ECOSOC Operational Activities Segment

11 - 13 July 2006

Panels

This substantive session of the Economic and Social Council coincided with the mid-cycle review of implementation of the General Assembly resolution 59/250 of the Triennial Comprehensive Policy Review (TCPR) of operational activities for development of the United Nations system. Resolution 59/250 highlights the importance of strengthening the role and capacity of the United Nations development system to assist developing countries in achieving the internationally agreed development goals contained in the Millennium Declaration and other major United Nations conferences and summits, and calls for a number of actions by the organizations of the United Nations system to ensure coherence and effectiveness in their work at the country level to the benefit of recipient countries.

The Council's operational activities segment focused on three elements: (1) ECOSOC's comprehensive review of funding for development cooperation. Paragraph 23 of the Assembly resolution 59/250 , “requests the Economic and Social Council to undertake triennially, as of 2006, a comprehensive review of trends and perspectives in funding for development cooperation.” A Note by the Secretary-General on the review of trends and perspectives in funding for development cooperation ( E/2006/60 ) was submitted to support the Council's review. The substance of this ECOSOC informal debate on trends and perspectives in funding for development cooperation was summarized in the form of agreed conclusions and brought to the attention of other relevant intergovernmental processes. (2) Information sharing on the functioning of the UN development system, with (a) dialogue with Executive Heads of UN funds and programmes on issues that affect the coherence and coordination of the UN system at the country level; and (b) a UN Country Team presentation on “the role of United Nations development cooperation in pursuit of employment creation and decent work: results, coherence, and system-wide support through the UN Development Assistance Framework.” This was in line with the main theme of 2006's substantive session of ECOSOC, which was “ Productive Employment and Decent Work ”. (3) ECOSOC formal session on the review of the progress in the implementation of the General Assembly resolution 59/250 .

The Council had before it, two main reports on: (a) Progress in the implementation of the General Assembly resolution 59/250 on the TCPR of operational activities for development of the United Nations system – Report of the Secretary-General ( E/2006/58 ). This report focused on the implementation along the main orientations of the resolution: (i) integration of the activities of the UN system with national plans and priorities; (ii) support to national capacity building; (iii) access by developing countries to expertise and services available within the UN system; and (iv) result of the UN reform on efficiency and effectiveness of the system. (b) Comprehensive statistical data on operational activities for development for 2004 – Report of the Secretary-General ( A/61/77 - E/2006/59 ). As requested by ECOSOC in 2005, the report on statistical data for 2004 introduced a better distinction between humanitarian assistance and long-term development assistance. Also, Assembly decision 60/547 requested the Council to further consider, in conjunction with its evaluation of implementation of Assembly resolution 59/250 on operational activities, the report of the Secretary-General on funding options and modalities for financing operational activities for development of the UN system, submitted in 2005 to the Council and the Assembly 60th session (document A/60/83-E/2005/72 ). These reports provided elements for discussion during the 11 July comprehensive review of funding for development cooperation.

In addition, the Council considered a programme of work ( E/2006/CRP.1 ) prepared by United Nations Development Group (UNDG) of reform measures to implement the resolution 59/250 on the TCPR. The implementation of that programme of work is expected to be completed in 2007.

3 Panel events were held during the segment:

  • July 11 (10:00 am – 1:00 pm and 3:00 – 6:00 pm), Interactive panel on the “Comprehensive review of trends and perspectives in funding for development cooperation .” The Panel took place in the morning (10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.), followed by an informal debate in the afternoon (3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.). A number of senior government officials and senior officials of United Nations funds, programmes, agencies and other key development actors debated these issues in an open discussion forum.
  • July 12 (10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.), “Dialogue with the Executive Heads of the United Nations Funds and Programmes (UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and WFP).” This dialogue was an opportunity to address issues that affect coherence and coordination of the United Nations system at the country level including: (a) progress in strengthening the Resident Coordinator system (with emphasis on the role of the Regional Directors' Team and RC/UNCT performance appraisal review); (b) streamlined country presence (with emphasis on the Joint Office initiative); (c) coordination during transition from emergencies to recovery and development; and (d) simplified country programming to support achievement of the MDGs.
  • July 12 (3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.), panel by the UN Country Team (UNCT) on “the role of United Nations development cooperation in pursuit of employment creation and decent work: results, coherence, and system-wide support through the UN Development Assistance Framework .” The purpose of this panel was for the UNCT and national counterpart in government to share with the Council their experience from the country-level on how the UN development assistance has contributed to addressing the challenges of productive employment and decent work.
The session on 13 July, 2006: (10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.) provided the opportunity to delegations for a debate and general discussion on operational activities for development of the UN system: evaluation of implementation of Assembly resolution 59/250 . Paragraph 102 of Assembly resolution 59/250 provides the mandate for this evaluation: the Assembly “invites the Economic and Social Council, during the operational activities segment of its substantive session of 2006, to examine the operational activities of the United Nations system in order to evaluate the implementation of the present resolution with a view to ensuring its full implementation”. Council resolution 2005/7 added specific requirements for the Secretary-General reports submitted in the context of this agenda item of the Council. The session was an opportunity to orient the formulation of a resolution in the area of operational activities for development. This resolution offers further guidance to the UN development system for the full implementation of Assembly resolution 59/250 and the preparation of a comprehensive analysis of implementation of the resolution to be submitted to the Council in 2007 in the context of the TCPR.