PROPOSALS TO IMPROVE UNITED NATIONS ABILITY TO ‘DELIVER AS ONE’ RECEIVE WIDE SUPPORT, AS GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONSIDERS HIGH-LEVEL REPORT
PROPOSALS TO IMPROVE UNITED NATIONS ABILITY TO ‘DELIVER AS ONE’ RECEIVE WIDE SUPPORT, AS GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONSIDERS HIGH-LEVEL REPORT
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-first General Assembly
95th Meeting (AM)
PROPOSALS TO IMPROVE UNITED NATIONS ABILITY TO ‘DELIVER AS ONE’ RECEIVE WIDE
SUPPORT, AS GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONSIDERS HIGH-LEVEL REPORT
Member States, developing and developed alike, gave a ringing endorsement this morning for the recommendations in the report of the High-Level Panel on United Nations System-Wide Coherence, which put forward a vision to overcome fragmentation, and bring together the system’s many assets to “deliver as one” at all levels.
Addressing the General Assembly’s session on follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit, representatives offered their views on plans to improve the Organization’s work in the areas of development, humanitarian assistance and the environment through greater coordination, efficiency and accountability. Of particular interest was the proposal to establish “One United Nations” at the country level, with one leader, one programme, one budget and, where appropriate, one office, to consolidate the often overlapping activities of myriad United Nations entities on the ground at any one time.
Echoing the sentiments of several speakers, Bert Koenders, Minister for Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, strongly supported the recommendation for a “One UN” approach. United Nations reform was vital to ensuring that the Organization could respond to the global challenges of the twenty-first century and play its indispensable role in the development arena, he stated, adding “the United Nations could and should be more than the sum of its parts”. He lauded the commitment of many countries to make the United Nations more effective at the country level and the leadership demonstrated by the eight “One UN” pilot programmes.
Representatives of Uruguay and Viet Nam -– both eager participants of the “One UN” pilot programme -– said development strategies must be tailored to each country’s specific socio-economic conditions and national priorities. For its part, Uruguay had set up a working group to partner with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative on development activities. Viet Nam had actively engaged stakeholders in a national consultative process, aimed at enhancing aid effectiveness, resulting in the Hanoi Core Statement on Aid Effectiveness. Representatives of both countries welcomed the opportunity to share their experiences as potentially valuable lessons for other countries interested in the programme.
That kind of collaborative spirit was well received by the representative of Papua New Guinea, who, speaking on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum, said such input would indeed help delegations review reform efforts to ensure better delivery at the country level, as well as regional coherence and effectiveness at Headquarters. His country, which hoped to participate in a similar programme in the future, would be closely following the pilot countries’ progress. The Panel’s recommendations on development and the environment were of particular interest to the Forum, given the region’s extremely large maritime areas and the fact that the survival of many of its small island developing States were at risk. Reform must be cognizant of the realities on the ground, he added.
The Panel’s report, entitled Delivering as One, also recommends the strengthening of leadership on humanitarian and environmental activities; the establishment of a “leadership forum” within the Economic and Social Council to upgrade that body’s policy coordinating functions; and the creation of both a new funding system and a new women’s organization.
Malaysia’s representative said the follow-up process related to the Panel’s recommendations must clearly demarcate what constituted managerial prerogative versus the prerogative of Member States. The report rightly emphasized the need for an intergovernmental process fully engaged in follow-up. When the report was initially presented in November 2006, it was stated that some of its recommendations could be acted on immediately because they were within the prerogative of the management of United Nations agencies, while others had to first be endorsed by the intergovernmental process. Many delegations had expressed misgivings of that view, and developments since then on reorganizing the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Disarmament Affairs brought to light the political sensitivity of restructuring the Organization. In overseeing and supporting implementation, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General should ensure that information flowed smoothly.
Concluding the session, General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa ( Bahrain) said it was very encouraging that a wide variety of representatives of Member States, including ministers, had participated in the discussion and that several pilot countries had noted that the country-level reform process was expected to bear fruit. She urged Member States to carefully consider and build on the Panel’s recommendations in a pragmatic and flexible manner.
The representatives of Solomon Islands, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Belarus, Benin, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Colombia, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, China and Chile also made statements. In addition, the Observer of the Holy See made a statement.
The Assembly will meet again at a date to be announced.
The General Assembly met this morning to continue discussion of its agenda item on the follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit: report of the Secretary-General (document A/61/836) entitled “Recommendations contained in the report of the High-Level Panel on United Nations System-Wide Coherence in the areas of development, humanitarian assistance and the environment”.
(For a summary of the report’s recommendations, please see Press Release GA/10586 of 16 April.)
COLLIN BECK ( Solomon Islands) welcomed the “One UN” country pilot programmes, and hoped that discussions would also look at the plight of countries which had yet to have any United Nations presence. He felt the concept of regionalism had been oversold, resulting in the absence of the United Nations at the country level. On a positive note, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) would have a Deputy Resident Representative in the Solomon Islands by next month for the first time in nearly three decades. He also supported the recommendation to have one leader, one programme and one budget for the United Nations at the country level.
He supported the establishment of a sustainable development body, and proposed that it ensure a common evaluation formula to measure a country’s development status. Citing the different formulas currently used by various agencies, he noted that 6 of the 11 Pacific small island developing States had been classified as least developed countries, without examining the economic vulnerability of the States. He also supported establishing a Millennium Development Goals trust fund, and wanted it to include a mechanism to ensure accessibility for the most vulnerable countries.
The composition of Secretariat staff must reflect the diversity of its membership, he said, noting that, to date, the Solomon Islands had only one staff at Headquarters. Turning to humanitarian issues, he said he would like to see humanitarian response come under the State National Disaster Authority to ensure effective coordination of assistance. Also, as a country recently hit by a tsunami, the Solomon Islands felt that food, water and shelter needs must be mobilized immediately. Calling the recommendation on environmental governance “overemphasized”, he said a more responsible means of protecting the environment would be to adopt a people-centred economic approach, as natural resources were owned by people.
JOHAN LØVALD ( Norway) strongly supported the “Delivering as One” report and said its recommendations would strengthen the United Nations and help it more effectively support the needs of countries in development, humanitarian assistance and the environment. With Governments in the driver’s seat and involved on a voluntary basis, there should be one leader, one programme, one budget framework and one office, where feasible. Such a “One UN” in each country should be supported by more coherent governance and management in the regions, and at United Nations Headquarters. Supporting the proposals, he said the reforms were not cost-cutting, would not put pressure on individual countries to implement reforms uniformly and would not lead to more donor dominance. The intention of the Norwegian Prime Minister, his co-chairs, the Prime Ministers of Pakistan and Mozambique, and the rest of the High-Level Panel, was not to reduce resources for the United Nations. The goal was to make the United Nations better resourced to meet its tasks.
All administrative savings should be used for development programmes in countries where the savings were made, he said. Norway would provide $25 million in additional resources to fund the eight “One UN” pilot programmes this year and would continue to provide multi-year pledges to key United Nations funds and programmes for development. The United Nations must tailor its programmes to the local priorities and specific needs of each country. Resources should go to areas where the United Nations had the most to offer, rather than where donor priorities lay. Urgent action was needed to establish a strong, independent gender entity in the United Nations, with an Under-Secretary-General at its helm and sufficient funding. He proposed a floor target of at least $200 million in that regard.
PETER MAURER ( Switzerland) said the United Nations should focus on performance and accountability, both of which were at the heart of Member States’ reform demands. Doing so was a fundamental trait of a system which was driven by developing countries’ needs. The United Nations field network and considerable operational capacities should allow the Organization to place itself squarely within the broader development cooperation architecture. It was most important at the field level where funds, programmes and specialized agencies needed to speak with one voice to respond to national needs in a coordinated manner. The broader development landscape should also be considered.
Switzerland supported the multi-track approach proposed by the Secretary-General, as it would allow States to make use of inter-agency mechanisms, and possibly strengthen them, he noted. Further, such an approach would also allow the United Nations to include other actors in a flexible manner.
Operational questions should be dealt with in the context of the triennial comprehensive policy review process, which was an appropriate instrument to analyse results achieved through the “One United Nations” pilot programmes, he said. The recommendations on humanitarian assistance were an extension of decisions already taken by the Assembly and did not need intergovernmental discussion.
On the environment, he said the Panel’s recommendations should be addressed within the Assembly’s informal consultative process, and take into account decisions of bodies such as the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Governing Council. His delegation did not believe an independent evaluation of international environmental governance was necessary.
Noting that new institutional structures deserved to be analysed at the intergovernmental level, he said the creation of an Under-Secretary-General post for gender would markedly strengthen the position of women. Also, the eight “One United Nations” pilot programmes provided valuable opportunities to test United Nations principles, he said, adding that national ownership of programmes was an essential condition of success. Strong leadership and the participation of specialized agencies were also essential. The final challenge for success was the ability of donors to adapt financing methods to a unified framework.
HJALMAR W. HANNESSON ( Iceland) said he generally supported the Panel’s proposals. States should use the opportunity to make the Organization more effective on the basis of the Panel’s report and the Secretary-General’s report. As it was important to foster more effective development cooperation, focusing on the concerns and needs of developing countries, there should be no “one-size-fits-all” approach. The use of pilot countries to test the “One UN” approach was a good way to assess different country needs.
Most of the Panel’s proposals could be dealt with within the existing reform processes, he said, noting that Iceland shared the Secretary-General’s views on avoiding duplication of efforts. Governance and gender architecture issues, however, needed separate processes. Iceland placed special emphasis on gender equality and women’s empowerment, particularly as the latter was a prerequisite for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Goals related to women could not be met without radical changes to the work of the United Nations. The Panel’s recommendations provided an important opportunity to promote gender equality throughout the Organization. Gender mainstreaming must also be more thoroughly addressed.
ANDREI DAPKIUNAS ( Belarus) noted the Secretary-General’s thoughtful and sensible approach to the recommendations of the High-Level Panel. He rightly suggested the optimal formula for how to improve the Organization’s synergy and coherence, which naturally went beyond the boundaries of the Panel’s report. The Secretary-General’s report was business-like and results-oriented without unnecessary reform fanfare and publicity. His approach made sparing use of time and resources, and maximum use of the discussion and negotiation mechanisms available that could lead to significant progress. The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) played a key role in United Nations efforts to coordinate work in development, humanitarian assistance and the environment, as a matter of institutional priority. Provisions of the Secretary-General’s report should be discussed by the Council during its forthcoming substantive session.
The General Assembly’s role in decision-making to improve system coherence could not be overstated, he said. The triennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development should be a major analytical focus in the coming months. He looked forward to enriching deliberations on System-Wide Coherence with feedback and lessons learned in implementing the eight “One UN” pilot programmes. A very balanced and considerate approach was needed to improve coherence. He stressed the need to ensure that no single comparative institutional advantage was lost on the way so that efforts would be sustainable and substantive.
ELBIO ROSSELLI ( Uruguay) said his country had pledged to cooperate fully with the reform process since the beginning. Noting that the Panel’s initiatives represented a good point of departure for reform, with a view to improving the Organization’s efficiency, he stressed that they required further in-depth discussion.
Each thematic area should be addressed with flexibility, in order to find solutions with features unique to each issue, he added. Uruguay had joined the “One United Nations” pilot programme enthusiastically, and understood that the programme should be designed with the active involvement of the Government. Accordingly, his delegation supported the idea that cooperation for development should be based on national strategies and country plans. The programmes needed to be flexible to adapt to national priorities. Together with the various bodies involved in cooperation for development, Uruguay had set up a working group, which worked in collaboration with the UNDP Resident Representative. He reiterated that his country was eager to share information on the results of its pilot programme.
JEAN-MARIE EHOUZOU ( Benin) said the Secretary-General’s report was timely and enabled States to embark on discussions on how to strengthen the Organization’s efficiency. Benin had organized a seminar in Cotonou from 2 to 3 April with Belgium and France, to further understanding of the Panel’s various recommendations. The seminar helped to dispel fears inherent in any reform process, and the participants expressed the need to define, in the pilot programmes, the criteria for assessing implementation of the “One UN” approach. They also said it was important to ensure information sharing on the programme’s achievements, challenges encountered and possible solutions to those challenges. He recommended continuing informal dialogue at all levels to facilitate consensus on the Panel’s recommendations.
The coherence achieved through the Panel’s recommendations should enable everyone in the United Nations system to act with one voice in helping to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and other development targets, he said. It was also important to help the least developed countries achieve the goals of the Brussels Programme of Action. The creation of a single United Nations entity at the country level with a consolidated budget should not in any way lead to a “super structure” that would be less operational or less effective.
He hoped the creation of a body responsible for gender equality and women’s empowerment would help achieve concrete results. It was also important to examine the issue of financing with regard to United Nations operational activities, he said, stressing that funding was essential for bringing about a successful reform process.
BERT KOENDERS, Minister for Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, strongly supported the idea that the United Nations should work as one leader, one programme, one budget and, where possible, one office. United Nations reform was vital to ensuring the Organization’s continued prominence in development. Good intentions must now be turned into concrete results in order to show the international community that the United Nations was willing and able to adapt to changing times. The United Nations could and should be more than the sum of its parts. He lauded the commitment of many countries to make the United Nations more effective at the country level and the leadership demonstrated by the eight “One UN” pilot programmes. More countries, such as Papua New Guinea, Malawi and Bangladesh, had asked the United Nations to start working in unison. In that regard, he supported the statement by Rwanda’s representative on behalf of pilot and donor countries.
The Netherlands enjoyed open discussions with many countries at recent conferences in Indonesia and Benin, he said, adding that he looked forward to talks with countries in Latin America at a June conference in Nicaragua. The “One UN” concept increased ownership by recipient countries. Each programme should be made in close consultation with the recipient country’s Government, parliament, civil society and private sector. The reform process should not be used to introduce new conditions for development assistance, nor should it be cost-cutting. Well-established practices on gender and human rights-based approaches should continue. It was crucial to increase the quantity and quality of development assistance, he said, noting donor countries’ slow progress in that regard. The Netherlands spent 0.8 per cent of national income on development cooperation, but still fell short in providing stable, multi-year, non-earmarked funding, despite progress in the past few years. He pledged to increase multi-year core funding for well-performing United Nations organizations, and in the future for “One UN” programmes. He called on all donor countries to do the same. Regarding the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), he said the functions of the Resident Coordinator and the Country Director must be separate. He would give UNDP additional funds for that purpose.
LE LUONG MINH ( Viet Nam) supported the idea that economic and social development should remain the centerpiece of United Nations deliberations, and that the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium targets, should be the over-arching framework on United Nations activities. However, the lack of coherence in policies, overlapping programmes and a shortage of funds limited the Organizations’ ability to foster socio-economic development. The Organization’s weakness manifested itself most clearly at the country level, where it had not paid due attention to improving technical expertise and coordination. System-wide reform aimed at achieving coherence was necessary to enhance the effectiveness of United Nations operational activities.
He supported the “One UN” approach at the country level on a voluntary basis, and taking into account national conditions and priorities. The “One UN” concept aimed to enhance coherence, increase efficiency and reduce transaction costs. That required sufficient funding for all country programmes and streamlined, simple administrative procedures. The United Nations programmes must also be aligned with the recipient country’s socio-economic development plans and conform to its development priorities. The recipient country must also have ownership.
The outcome of the United Nations pilot programmes would be essential for the intergovernmental consultations on the operational effectiveness of the Organization, he said. In working with United Nations agencies at the country level in past years, Viet Nam had actively engaged stakeholders in a national consultative process aimed at enhancing aid effectiveness. That had led to the development of the Hanoi Core Statement on Aid Effectiveness. His Government had voluntarily accepted and supported the “One UN” programme in Viet Nam, which closely resembled the recommendations of the High-Level Panel for one plan, one budget, one set of management principles and one United Nations house. As it was a pilot programme, he hoped that it would provide valuable lessons for Viet Nam and other countries.
CLAUDE HELLER ( Mexico) said he appreciated the Secretary-General’s recommendations on strengthening coherence, and it was important to consider those recommendations as a whole. Further, it was essential to benefit from the triennial comprehensive policy review and the General Assembly’s informal consultative process relating to the environment. The challenge was to create a global vision for the United Nations, and to make it more coherent.
On operational activities for development, States must begin with the triennial policy review process, he said, noting that that process would culminate with a resolution at the next General Assembly session. The issue of governance at Headquarters and at the regional level could be considered at a second stage after the resolution had been adopted. It would then be possible to consider whether a sustainable development board should be created.
On the environment, he agreed with the Secretary-General’s proposal that ongoing Assembly discussions in that area include the Panel’s recommendations. However, recommendations relating to sustainable development in operational activities in the field should be considered in the context of the triennial policy review. He added that discussions on gender equality and women’s empowerment should include analysis of the current system and the budgetary consequences of proposals. He reiterated Mexico’s full support for the discussion process.
CHO HYUN (Republic of Korea) said the Secretary-General’s report merited careful review and further dialogue to build a broad-based, common understanding of its objective, contents and proposals. Implementing many of the report’s recommendations could lead to substantive improvements in the United Nations operational activities in development, humanitarian assistance and the environment. He welcomed the Secretary-General’s decision to proceed with the United Nations Development Group’s initiative to carry out eight pilot programmes based on the “One UN” approach. The outcome of pilot projects, and subsequent analysis, would give the United Nations a way to move forward with the High-Level Panel’s recommendations. It would undoubtedly be a good start. Governance issues, as set forth in the report, were also important. He supported the creation of a sustainable development board, but warned that a broad consensus was needed to set up such a body. An early decision based on consensus was needed on the issue of gender equality, and could be achieved in light of the current fragmented structure of the Secretariat.
All Member States agreed on the need to reorganize the United Nations system, so that it could achieve its goals more effectively and efficiently, without duplication and lack of coordination, he said. The difficulty was in finding a consensus among Member States on how to achieve that. Implementing necessary reforms inevitably involved significant challenges. At times, it would require Member States and United Nations organs to sacrifice short-term interests for the long-term good of the Organization.
MATHILDA TAKAKU (Papua New Guinea), speaking on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum, said the High-Level Panel’s report would contribute to the wider United Nations reform agenda. The Panel’s proposals provided an effective means of reducing fragmentation and maximizing the impact of United Nations work in development, humanitarian assistance and the environment, particularly at the country level where it mattered most. Many of the recommendations in “Delivering as One” were suitable to the Forum’s circumstances given the region’s extremely large maritime areas. Efficiency and effectiveness could best be achieved under the proposed system. However, delivery at present was inefficient and ineffective. Fortunately, that was being redressed as the Panel’s proposals and recommendations were under review. The United Nations system must be more results-based, efficient and accountable.
She stressed the importance of the eight “One UN” country pilot programmes, and lauded countries who had volunteered for that. Their experiences and lessons would play a large part in helping the international community review reform efforts to ensure better delivery at the country level, as well as coherence and effectiveness at the regional level and at Headquarters. The Forum would like to be considered for future pilot programmes. Papua New Guinea would closely follow the progress of the pilots, and looked forward to receiving the analysis and lessons learned from their experiences.
The United Nations, she added, must effectively promote gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as human rights promotion and protection. She welcomed the Panel’s recommendation to strengthen the United Nations gender architecture, and supported the appointment of an Under-Secretary-General to oversee it in a unified manner. The environment, particularly with the survival of many of the Forum’s small island developing States at risk, was a very important part of the reform process. Reform must be cognizant of the realities on the ground.
CLAUDIA BLUM ( Colombia) agreed that initiatives on system-wide coherence offered an opportunity to ensure progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. In taking up the current dialogue on the recommendations, she noted that the United Nations was not starting from scratch. Various processes preceded the dialogue, many of which dealt with matters contained in the Panel’s recommendations.
The ongoing processes should be taken into account when defining follow-up to the recommendations, she said, noting the role of the triennial comprehensive policy review and the consultative process on the institutional framework on environmental issues. Therefore, the Panel’s recommendations should be considered within the framework of existing reform processes. The General Assembly could then devote itself to issues not covered by those processes. Recalling that the 2005 World Summit agreed to carry out coherence on operational, humanitarian and environmental issues, she said it was important for the current exercise to remain within the mandate established then by the Assembly at the highest political level.
NEGASH KEBRET BOTORA ( Ethiopia) welcomed the Secretary-General’s positive reactions to the Panel’s recommendations, noting that they were a good basis for consultations. He stressed that national development strategies, policy guidelines and programmes should not be sidelined as a result of the suggested approach. Reform of United Nations operational activities should be geared to responding to the needs of developing counties.
Ethiopia welcomed the general thrust of the Panel’s and the Secretary-General’s reports to restructure operational activities with a view to reducing duplication and costs, he said. In that context, implementation of the Millennium Development Goals should receive the highest attention. The agreements reached at the 2005 World Summit were helpful in taking efforts to increase financing for operational activities for development a step further.
Increasing the coordination and effectiveness of operational activities, as well as the financing base of the United Nations system, had been the subject of recent triennial review, he said. Ethiopia shared the Secretary-General’s view that the 2007 Comprehensive Policy Review provided an opportunity to take forward the Panel’s recommendations. He added that some recommendations, such as those on humanitarian and environment issues, could be considered within the current reform process, while others required further elaboration.
MUHAMMAD ALI SORCAR ( Bangladesh) said the High-Level Panel’s report contained practical recommendations that warranted intergovernmental consideration. Development was inherently a multidimensional undertaking that encompassed economic, social and environmental aspects, as emphasized in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. The United Nations must address those dimensions in a comprehensive manner. Coordination and coherence among United Nations entities was essential for maximizing each of the Organization’s distinct, comparative advantages, and for enabling the United Nations system as a whole to respond effectively to current demands. The United Nations reform initiative should not be prejudiced by any preconceived conclusion or merely be a cross-cutting exercise. It should not generate further duplication. Specific proposals to improve system-wide coherence would require a more in-depth analysis, and a transparent and inclusive intergovernmental process.
The Panel’s recommendation to set a clear accountability framework for the Resident Coordinator was important, he continued. Mutual accountability between the Resident Coordinator and the country team was critical. The proposed results-based funding mechanism created grave concern. The ultimate price of poor performance by the United Nations country team should not fall on the country concerned. Further discussions were needed in that regard. The national Government should evaluate the activities and performance of the Resident Coordinator in order to enhance efficiency and results. United Nations programmatic work at the country level should focus on sustained economic growth, sustainable development and poverty alleviation, in line with national development strategies. Experience suggested that donor assistance could deliver better results, when provided as direct budgetary support.
ZAINOL RAHIM ZAINUDDIN ( Malaysia) said that, in the follow-up process related to the Panel’s recommendations, there was a need to clearly demarcate what constituted managerial prerogative versus the prerogative of Member States. Decisions must be evidence based. It was also essential to ensure coherence in the way coherence was pursued. He commended the Secretary-General’s report for its emphasis on the need for an intergovernmental process fully engaged in the follow-up process to the Panel’s recommendations. In presenting the report of the High-Level Panel in November, the Secretary-General said some Panel recommendations could be acted on immediately, as they were within the prerogative of the management of various United Nations agencies, while others had to first be endorsed by the intergovernmental process. Many delegations had expressed misgivings of that view. Since then, developments regarding the reorganization of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Disarmament Affairs indicated the political sensitivity of restructuring.
He expressed disappointment that the report did not address that question. Any structure or activity resulting from an intergovernmental agreement should be within the prerogative of the intergovernmental process. To ensure that the atmosphere of the talks remained congenial, it was essential that decisions were evidence-based. Information should be made available in a non-discriminatory way. In overseeing and supporting implementation, the Deputy Secretary-General should ensure that information flowed smoothly. He suggested providing the names of all those involved in the Secretary-General’s and Deputy Secretary-General’s offices to all delegations.
LIU ZHENMIN ( China) supported the High-Level Panel’s recommendations. China had always supported an effective United Nations to advance the causes of social development and sustainable economic growth. Reform should aim to make development a universal mission of all Member States. The Organization must ensure adequate development resources and strengthen development agencies, while also improving efficiency and coherence. United Nations reform of operational activities should adhere to the principles of universality and neutrality. Independence was also needed in programme formulation and implementation. United Nations headquarters must work on improving coherence and coordination. Programmes must be tailored to meet each country’s specific needs and conditions. He stressed the importance of learning from the experiences of pilot programmes under way, and carrying out a comprehensive intergovernmental review.
Reform also required focusing on technology transfer and capacity-building for developing countries, he said. It must also focus on promoting gender equality and human rights, by helping to improve the function and efficiency of agencies working in those areas. He supported strengthening the role of the Economic and Social Council, as well as reinforced cooperation and coordination between the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He shared the Secretary-General’s view that the High-Level Panel’s recommendations should be reviewed as an integrated and coherent whole, and should first be discussed by the General Assembly. He stressed the important role of United Nations reform in humanitarian assistance and business practices, and in the importance of taking into account the views of developing countries on development and operational activities.
HERALDO MUÑOZ ( Chile), noting the importance of gender, humanitarian assistance and sustainable development, said those issues should be considered within the context of holistic United Nations reform. Gender equality was a particular priority area of reform and he hoped States would refer to the recommendations on that issue. There was no doubt about the importance of national ownership of programmes, he stated, stressing that Chile fully supported that principle, as well as the institutional unification of development. The “One United Nations” approach with a single budget, programme, official and, where appropriate, office would help to eliminate duplication.
Chile also recognized the current unpredictable funding situation for United Nations programmes, he said. As the Panel’s report indicated, without multi-year programmes, funding would remain unpredictable. Furthermore, overlap existed between the work of the World Bank and the institutions of the United Nations. A process must be established to enable the heads of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to examine their respective functions. While welcoming the idea to create a council for sustainable development, he said Chile would refine its views on that issue. Similarly, the global leaders’ forum was of interest. The Organization should also reassess its role in global governance and in creating social protection networks.
Regional organizations should be given stronger mandates, he added. Chile was satisfied with the performance of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), he said, noting that ECLAC’s experiences and lessons learned could prove useful for ensuring greater coherence of the United Nations in the field.
CELESTINO MIGLIORE, observer of the Holy See, said that in the past 60 years the United Nations had grown from a peacekeeping mechanism into a multi-faceted organ for promoting peace, development and human rights, on a scale previously unknown. It was effective in many areas, and rightly held in high regard among ordinary people. There was a universally acknowledged need for ongoing reform and greater coherence in the Organization, but such goals had not been satisfactorily achieved, despite several attempts to do so. Even recent attempts at United Nations reform had not been exemplary. The Human Rights Council, a vital part of the United Nations mandate and important source of its global moral impact, still left much to be desired, due to inherited inefficiency and an apparent disintegration of political will to apply truly people-centred human rights policies. Many parts of the United Nations did have such policies, to the great benefit of many people, but there was much room for improvement.
He lauded the pilot schemes under way to test the “One UN” approach in developing countries where many branches of the United Nations currently worked side by side. Those recipient countries urgently needed a more efficient and coordinated United Nations presence on the ground. The United Nations environmental machinery needed examination, he said, noting that, the world faced unprecedented climate change, as well as energy and sustainable development demands. He strongly supported an independent and authoritative assessment of the current United Nations system of environmental governance. On occasions when saving lives depended on the quality of coordination and coherence of humanitarian assistance, the United Nations could play an essential role in ensuring aid was delivered swiftly and effectively, through collaboration with people on the ground knowledgeable about the situation and terrain.
SHEIKHA HAYA RASHED AL KHALIFA ( Bahrain), President of the General Assembly, said it was very encouraging that a wide variety of representatives of Member States, including ministers, had participated in the session on such an important, far-reaching matter for the United Nations system and its development activities. Several pilot countries had given encouraging comments to the effect that the process of reform at the country level was expected to bear fruit. She promised to continue to work closely with the Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General during the upcoming consultation process with Member States. The Secretary-General had reaffirmed his broad support for the report, and the need for urgent action to improve coherence and effectiveness of United Nations operational activities.
The formal consultation process would be transparent, inclusive and open to all constructive contributions, she said, pledging to present her proposals on the best way to consider the Report’s recommendations, and those of the Secretary-General, in a pragmatic, flexible and results-oriented manner. The process must strive for the broadest possible agreement on how to strengthen the United Nations role in development. Member States must carefully consider and build on the Panel’s recommendations. She urged delegations to approach the matter pragmatically and with flexibility.
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