Focus on Importance of South-South Cooperation, Quadrennial Policy Review, as Second Committee Takes Up Operational Activities for Development

GA/EF/3450
6 October 2016
Seventy-first Session, 6th & 7th Meetings (AM & PM)

Focus on Importance of South-South Cooperation, Quadrennial Policy Review, as Second Committee Takes Up Operational Activities for Development

Member States stressed the importance of the quadrennial comprehensive policy review and the value of South-South cooperation as the General Assembly’s Second Committee (Economic and Financial) held a debate today on operational activities for development.

Assistant Secretary-General Thomas Gass introduced the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of General Assembly resolution 67/226 on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for the development of the United Nations system (document A/71/63–E/2016/8*) and the report of the Secretary-General on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system:  recommendations (document A/71/292/Rev.1).  He said that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognized that today’s challenges must be addressed collectively, and to do that, the United Nations development system had to function as one.

Jorge Chediek, Director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, introduced the report of the Secretary-General on the state of South-South cooperation (document A/71/208) and the Report of the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation at its nineteenth session (document A/71/39).  The former highlighted “the growing importance of South-South cooperation in international development cooperation,” he said, as well as concrete steps taken by the United Nations to enhance its support of such cooperation.

Thailand’s representative, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the Sustainable Development Goals needed to be prioritized and mainstreamed into the system’s work.  There was a pertinent need to address special challenges facing the most vulnerable countries.  He expressed concern that the imbalance between core and non-core resources was growing, and said that imbalance needed to be addressed.

The representative of Viet Nam, speaking on behalf of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations, said that the quadrennial review resolution could offer strategic guidance.  She noted that an imbalance between core and non-core resources encouraged silos and fragmentation.  South-South and triangular cooperation continued to play an important complementary role in the global partnership for development.

The representative of Canada, speaking on behalf of Australia and New Zealand, said that the quadrennial review needed to align to the 2030 Agenda.  There was a strong agreement that the United Nations system must work better and break down its siloed approaches across a range of issues, he said.

The representative of Antigua and Barbuda, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community, underscored the importance of adequate and predictable funding for operational activities in the United Nations system, which he stated had grown less certain due to a number of old and new challenges.

The representative of Colombia, speaking for the Like-Minded Group of Countries Supporters of Middle-Income Countries, said that to ensure no one was left behind, the 2030 Agenda needed to target those most in need, regardless of geographical location.  That required recognizing the challenges and vulnerabilities faced by middle-income countries.

The representative of Bangladesh, speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, said business as usual was no longer an option, stressing that the United Nations development system must expand.  Increasing the donor base and vertical expansion of support for existing donors was vital.

The representative of the European Union said that it believed the United Nations development system was overly complex and fragmented, which hampered the delivery of its operational, standard-setting and normative mandates.

The representative of the United States said that the quadrennial review was among one of the most important resolutions the Second Committee would negotiate in 2016.  It would give the Committee an opportunity to explore how to position the United Nations development system to contribute in the most timely, efficient and effective way possible to help the most people possible.

Also speaking today were representatives of the following:  the Maldives (on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States), Cuba, India, Belarus, Venezuela, Russian Federation, Guatemala, Moldova, Indonesia, Norway, Peru, China, Singapore, Morocco, Brazil, Panama, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Armenia, Mexico, Argentina, Papua New Guinea, Nigeria, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Malaysia, El Salvador, Cameroon, Republic of Korea, Colombia, Egypt, Zambia and Nepal.  A representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) also spoke.

The Second Committee will hold a joint meeting with the Economic and Social

Council at 10 a.m. on Friday, 7 October.

Introduction of Reports

THOMAS GASS, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, introduced an update to the Secretary-General’s report on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review.  It included advanced recommendations for Member States as they reflected on the upcoming the 2016 quadrennial comprehensive policy review resolution.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognized that today’s challenges must be addressed collectively, he continued.  To do that effectively, the United Nations development system had to function as one, he said, outlining recommendations that would help Member States move in that direction.  Those included a clear formulation of the core functions of the development system and their funding; adjustments to governance structures to hold accountable the development system for system-wide results; rationalization of the field architecture; and the establishment of country-level sustainable development plans encompassing the “one country, one UN framework”-approach.  The report recognized that the development system had to incrementally transform itself and called for a new kind of quadrennial review: one that would provide strategic direction, focus on outcomes and embody the entire United Nations development system.

JORGE CHEDIEK, Director, United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, introduced the report of the Secretary-General on the state of South-South cooperation (document A/71/208) and the report of the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation at its nineteenth session (document A/71/39).

The first report highlighted “the growing importance of South-South cooperation international development cooperation”, he said, as well as concrete steps taken by the United Nations development system to enhance its support of South-South cooperation.  That document highlighted the resilience of emerging economies in the face of global economic volatility; the role of Southern-led banks in finance; the enabling potential of the 10 different funds currently supporting Southern countries in implementing South-South cooperation initiatives; and the demand for development of technical cooperation and knowledge sharing among developing countries.  The report presented a set of recommendations for improving mapping, follow-up and monitoring, integration among United Nations agencies and leveraging of Southern-led financing solutions offered by emerging banks.

Speaking on the second report, he said, delegations had highlighted many ways in which South-South cooperation was a powerful driver of innovation, efficiency, sustainability and growth.  Those included fostering dialogue, sharing information, finding better instruments to measure development cooperation and outcomes and coordinating and implementing actions with national focal points.  He expressed hope that those reports would contribute to the Committee’s discussion and ongoing work.

Statements

THAWEECHOT TATIYAPERMPOON (Thailand), speaking for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said operational activities for development must consider the need to build, promote and strengthen developing country capacity to achieve long-term sustainable development at the national level, bearing in mind different development levels and realities on the ground.  Continued and enhanced support from the system to developing countries must be ensured so they can address their priorities and challenges.  The United Nations system must enhance its capabilities to respond to diverse and specific national circumstances, capacities, needs and priorities, considering that national leadership and engagement throughout the process were vital in ensuring meaningful outcomes.

The Sustainable Development Goals must be prioritized and mainstreamed into the system’s work, considering that eradication of poverty was the overarching objective of the 2030 Agenda, he said.  There was a pertinent need to address special challenges facing the most vulnerable countries.  Noting that core resources were the bedrock of United Nations operational activities, he expressed concern that the imbalance between core and non-core resources was growing.  The system must address that imbalance, encourage donors to reverse the decline, broaden the contributor base and ensure full cost recovery.  In addition, the governance architecture of the system required comprehensive reform to enhance its coordination, coherence and effectiveness.  Equitable geographical representation in the system’s senior posts must also be improved.

NGUYEN PHUONG NGA (Viet Nam), speaking on behalf of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), welcomed the strengthening of cooperation with the Organization.  That was reflected in the ASEAN-United Nations Plan of Action for 2016-2020, which would complement the 2030 Agenda.  Global, regional and national efforts had been undertaken to implement the 2030 Agenda.  It was important that the quadrennial comprehensive policy review resolution aimed at better positioning the system, offering strategic guidelines and defining results beyond the achievements of the individual entities.  A key issue was the imbalance between core and non-core resources, with the former accounting for only 24 per cent of overall funding.  That imbalance encouraged silos, fragmentation, competition and overlaps.

South-South and triangular cooperation continued to play an important role in the global partnership for development, she said.  The ASEAN had fostered initiatives to share knowledge, experience and best practices to narrow the development gap.  South-South cooperation was a complement to, not a substitute for, North-South cooperation, and the Association reaffirmed the need for developed countries to meet their official development assistance (ODA) commitments as reiterated in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

MARC-ANDRÉ BLANCHARD (Canada), also speaking on behalf of Australia and New Zealand, said that the quadrennial comprehensive policy review must align to the 2030 Agenda, provide principles and incentives for the system to work better, be action oriented and provide ways to measure progress with clear follow-up actions and indicators.  It also needed to be timely, particularly in guiding the future strategic plans of funds and programmes and the remainder of the United Nations development system.

There was a strong agreement that the United Nations system must work better and break down its siloed approaches across a range of issues, he continued.  “The system needs to adapt to the changing context to remain relevant,” he said, adding that core functions of critical organizations were struggling for finance and great people in the system could not get people into their teams fast enough.  As Member States agreed to fix problems in Sendai, Addis Ababa, New York, Paris and Istanbul, it was essential that the Committee embrace that opportunity.

MARIYAM MIDHFA NAEEM (Maldives), speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States, said the quadrennial comprehensive policy review must provide strategic guidance to the Organization for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  The small island developing States, as a special case for sustainable development, believed that the policy review should call on the United Nations development system, among other things, to reduce competitiveness between its entities; incorporate the priorities and activities of the small island developing States into its relevant strategic and programmatic frameworks and ensure the necessary support to augment their capacities; and find creative ways to address the imbalance in core funding and the continued shift by donors towards non-core contributions.

She said the policy review should also call on the system to base financing on measures that went beyond gross domestic product (GDP) and to enhance its collaboration with the international financial institutions.  Highlighting the importance of South-South and triangular cooperation, she said that such support could not and should not replace North-South cooperation, which should continue to be the primary means of development cooperation.

WALTON ALFONSO WEBSON (Antigua and Barbuda), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), underscored the importance of adequate and predictable funding for operational activities in the United Nations system, which he stated had grown less certain due to a number of old and new challenges.  The scope and nature of the 2030 Agenda required both integration and targeting of the functions of the United Nations development system.  The quadrennial review should be seen as an opportunity to engage Member States in a thoughtful, constructive and fair manner in assessing operational activities in the field as well as to set system-wide policy guidelines for United Nations specialized agencies, funds and programmes, based on the principles of universality, neutrality and multilateralism.

As there was no “one size fits all” development strategy, poverty reduction, economic growth and sustainable development must be the guiding principles, he said.  He affirmed, in that regard, the importance of flexible response to national needs; delivering as one on all levels; strengthening the multilateral framework; lessening the disproportion between core and non-core funding; allowing freedom from counterproductive conditionalities; prioritizing national capacity-building including technology transfer; meeting commitments of ODA; and boosting South-South cooperation in a way that complemented North-South cooperation and did not replace it.

CARLOS ARTURO MORALES LÓPEZ (Colombia), speaking for the Like-Minded Group of Countries Supporters of Middle-Income Countries, recognized the complexity of the process and the special importance of the forthcoming negotiation of the quadrennial comprehensive policy review.  He also highlighted the importance of making development more effective and predictable by providing timely indicative information on planned support to developing countries, as defined in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

He said that to ensure no one was left behind, the 2030 Agenda needed to target those most in need, regardless of geographical location.  That meant targeting people and not just States, and required recognizing the challenges and vulnerabilities faced by middle-income countries.  The Group highlighted the need to improve United Nations efforts towards coordination, particularly at the operational level.  It was also necessary for the United Nations development system to create transparent measurements of progress on sustainable development that went beyond income criteria and recognized poverty in all its forms and dimensions.

MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh), speaking for the Group of Least Developed Countries, said business as usual was no longer an option, stressing that the United Nations development system must expand.  Eradicating poverty and hunger, access to public health, education and other social services, addressing the impacts of climate change and building productive capacity should remain at the centre of the system’s development cooperation efforts.  However, the existing level of contributions for operational activities was far from adequate.  Increasing the donor base and vertical expansion of support for existing donors was vital.  The system’s expenditure in least developed countries was only $5.2 billion in 2014, representing some 53 per cent of total country-level expenditure.  That volume needed to be doubled in those countries in the next five years.

He expressed concern that core resources for operational activities had dropped from 44 per cent to 24 per cent over the past 15 years.  Non-core resources were also important, but remained earmarked and country or sector specific, often driven by political considerations.  Tied contributions constrained the flexibility to carry out horizontal activities across multiple target areas.  Also the Resident Coordinator function needed to be empowered with adequate resources to fulfil the mandate effectively.  National ownership and leadership was vitally important.  Core competency, efficiency and expertise should be determining facts for recruitment of staff members, while ensuring equitable geographical representation.

AGNIESZKA KLAUSA (European Union) said the Economic and Social Council dialogue on longer-term positioning of the United Nations development system, including the work of the Independent Team of Advisers, as well as the Secretary-General’s report with its recommendations released in August, had provided many useful ideas.  The Union again stressed the importance of the principle “form must follow function”, which had guided its discussions up to now.  “What we want the UNDS [United Nations development system] to do, and not to do, must be our starting point and should also be the logic of the QCPR [Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review],” he said.

The Union believed the United Nations development system was overly complex and fragmented, which hampered the delivery of its operational, standard-setting and normative mandates.  “We should avoid duplication of work and competition between the United Nations entities and seek to incentivize and reinforce the need to work more as one, in an integrated and cross-sectoral way, in line with the 2030 Agenda,” she said.  The Union shared the Secretary-General’s opinion that a new kind of review was needed to focus on outcomes, rather than the process.

MIRIAM SCHIVE (United States) said that the quadrennial comprehensive policy review was among the most important resolutions the Second Committee would negotiate in 2016.  It would provide the Committee an opportunity to explore how to position the Organization’s development system in the landscape of other initiatives to ensure that United Nations agencies contributed in the most timely, efficient and effective way possible to help the most people possible.  The United States looked forward to working with all colleagues to craft a strategic, focused, coherent resolution that best positioned the United Nations development system to help countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  On South-South cooperation, her country looked forward to working with all delegations on the issue, which was critical to the success of the 2030 Agenda.

BIANA LEYVA REGUEIRA (Cuba) said the role of operational activities for development was a vital expression of the United Nations approach towards sustainable development.  She hoped the United Nations system would be more proactive in addressing poverty and development and assist national strategies in achieving those goals.  United Nations agencies must closely follow guidelines laid out by national bodies.  Their executive boards needed to ensure respect for equitable geographic representation and guarantee the highest accountability possible.  Assessment of effectiveness of operational activities was needed to bolster respect and credibility of the Organization’s agencies.  The United Nations system and operational activities should not be unique following pre-established formulas or models.  They must be inclusive and non-discriminatory.

ASHISH KUMAR SINHA (India) said the United Nations system needed to adapt and respond to evolving challenges and opportunities for development cooperation.  The quadrennial comprehensive policy review needed to provide long-term strategic guidance vis-à-vis the 2030 Agenda for the United Nations development system for the years ahead.  For India, the main pillars of quadrennial comprehensive policy review would be the strict adherence to the 2030 Agenda with an unrelenting resolve to eradicate poverty in all its forms, and its practicality.  South-South cooperation was complementary to, not a replacement for, North-South cooperation.  Now that developing countries had wholeheartedly supported the Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement, the United Nations development system needed to facilitate South-South cooperation by channelling adequate resources and technology and applying South-South approaches in its global, regional and country programmes.

VADIM PISAREVICH (Belarus) said the quadrennial comprehensive policy review must focus on financing.  There had been a growth of operational activities but they were mainly funded through an increase in non-core resources while core resources were not increasing.  Non-core resources were not predictable or reliable and it was difficult to assist countries to achieve sustainable development using that method of funding.  It was acceptable that the major proportion of funding assistance should be received by low-income countries if one considered categories but the international community must also pay heed to middle-income countries, which also had problems.  He was convinced that stability and progress in middle-income countries would have a positive impact on low-income States as well.

ALESSANDRO PINTO DAMIANI (Venezuela), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the quadrennial comprehensive policy review needed to be a complement to agreements reached in 2015 — the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Agreement on climate change.  It was necessary to build greater capacity in developing countries to promote sustainable development at the national level.  The United Nations system needed to enhance transparency and effectiveness so the available resources could be deployed more effectively and efficiently.  The Sustainable Development Goals were a priority of the United Nations and the policy review needed to understand the problems that the most vulnerable countries faced.  Furthermore, the review needed to be in line with the 2030 Agenda and needed to help to create greater capacity to achieve national plans and resolve the matter of the availability of financial resources.  South-South cooperation was important, but should not serve as a substitute for North-South cooperation and commitments.

KONSTANTIN Y KULIKOV (Russian Federation) said capacity was often lacking when it came to operational development activities and actions on the ground.  He agreed that those activities depended on financing and how the political system perceived receiving countries.  It was necessary to strengthen national leadership’s coordination with the United Nations development system.  Despite some positive results of the “delivering as one” initiative, it was premature to convert all systems to that model.  He advocated strengthening the United Nations development system staffing, recruiting highly qualified personnel from new donor countries as well as those already in the system.

JORGE SKINNER-KLÉE ARENALES (Guatemala) said the quadrennial comprehensive policy review was a great opportunity for dialogue and adopting the guidelines for the future of development operational activities.  It was necessary to seize that opportunity to launch the reforms of the United Nations development system to enhance efficiency, effectiveness, coordination, coherence and the impact of development activities on the ground.  The review of the operational activities needed to involve including the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda in the strategies of each entity in the United Nations system.  It was necessary to attend to the needs of countries in special situations.  Guatemala recognized that development, peace, security and human rights were linked and reinforcing.  His country welcomed the Member States adopting by consensus a definition for sustaining peace, and proposed that the text of the quadrennial comprehensive policy review recognized the concept of sustaining peace.  South-South cooperation was not a substitute but a complement for North-South cooperation, and Guatemala urged the United Nations agencies to work with countries to maximize the impact of South-South cooperation.

VLAD LUPAN (Republic of Moldova) said the United Nations needed to play a vital role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  However, the development system needed to adjust its function, funding, organizational arrangement, capacity and partnership approaches to rise up to the challenges of the 2030 Agenda.  To that end, he supported the idea of mapping the development system’s field presence as well as the mandates and functions of United Nations agencies.  That exercise was important to avoid duplicating or overlapping activities, and creating a cost-effective system.  While defining the priorities for short, medium and long-term, two important aspects needed to be taken into consideration — namely, the changing development context as well as the interconnectedness of activities for and challenges to development.

INA HAGNININGTYAS KRISNAMURTHI (Indonesia), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said the quadrennial comprehensive policy review, possibly the most critical resolution of the Second Committee, came at a critical juncture.  The United Nations development system was expected to strengthen its work as a system and continue working effectively with different stakeholders at all levels, recognizing the indivisible nature of the 2030 Agenda.  The primary function of United Nations operational activities was to build and raise national and subnational capacity.  The system needed to be as context-specific as possible, reflecting the specific circumstances of each country.  Indonesia valued South-South cooperation without replacing North-South cooperation.  The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation offered a viable and unique global forum for the exchange of South-South knowledge and experiences.

BERIT FLADBY (Norway) said the United Nations development system needed to adopt differentiated modes of engagement, depending on the country context, to ensure that major efforts of the system and its resources were concentrated in countries with the greatest needs.  Direct support and service delivery should be reserved for such countries.  She noted that funding was a major driver for change.  Core resources remained crucial, especially for the normative functions and the policy advice of the development system in host countries, and there should be some improvement in the burden sharing.  One way of enhancing core resources would be to ensure full cost recovery.  At the same time, the United Nations needed to go for more “core-like” funding modalities, in particular inter-agency funding modalities that could help the system respond to the call for coherent policy advice and integrated approaches.

GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru), associating himself with the Group of 77, said that the resolution adopting the quadrennial comprehensive policy review was of great importance and represented a major challenge.  Coherent and integrated support of the United Nations system was crucial to fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals, implementing the 2030 Agenda in an inclusive, participatory way.  He underscored the importance of various aspects emerging with consensus through the dialogues in the Economic and Social Council, and highlighted four aspects of the 2030 Agenda.  The latter included:  integrated support, with the Sustainable Development Goals requiring a coherent approach that broke away from silos; a “bottom-up” approach that was participatory and inclusive; accountability, which required providing easily accessible information on operational activities; and the regional dimension, with regions serving as a catalyst to serving the needs of countries.

WU HAITAO (China) said the United Nations development system must set sensible goals and plans for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and focus on ensuring practical results.  It should uphold national ownership, as States had the primary responsibility for development.  National ownership was key to sustainable development and the development system must respect the needs of programme countries.  The development system must enhance support to African countries, but must also address the imbalance of support to middle-income countries.  Donor countries must respect their ODA commitments and developing countries should deepen South-South cooperation.

LEE NING SUNG (Singapore), endorsing the position of the Group of 77, ASEAN and the Alliance of Small Island States, said that as implementation of the 2030 Agenda required massive resources, an integrated approach was needed based on multiple sources and engaging many stakeholders.  Developing countries were ready to deal with the challenges of sustainable development, including through strengthened South-South cooperation.  Singapore’s technical cooperation with developing countries was founded on the principle that human resources were vital and that capacity-building through continuous consultations could deliver outcomes with the greatest impact.  Her country would continue to expand the scope of its training programmes and network of partnerships.

ABDALLAH BEN MELLOUK (Morocco), associating himself with the Group of 77, noted that operational activities for development would need to take into account several factors.  First, fighting poverty needed to remain the primary goal for development.  Second, aligning the activities along national priorities was a sine qua non for effectiveness.  Third, the creation and the building of national capacities needed to remain a strategic objective.  Fourth, the coherence of United Nations actions was fundamental.  Fifth, the performance of the development system would also depend on its ability to leverage sufficient funds.  The imbalance between core and other resources needed to be corrected.  Finally, South-South and triangular cooperation needed to be established as a priority.

CARLOS SERGIO SOBRAL DUARTE (Brazil) said the international community should guide implementation of the 2030 Agenda and enhance the United Nations development system’s contribution to outcomes at the global, regional and national levels.  Members States should identify and address challenges encountered during implementation.  The system should not select favourites among the Sustainable Development Goals.  Stressing that one of the 2030 Agenda’s vital features was its universality, he said United Nations agencies must adapt to that reality.  Priority should be given to developing countries, especially the most vulnerable among them.  Actions should be planned and implemented with coordination with developing countries.

LAURA ELENA FLORES HERRERA (Panama), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the Like-Minded Group of Countries Supporters of Middle-Income Countries, said a system with parts that worked together in harmony was needed.  It was imperative to have a coherent system, one that was increasingly transparent, to more closely integrate policies on development, human rights, and peace and security.  However, one size did not fit all.  The operational activities of the system needed to be flexible, responding to the developing needs of countries where specific programmes were carried out.  Panama believed that one challenge for the United Nations development system was the ongoing support for middle-income countries, States that faced diverse challenges.  She reiterated her nation’s call to go beyond the traditional classification of countries based solely on income and create a new multidimensional measure that took into account poverty in all its forms and manifestations.  Also, South-South cooperation complemented and did not replace North-South cooperation.

NAUMAN BASHIR BHATTI (Pakistan) said the United Nations development system must build on what it had to improve, using its successes, lessons learned and challenges anticipated to guide it.  The quadrennial comprehensive policy review provided a prime opportunity for the system to be responsive to the needs of developing countries and it must maintain that focus.  The 2030 Agenda must be the focus of the development system, which should complement national efforts to implement it as well as strengthen national capacities and operational activities.  The competition for system resources had remained a major challenge at the national level.  That must be addressed, respecting national sovereignty and ownership.

TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia) said the historic steps taken in the last year should be aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals to achieve results at the country level anchored in national ownership of development efforts.  It was imperative to broaden the donor base and address the growing imbalance between the core and non-core resources.  To effectively support developing countries, particularly those least developed ones, the United Nations system needed to improve its governance system.  The 2016 quadrennial comprehensive policy review negotiations should make the United Nations system more effective in supporting the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, Addis Ababa Action Agenda and other recently adopted development frameworks.  Ethiopia was committed to eradicating extreme poverty, and the Government had been successful in achieving most of the Millennium Development Goals.  Ongoing consultations on the longer term positioning of the Economic and Social Council created an opportunity to figure out how the United Nations system could best support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

SOFYA SIMONYAN (Armenia) said that the 2030 Agenda reaffirmed that, despite a reduction of poverty levels around the world, inequalities continued to grow.  In light of that, the quadrennial comprehensive policy review would be instrumental in addressing the priorities of developing countries in their efforts to develop sustainably, especially to middle-income countries.  Armenia looked forward to help lay the groundwork for a more comprehensive and integrated agenda that would at the same time maintain the level of expertise within the development system, and enhance interagency coherence.  “Development is still very local”, she said, stressing the importance of external funding to middle-income countries.

JUDITH MARCIA ARRIETA MUNGUIA (Mexico) said adopting the 2030 Agenda had placed development at the heart of United Nations activities, giving rise to a new paradigm.  The Organization’s agencies must align themselves to the Agenda, moving away from the usual bureaucracy and inertia.  The universal, integrated and indivisible nature of the Agenda were part and parcel of what was truly needed.  The international community now had the responsibility to bring about deep changes in broadening the development vision, which would involve the efforts of all stakeholders.  The development system must move from the sectoral approach to one that included the three pillars of sustainable development — economic, environmental and social.  The quadrennial comprehensive policy review should add sustainable development to its mandate to ensure that the future would be based on the 2030 Agenda.

MATEO ESTREME (Argentina) said there was significant room for improvement in the United Nations development system.  Operational activities should be strengthened and extended to help developing countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  A renewed United Nations, based on the coherence and coordination of the development system’s agencies and entities, was needed if it wished to be strategic in forging a programme of action.  The international community had taken on a challenge in adopting the 2030 Agenda and it should be implemented through such a coordinated and coherent system.  He stressed that implementation priorities should be established at the State level and national ownership of programmes was vital.  Moreover, operational activities must be implemented in such a way that they strengthened national capacities.  That would help strengthen national structures and avoid parallel schemes for implementation of projects.  South–South cooperation had been an effective tool in the past, but it should not be used as substitute for North-South cooperation.

MAX HUFANEN RAI (Papua New Guinea), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Alliance of Small Island States, said the United Nations funds and programmes played an important role in supporting sustainable development efforts in his country.  Those efforts should be adequately funded and guided, especially through the Second Committee’s quadrennial comprehensive policy review resolution.  While the provision of capacity-building and support would be useful towards State efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda, it must be in line with national development plans and priorities.  Highlighting the need to increase core resources of the United Nations — especially in light of recent concerns that more funding was being diverted to non-core resources — he warned against the perils of “micromanaging” the Organization’s development system.

BANKOLE ADEOYE (Nigeria), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said the operational activities for development of the United Nations should be geared towards meeting the needs of developing countries.  Expressing concern that the funding of such activities had been unpredictable, unreliable and unstable, he said a new funding architecture was needed, as were concerted efforts to address the ever-growing imbalance between unrestricted core resources and fragmented, restricted non-core resources.  As the global decline in ODA could hinder the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, the international community must mobilize additional financial resources to support the efforts of developing countries, and developed nations should honour their commitments in a timely manner.  Emphasizing that market accessibility for goods and services from developing countries should be enhanced, he underscored the importance of South-South and triangular cooperation and described a number of related programmes, such as Technical Aid Corp and the Scientific and Technical Exchange Programme.

EBRAHIM ALIKHANI (Islamic Republic of Iran), associating himself with the Group of 77, said it was important to ensure that the quadrennial comprehensive policy review be focused on the compatibility of the United Nations development system with the aspirations of the 2030 Agenda.  He emphasized the importance of national ownership and leadership of development efforts at the country level.  The existing imbalance between core and non-core resources was a matter of serious concern.  The United Nations development system needed to move towards a governance architecture that was transparent, accountable and responsive to Member States.  South-South cooperation had a key role to play, but not as a substitute for North-South cooperation.

TATSUNORI HIGUCHI (Japan) said it was imperative for the United Nations development system to adjust its activities and take appropriate measures to function more effectively and efficiently.  National ownership must be respected, and assistance tailored according to each country’s situation, and therefore the Resident Coordinator system must be strengthened.  The Committee’s decision must be simple and understandable for those who had not been involved in negotiations, such as members of Parliament or States’ fiscal authorities.  The decision should not end up micromanaging the United Nations Development Group, but instead serve as a useful and general road map based on the 2030 Agenda.

SHARRINA ABDULLAH (Malaysia), associating herself with the Group of 77, said South-South cooperation, a manifestation of solidarity among people of the South, should not be a substitute for, but rather complement North-South cooperation.  Triangular cooperation had enabled developing countries to take advantage of lessons learned from States in similar situations.  That type of cooperation was beneficial for nations facing developmental challenges by way of sharing experiences and building their capacities.  South-South cooperation remained relevant to developing countries, especially in addressing existing global challenges in the areas of economy and finance.  However, countries of the South should bear in mind that they themselves should also be proactive and not be too dependent on assistance.

RUBÉN IGNACIO ZAMORA RIVAS (El Salvador), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Like-Minded Group of Countries Supporters of Middle-Income Countries, said that it was vital to address the themes of operational activities for development of the United Nations.  The main entity responsible for achieving goals was always national societies and Governments.  It was necessary to assist developing countries in their efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda.  It was also necessary to step up work for a long-term plan towards engaging with middle-income countries, including the use of development indicators that went beyond per capita income.  He hoped that the quadrennial review negotiations would provide a significant occasion to help the United Nations system to adapt to activities to the changing landscape for cooperation and ensure greater effectiveness and efficiency of the Organization and its work.  Latin America had developed a modality for South-South cooperation as a collective effort based on the principles of solidarity and reciprocity on a horizontal basis, but it was not a substitute for North-South cooperation.

ALAIN WILFRIED BIYA (Cameroon) said implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals by States should enjoy the support of a United Nations development system that was coherent and possessed of the appropriate resources.  It was a central and vital means to eradicate poverty, but should always be transparent about its results.  In improving the system, it was necessary to strengthen transparency and coherence, globally, regionally and laterally.  In delivering programmes, the development system must strictly comply with governmental mandates.  It was also vital to adjust the balance between core resources and pre-assigned ones and supply appropriate funding for development projects.

WON DOYEON (Republic of Korea) said reform of the United Nations development system should be based on a precise evaluation of accomplishments, gaps and lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goal era.  Reforms should particularly focus on the practical delivery of results on the ground rather than on New York-centric discussions.  The system must be reshaped to suit the multiple purposes laid out in the 2030 Agenda and countries’ different needs.  Stressing that system-wide coherence of development activities must be enhanced, he welcomed progress made on the “delivering as one” initiatives, the roll out of standard operational procedures and efforts to harmonize business practices of each United Nations agency in procurement, finance and human resources.  He added, however, that the Resident Coordinator system should be strengthened with more legitimacy and authority based on robust accountability mechanisms and adequate resources, ensuring that the Coordinator exercised impartial and inclusive team leadership.

MARCELA ORDOÑEZ FERNÁNDEZ (Colombia), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the Like-Minded Group of Countries Supporters of Middle-Income Countries, noted the importance of the quadrennial review discussions.  The talks needed to proceed along two different budget approaches:  first, that all United Nations entities understood that the quadrennial review was just an instrument that needed to follow and not just be a suggestion; and second, that Member States understood the different function played by the General Assembly that provided a political policy role while the Economic and Social Council provided technical assistance.  There were essential characters of the 2030 Agenda that needed to be addressed, including its universality; the need for a coordinated and coherent way of advancing the three areas of sustainable development; and the indivisibility of supporting all the Goals on an equal footing, not just some of them.  There were many points of convergence among all Member States on the quadrennial review, notably that business as usual was no longer acceptable, and the status quo could not continue.

SHEYAM ELGARF (Egypt) stressed the need for the United Nations development system to support developing countries in eradicating poverty, expanding infrastructure, building capacity and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.  Over the last few years, Member States had debated ways the international community could build capacity and improve the finances and governance of the United Nations development system.  Predictable financing was essential in creating acceptable living conditions and improving the effectiveness of the development system.  Operational activities of the United Nations must be guided by the economic, social and environmental pillars.  Any move to change its structure needed in-depth study on whether that would add value to the current system.

MWABA PATRICIA KASESE-BOTA (Zambia), aligned herself with the African Group and the Group of 77, highlighting that South-South cooperation was an important tool for development, but was complementary to North-South cooperation, not a replacement for it.  South-South cooperation had mostly taken place through increased volumes of trade, foreign direct investment (FDI) flows, movements towards regional integration, technology transfer, sharing of solutions and experts, and other measures.  Zambia had witnessed growth in South-South cooperation from a number of countries, and such collaboration had seen the establishment of a number of infrastructure projects including roads, schools, residential housing, and others.  Zambia sought further South-South cooperation partnerships in infrastructure development, agricultural development, industrial capacity-building and trade, and more.  Nonetheless, South-South cooperation had a number of restrictions, notably access to lines of credit.  Zambia commended the specialized agencies and other United Nations entities for their role in promoting South-South and triangular cooperation.

LOK BAHADUR POUDEL CHHETRI (Nepal), associating himself with the Group of 77, said operational activities for development were particularly important for least developed and landlocked developing countries.  Nepal highlighted four major challenges to achieving the 2030 Agenda.  First, the United Nations development system needed fundamental change.  Second, predictable and sufficient funding and other means of implementation were critical.  Third, vulnerable countries needed an adequate support system, notably through the fulfilment of ODA commitments.  Finally, climate change and natural hazards posed a risk, as did terrorism and conflicts.  South-South cooperation provided great potential as a complement to North-South cooperation.

CARLA MUCAVI, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said that South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation partnerships were growing.  Although funds mobilized for such cooperation had been tempered by a drop in oil revenues in a number of middle-income countries, renewed commitments by China and other key partnerships continued.  An increasing number of countries were realizing partnerships through providing in-kind contributions through memoranda of understanding.  FAO highlighted its own South-South Cooperation Gateway as an ideal platform for countries to become involved in such partnerships.  The FAO also had new tools for Member States, including the South-South Coordination Guide, training packages, online e-learning and a new publication, “FAO’s South-South Cooperation and Triangular Strategy in Action”.

For information media. Not an official record.