UN calls for efficient use of resources

Ms. Helen Clark

“In this time of fiscal austerity, we must be aware of all available ways to utilize financial resources…Improving and streamlining our funding system is so crucial to every step we take in our development agenda”, said Mr. Sha Zukang, Under Secretary-General of DESA during the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Operational Activities Segment, which was held from 9 – 13 July 2010.

Mr. Sha introduced four reports of the Secretary-General that presented how the UN is responding to development needs. These documents confirmed that “the UN development system remains a trusted partner in programme countries. It provides unique support to national needs in a wide range of ways –from policy analysis related to the achievement of MDGs to capacity development”, he said.

Total contributions received by the UN system increased by 10 per cent over 2007 resulting in the highest amount ever at $22.2 billion. On the other hand, the UN continues to rely on a very narrow donor base with over half of its core budget funded by 10 countries. The reports underscore the need to look more closely at non-core resources and to explore new mechanisms that enable the UN to use these effectively.

In regards to cooperation among funds, programmes and specialized agencies, Alexandru Cujba, Vice-President of ECOSOC,, said that the “United Nations Development Group (UNDG) regional teams are providing increasingly important support to young country teams, notably on cross cutting issues such as gender and the development impact of climate change. Promoting South-South cooperation should be a cornerstone of activities at a regional level”.

Mr. Cujba highlighted that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) are the four funds and programmes which together account for 60 per cent of the UN development system expenditures for operational activities. In addition, these organisations represent the consistent presence of the UN development system in most of the programme countries.

Ms. Helen Clark, the Chair of the UNDG and Administrator of the UNDP, stressed that “by supporting country ownership and leadership of the development process; by increasing the coherence and effectiveness of our collective efforts; and by drawing on evidence-based global best practice… we can strengthen the UN’s unique position to assist programme countries in their development efforts”.

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