Deputy Secretary-General Hails Work Carried Out by ‘Delivering As One’ Pilot Countries to Highlight Strengths of United Nations Development System

20 October 2009

Deputy Secretary-General Hails Work Carried Out by ‘Delivering As One’ Pilot Countries to Highlight Strengths of United Nations Development System

20 October 2009
Deputy Secretary-General
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Deputy Secretary-General Hails Work Carried Out by ‘Delivering As One’ Pilot

Countries to Highlight Strengths of United Nations Development System

Following is the statement by UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro to the Intergovernmental Meeting of the Programme Pilot Countries on “Delivering as One”, in Kigali yesterday, 19 October:

I am pleased to be with you today at this important meeting to review the United Nations Delivering as One programme.

I thank the Government of Rwanda for its hospitality.  We take great inspiration from the huge strides made by the people of Rwanda to rebuild their country and move towards the Millennium Development Goals.

Rwanda’s economy has grown impressively in the past decade.  You have significantly reduced poverty.  Your transition has been peaceful and democratic, and it has included the impressive participation of women.

In volunteering to be a pilot country for the United Nations Delivering as One initiative, Rwanda has also taken a pioneering role in improving how the United Nations system supports development at the country level.

This meeting offers us all a chance to exchange experiences on the implementation of Delivering as One.  We will also launch a process of evaluation.

There are many lessons to be learned.  These lessons are valuable not just for strengthening our Delivering as One efforts, but for advancing broader intergovernmental discussions on the impact of UN system development cooperation.

Let me give just a few examples.

Here in Rwanda, UN agencies are combining to help create better schools and better fed schoolchildren.  They are helping to protect women from gender-based violence, make childbirth safer for Rwanda’s mothers and strengthen local government institutions.

In Mozambique, money saved from common services is being used to provide electricity to a Millennium Village.

In United Republic of Tanzania, a common information and communications technology (ICT) network should reduce ICT costs by $150,000 a year.

In Viet Nam, centralized communication supports common advocacy on issues such as the economic crisis, food security and domestic violence.

In Albania, the UN has helped to establish family planning centres across the country and has increased access to training for health-care providers.   Gender equality is now a feature of national law, thanks to UN advocacy, with the Parliament adopting a quota for women in decision-making positions in 2008.

These few examples highlight some of the positive trends identified in the first Delivering as One review last year in Maputo.  These include strengthened national ownership and leadership, improved strategic coherence in planning and budgeting, and better access by countries to the full range of UN system mandates and expertise.

The Maputo review showed that the UN system’s role was more likely to be integrated in national policies and strategies and that, conversely, the UN can become more responsive to country needs and priorities.  The recent stocktaking exercise has largely confirmed these expectations.

Maputo also identified major constraints, including unpredictability and delays in funding, and slow progress in simplifying and harmonizing business practices.  These persist and need to be addressed.

Many of the new approaches being tried in the context of Delivering as One have been noted by the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.  Member States have asked the Secretary-General to propose new modalities for the voluntary submission and approval of a common country programme.  Some countries have already adopted the Delivering as One approach.  I am pleased their representatives are with us today.

A number of recommendations from Maputo have also been taken into account in the work plan of the United Nations Development Group (UNDG).  For instance, UNDG is developing a UN Development Assistance Framework Action Plan that could replace the many programming documents currently in use by many agencies and countries.

We are now in the third year of implementing Delivering as One.  We have deeper experience, notably in joint programming and in working with new joint governance mechanisms at the national level.  New measures have become operational, such as “One Fund” management and the concept of joint strategic communication through a UN communications group.

At the same time, there are still obstacles to coherence, effectiveness and efficiency.  We need to point them out, and we need to identify where responsibility lies for addressing them.  This will enable intergovernmental bodies and UN system interagency mechanisms to provide better guidance.

We also need to go further.  We must systematically evaluate Delivering as One.  An independent evaluation of lessons learned will soon be under way, and should help the General Assembly’s next comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development, in 2011-2012.  I am currently developing the approach to this evaluation on behalf of the Secretary-General, who will inform Member States as its modalities and terms of reference become clearer.

The General Assembly has also asked the Secretary-General to help pilot countries undertake their own evaluations of Delivering as One.  These efforts will be conducted before the independent evaluation, and will provide an important foundation for it.  Today’s meeting will help to lay the groundwork.

Several pilot countries have already engaged in this process.  You will have the opportunity to exchange experiences.  Our colleagues from the UN Evaluation Group are also here to provide advice and support.

Your evaluations will help to adjust Delivering as One in your respective countries.  They will provide a firm basis for comparing experiences and determining what has worked and what has failed in making the work of the UN system more coherent and effective.

Let me conclude by paying tribute to the work that the Delivering as One pilot countries are doing, together with the UN country teams, to simplify complex UN processes and to highlight the comparative strengths of the UN development system.  This has been a very welcome contribution to United Nations reform.  It has also been a vote of confidence in the United Nations.   My colleagues and I are determined to continue doing our utmost to justify your faith.

In that spirit of solidarity, I wish you all a very fruitful and successful meeting.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.