from the list of LDCs, and the follow up to the fourth UN Conference on LDCs. 

Resolutions were also adopted on issues including: migration, international day of forests; world water day; entrepreneurship for development; fiscal transparency; among others. 

Two high-level joint events were held in this year’s session. The first was with ECOSOC on the theme of the global economic outlook. The second was with the Third Committee on the theme of ICTs for development. Additionally, five special events were held to inform the Committee’s deliberations on some of its key agenda items, including: sustainable development goals, sovereign debt crisis, entrepreneurship, migration, and science, technology and innovation.

For more information: http://www.un.org/en/ga/second/index.shtml

Secretary-General welcomes outcome of climate change talks

Ban Ki-moon welcomed the outcome of the UN Climate Change Conference which took place in Doha on 26 November-7 December, saying it paves the way to a comprehensive, legally binding agreement by 2015

The two-week meeting of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, wrapped up today in the Qatari capital, with delegates reportedly agreeing to extend the Protocol, whose first commitment period expires at the end of this year, until 2020.

Under the Protocol, 37 States – consisting of highly industrialized countries and countries undergoing the process of transition to a market economy – have legally binding emission limitation and reduction commitments.

“Doha successfully concluded the previous round of climate negotiations, paving the way to a comprehensive, legally binding agreement by 2015,” said a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.

“The Secretary-General believes that far more needs to be done and he calls on governments, along with businesses, civil society and citizens, to accelerate action on the ground so that the global temperature rise can be limited to 2 degrees Celsius,” it added.

Recent UN-led reports have pointed to the urgency of keeping global average temperatures from rising beyond an internationally agreed level of 2 degrees Celsius, beyond which climate change would have serious impacts.

Ban Ki-moon had also expressed his hope for five key “deliverables” by governments in Doha, beginning with the adoption of a ratifiable second commitment period of the Protocol.

He also expected progress on long-term climate finance, and ensuring that the institutions set up during previous conferences in Cancun and Durban to support mitigation and adaptation by developing countries – including the Green Climate Fund and the Climate Technology Centre and Network – are fully equipped and effective.

In addition, the Secretary-General expected governments to demonstrate, with no ambiguity, that negotiations on a global and legally binding instrument remain on track, and to show how they intend to act on the gap between mitigation pledges and what is required to achieve the 2 degrees target.

In a statement on 8 December, it was said that Ban Ki-moon will increase his personal involvement in efforts “to raise ambition, scale-up climate financing, and engage world leaders as we now move towards the global agreement in 2015.”

Source: UN News

For more information:
Gateway to the United Nations Systems Work on Climate Change