High-level Panel on System-wide Coherence

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Summary of High-level Panel Consultations

In February 2006, the Secretary-General announced the formation of a High-level panel to explore how the United Nations system could work more coherently and effectively across the world in the areas of development, humanitarian assistance, and the environment.

Since its first meeting in April 2006, the High-level Panel has been conducting consultations around the world, with representatives from the UN system, governments, financial institutions, NGOs.  It will present its recommendations to the Secretary-General during the 61st session of the UN General Assembly.


MAY 2006

May 4-5

Nairobi, Kenya


May 8-9

Maputo, Mozambique

Regional Consultation with Country-level Practitioners in Africa

May 15

Vienna, Austria

The RC System

May 19

Rome, Italy

Transition from Relief to Development and Ongoing Issues on Humanitarian Reform

May 20

Rome, Italy

Meeting with Executive Heads of Rome-based Agencies

May 24-25

Islamabad, Pakistan

Regional Consultation with Country-level Practitioners in Asia

JUNE 2006

June 1-2

Geneva, Switzerland

Panel Meeting  No.2

June 3

Geneva, Switzerland

Meeting with Executive Heads of Geneva-based Agencies and UNESCO

June 20-21

Cairo, Egypt

Regional Consultation with Country-level Practitioners in Arab States

June 26

Washington, DC

Meeting with International Financial Institutions

June 26

Washington, DC

Business Practices in the UN

June 29

London, England

Funding the UN System

JULY 2006

July 2

Geneva, Switzerland

Consultation with Civil Society Organizations

July 3-4

Geneva, Switzerland

Panel Meeting No.3

July 4

Geneva, Switzerland

Dialogue with ECOSOC, High-level Segment



Meeting with Heads of Regional Economic Commissions

July 26

Bridgetown, Barbados

Regional Consultation with Country-level Practitioners in Latin America and Caribbean States

The Panel’s first consultation took place May 4-5 in Nairobi, Kenya, where issues regarding the Environment were discussed.  On day 1 of the meeting, Panel members participated in the consultations held by the President of the General Assembly as part of the inter-governmental review process of the UN’s environment architecture.  On day 2, Panel members met with key actors in the field of environment to enhance their common understanding of (a) the key environmental challenges that the UN system will have to effectively address, (b) the institutional framework within which environment is dealt with by the UN system, (c) the major challenges to mainstreaming environment into development decision-making and best practices, and (d) the type of recommendations that could be put forward in this area.

On May 8-9, Panel members met in Maputo, Mozambique, to engage in a regional consultation with country-level practitioners and government representatives.  Chaired by H.E. Luisa Dias Diogo, Prime Minister of Mozambique, the discussion focused on three themes:  (1) The Role of the UN at Country Level, (2) UN Support to National Priorities and Plans, and (3) One UN Country Team, or Many UN Agencies?   Participants included representatives from Mozambique, Botswana, Congo DRC, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Tanzania.  In particular, there was strong focus on the strengthening of the RC System, UN coherence at the country level, and coherence in business processes. 

Panel members then met in Vienna, Austria on May 15, for a consultation on the Resident Coordinator System.  Participants included senior representatives of the UN system, as well as Resident Coordinators, UN Country Team members, and government representatives from Brazil, Zambia and Albania.  Also participating, were government representatives from Austria, Denmark, and the Netherlands.  Discussion focused on (1) UN coordination at the country level, (2) Role of the RC, and (3) Funding and Management of the RC System. 

On May 19, Panel Members met in Rome, Italy, to discuss issues related to Humanitarian reform, and those specific to the Transition from Relief to Development.  Building on on-going humanitarian reform efforts, the morning discussion focused on the (1) the cluster approach, (2) humanitarian funding, and ways by which predictability may be improved, and  (3) risk reduction, and the need for greater investment.  The majority of the day was dedicated to issues pertaining to Transition, both post-conflict and post-disaster.  In addition to those from across the UN system, participants included those from the donor community, NGO’s, World Bank, and governments of Burundi and Liberia.  Issues were grouped under two main areas:  (1) Coordination and Planning, and (2) Transition Funding.

Panel members met later that day with G77 Ambassadors from Zimbabwe, Uganda, Thailand, Senegal, Brazil and Eypgt, where they expressed their agreement on the importance of identifying long-term development strategies, and national ownership.

The next day, Panel Members met with Executive Heads of the three Rome-based Agencies, FAO, WFP and IFAD.  In addition to discussing issues related to food security and financing for development, the organizations were asked about ways in which the system could improve coherence of action in the policy, operational and management domains.

Panel members convened in Islamabad, Pakistan, on May 24-25, for a regional consultation with country-level practitioners. This consultation format was similar to the one in Maputo (see above), involving participants from Afghanistan, China, India, Indonesia and Tajikistan. In addition to the discussion items listed for Maputo, this consultation paid special attention to the UN’s role in the aftermath of last year’s devastating earthquake in Pakistan, and lessons that could be applied to future UN efforts.

On June 2, Panel members met for their second meeting in Geneva.  They updated one another on May consultations, and discussed the outline of the report.  Under the three main areas of Development, Humanitarian Assistance, and the Environment, the Panel report will address cross-cutting issues of governance, funding and business practices.

Panel members met with Permanent Representatives of the G77 Geneva Chapter.  Issues raised included the importance of national ownership of the development process, the role of UNCTAD, and the need to respect the role of inter-governmental decision-making structures.  During this time, Panel members had an opportunity to meet with executive heads of UNESCO and Geneva-based agencies.  Topics of discussion covered a wide range of issues linked to UN reform.

Panel members went to Cairo on June 20, to meet with country-level practitioners from Arab States.  Chaired by Mohamed El-Ashry and Louis Michel, the discussion focused on ‘One UN’ at country level.  Participants from Morocco, Saudi-Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen shared a variety of views on the implications of one programme, one budget, one leader, and one office. 

On June 26, Panel members went to Washington, D.C. to discuss the UN Relationship with International Financial Institutions.  World Bank President, Paul Wolfowitz, hosted the meeting, which included IMF Deputy Managing Director, Ann Krueger, other senior officials and representatives of the regional development banks.  The discussion focused on how to improve policy coherence, planning and monitoring towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, Global Issues Management, and Cooperation on Post-Conflict and Reconstruction.

Later in the day, the Panel reconvened to review UN Business Practices with senior representatives from across the system.  The consultation focused on developing a strategic vision towards the harmonization of UN business practices, by reviewing the impediments and possible solutions towards achieving this goal.  Areas of discussion included results-based management and evaluation, ICT, HR, Common Services, Security, and Finance.  The discussion was complemented by a case study in best practices, the South Africa Regional Directors’ Team approach.

Funding the UN System was discussed on June 29 with a diverse range of representatives.  This consultation was hosted by Chancellor Gordon Brown in London, and included representatives from governments, civil society, and the UN.  Discussion focused on such topics as the unpredictability of funding, burden sharing amongst member states, and funding at the headquarters and country levels.

During the first week of July, the Panel also met with Civil Society Organizations to discuss cross-cutting issues such as sustainable development, gender and human rights.    After engaging in a dialogue with ECOSOC delegations during its High-level Segment, Panel members held a meeting with the heads of Regional Economic Commissions in Geneva.   

High-level Panel Consultations continued at the end of July in Bridgetown, Barbados, where they met with country-level practitioners from Latin America and Caribbean states.   Chaired by Former President of Chile, Ricardo Lagos Escobar, representatives broke into three working groups to discuss the concept of ‘One UN’ at country level, including in small island developing states and middle income countries.

The sherpas of Panel members recently met for a two-day meeting in New York, to discuss the current draft of the report. The Panel will convene again at the end of August and will present its report to the Secretary-General during the 61st session of the UN General Assembly.

Prime Minister Aziz of Pakistan, and Prime Minister Stoltenberg of Norway with the Secretary-General

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