Premières activités opérationnelles du nouveau cycle du Conseil aux fins du débat sur le développement

Chair: H.E. Mr. Carlos Enrique García González, Vice-President of ECOSOC, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of El Salvador to the United Nations. 

The segment aims to start a forward-looking dialogue on how to adapt the UN system to important changes taking place in the broader development landscape. In the view of many stakeholders, the UN development system is at an inflection point. As a result, the UNDG has recently launched an internal dialogue on how to make the UN development system fit-for-purpose. Member States are also deliberating on a new development agenda with focus on sustainable development. The upcoming operational activities for development segment, provides an opportunity for Member States, UN leaders and other stakeholders to discuss the inter-linkages between these important processes. 

Many of the changes in the global development cooperation environment are well-known. For example, there is a large number of new public and private actors in both developed and developing countries engaged in development cooperation; official development assistance (ODA) is under stress due to budget constraints in a number of donor countries; and new technologies and knowledge are enabling fresh solutions to long-standing development problems. Even more importantly, the capacity of developing countries has significantly increased in the recent decade and the geography of poverty has changed in a major way, with an estimated 75 per cent of poor people now living in middle-income countries. 

The past two decades have also seen the intensification of global challenges such as sustainable development which require collective action. Responding to these and other global challenges may call for a shift away from fragmented projects to greater emphasis on strengthening the catalytic and normative role of the UN system. 

The past decade has also seen increasing number of social upheavals and multiple natural disasters and humanitarian crises in many developing countries that needed quick response and significant resources. 

The reforms initiated in 1997, including the establishment of the UNDG and UNDAF and the strengthening of the UN resident coordinator system, among others, have contributed to improved coherence of the UN system. Recently, UNDG has developed standard operating procedures (SOPs) for countries adopting the delivering-as-one approach with a view to enhancing system-wide coherence and reducing transaction costs for Governments, other national stakeholders, development partners and UN country teams. The SOPs provide an integrated package of guidance on programming, leadership, business operations, funding and communications. 

Against this backdrop, the 2014 operational activities for development segment of ECOSOC aims to contribute to an understanding among Member States, UN leaders and other stakeholders of the need to rediscover the spirit of adapting to change. Within this in mind, the segment will, inter alia, attempt to address questions such as the following: how can the UN system be fit-for-purpose in a post-2015 era with focus on sustainable development? How can the specialized agencies exploit more effectively their comparative advantage in norm- and standard-setting in a post-2015 era? What are the lessons learned from issue-based alliances within the UN system and what is their potential as a future business model for the Organization? How can the UN system improve its effectiveness, efficiency and results in countries in transition from relief to development? Are the SOPs likely to lead to sufficient simplification and harmonization of business practices and reduction of transaction costs and efficiency gains at the country level?



General background

The General Assembly, in resolution 68/1, decided that the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) through its Operational Activities for Development Segment will:

provide overall coordination and guidance for operational development funds and programmes on a system-wide basis. Such guidance should include objectives, priorities and strategies in the implementation of the policies formulated by the General Assembly, including the quadrennial comprehensive policy review;
concentrate this guidance on cross-cutting and coordination issues related to operational activities;
make efforts to focus on improving the overall impact of operational activities of the United Nations system in support of national development priorities.

To ensure that these functions are performed effectively, the General Assembly requested the governing boards in their reports to the Council to highlight the issues requiring examination and identify actions to be taken, guided by the chosen main theme. The General Assembly also encouraged the participation of national officials directly involved in the implementation of national development strategies, as well as field-level representatives of the United Nations system.

2014 Operational activities for development segment

The first operational activities for development segment in the new ECOSOC cycle will take place 24-26 February 2014 at UN headquarters in New York. The segment aims to start a forward-looking dialogue on how to adapt the UN system to important changes taking place in the broader development landscape.

For more information on this year’s segment, please see the below documents:

  1. Background note
  2. Draft annotated agenda
  3. Summary / Key messages emanating from deliberations
  4. Statements


Monday, February 24 
Morning Session


High-level dialogue: The changing development landscape: what does it mean for the UN system?

Introduction of Secretary-General’s report

Afternoon Session

Dialogue with the Executive Heads: Looking to the future: current and emerging strategic priorities

  • Helen Clark, Chair, UNDG and Administrator, UNDP;
  • Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director, UNFPA;
  • Elisabeth Rasmusson, Assistant Executive Director for Partnerships and Governance Services, WFP;
  • John Hendra, Deputy Executive Director, UN-Women;
  • Yoka Brandt, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF;
  • Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP


Tuesday, February 25
Morning Session

Policy dialogue: UN system working-as-one: how to make it happen?

Part 1: Standard operating procedures for delivering-as-one

  • Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, Deputy Executive Director for Management, UNFPA;
  • Eugene Owusu, UN Resident Coordinator, Ethiopia;
  • Bruno Pouezat, UN Resident Coordinator, Morocco;
  • Florence Bauer, UNICEF Representative, Bosnia & Herzegovina;

Part 2: How to improve the UN effectiveness, efficiency and results in countries in transition from relief to development?

  • Ameerah Haq, Under Secretary-General, Department of Field Support, UN;
  • T. Alexander Aleinikoff, Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees;
  • Peter de Clercq, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, MINUSTAH and UN-RC, HC and UNDP Resident Representative;
  • Joseph Cornelius Donnelly, Permanent Delegate to the UN, Caritas Internationalis;

Afternoon Session

Dialogue with specialized agencies: The changing development landscape: what will it mean for specialized agencies in a post-2015 era with focus on sustainable development?

  • Margaret Chan, Director-General, WHO;
  • Gilbert Houngbo, Deputy Director-General for Field Operations and Partnerships, ILO;
  • Hans d’Orville, Assistant Director-General for Strategic Planning, UNESCO;
  • Laurent Thomas, Assistant Director-General for Technical Cooperation, FAO;
  • Amina J. Mohammed, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on post-2015 development planning, UN; 


Wednesday, February 26

Summary of key messages and concluding remarks


Informal Side Events

In conjunction with the 2014 operational activities for development segment, a number of informal side events are being organized by different partners. A list of confirmed side events is here below. 

  1. Presentation of the report "United Nations Development at a Crossroads" by the NYU-Center for International Cooperation followed by discussion [organized by the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation]. - Monday, 24 February 2014, 8:15 to 9.30 am, Conference Room 5, North Lawn Building.
  2. Pilot independent system-wide evaluations of UN operational activities for development, 24th February, 1:15-2:45 p.m., UN Secretariat Building S-2727 [organized by the Interim Coordination Mechanism: UNEG, JIU, OCHA, OIOS, DESA]
  3. Opportunities for increasing the use of pooled funding mechanisms to enhance the UN’s joint results in development, 25 February 2014, 8h30 – 10h00, Delegates Dining Room
  4. Experiences on the Implementation of the Delivery as One in Latin America, organized by the Permanent Mission of El Salvador to the UN, Tuesday, 25 Febrary, 1:15-2:45 pm., Conference Room 7, North Lawn Building
  5. Empowering countries through evaluation - the global movement towards the 2015 International Year of Evaluation, 26th February, 1:15-2:45 p.m., Conference Room 8, North Lawn Building [organized by the United Nations Evaluation Group]