Delivering as One Initiative Must Become Formal Part of Institutional Framework, as It Is ‘Face of Future United Nations’, Says Deputy Secretary-General

11 November 2011

Delivering as One Initiative Must Become Formal Part of Institutional Framework, as It Is ‘Face of Future United Nations’, Says Deputy Secretary-General

11 November 2011
Deputy Secretary-General
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Delivering as One Initiative Must Become Formal Part of Institutional Framework,

as It Is ‘Face of Future United Nations’, Says Deputy Secretary-General

Following are United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s closing remarks at the High-level Conference on “Delivering as One”, in Montevideo, 10 November:

I express sincere gratitude to the Government of Uruguay for hosting this conference and for extending such warm hospitality to all of us.  Let me also express appreciation to the Resident Coordinator, Susan McDade, and her team for their outstanding work in supporting the preparations.

I congratulate the Delivering as One pilots and the countries voluntarily adopting the Delivering as One approach on their inspiring and forward-looking outcome statement.  Today, you are sending a strong message to the world that the Delivering as One initiative has put the United Nations operational activities on the right track.  This conference has better equipped the United Nations to help countries advance their national development goals and the Millennium Development Goals.

Five years after the launch of the Delivering as One initiative, the momentum is stronger than ever.  Almost 30 countries are now actively driving the reform process, spurring innovation after innovation.  Many more countries have been inspired by the leadership of the pilot countries, and are implementing Delivering as One voluntarily.  Without the support of development partners, we could not have come this far.

The Kigali and Hanoi conferences made it clear that the old way of doing business was no longer an option.  The message I hear from Montevideo is that Delivering as One must become our “business model”.  The pilot countries show that this is possible.  Together, we have deepened our understanding of what has worked, what needs improvement and what deserves to be taken forward in a systematic way.

Allow me now to share with you some reflections about our discussions over the past three days:  reform has been firmly driven by the Governments of the Delivering as One countries, and national ownership and leadership is a sine qua non for the success of Delivering as One.  In turn, Delivering as One itself serves to bolster country ownership of United Nations programmes.

The good news coming out of your deliberations is that Delivering as One delivers results.  By working more closely together, United Nations organizations shore up their collective capacity to help countries to overcome poverty and hunger, uproot inequity and realize their development priorities.  It is crucial for us to document and demonstrate those results.

Governments now have greater access to the broad range of expertise and resources of the United Nations family.  One programme has helped to eliminate duplication.  Importantly, it has also improved the way we address cross-cutting issues, such as gender equality, human rights, productive capacities and environmental sustainability.

Delivering as One has helped to adapt United Nations support to the needs and priorities of countries at various stages of development — from least developed countries to middle-income countries and situations of transition, and from relief to development.  The experiences of the pilot countries suggest that the United Nations system can quickly adapt to changing country needs if United Nations country teams are given sufficient flexibility.

Each of the four pillars of Delivering as One — One Leader, One Programme, One Budgetary Framework and One Fund, as well as the United Nations ability to speak with “One Voice” — have proven essential for making Delivering as One a success.  Together, they have made our work more relevant, more effective, more efficient, more transparent and more accountable.

The United Nations development system is fully committed to build on these lessons and success stories.  As we reflect on these achievements, we are mindful of the many challenges still ahead of us.

The United Nations must go for strategic interventions that help countries realize the transformative change to which they aspire.  It must look for catalytic interventions that will maximize impact, such as empowering women and girls.  We must understand better what it is that makes the United Nations unique compared to other development cooperation actors.  We must ensure that it has the capacities to deliver what countries need and want.

The Delivering as One initiative has empowered resident coordinators and United Nations country teams.  Resident coordinators have a greater role to help articulate programmes and allocate resources around national priorities.  Consensus-building, mutual respect and accountability, responsiveness and pragmatism:  those are some of the key words associated with the resident coordinators’ functions.  Still, an important message from this conference is that there is a need to formalize their authority.

In the United Nations development system, we are strongly committed to further enhance mutual accountability for results between resident coordinators and United Nations country teams.  We must forge ahead with strengthening the resident coordinator system.  All organizations must give priority to implementing the management and accountability system for the United Nations development and resident coordinator system.

The “One office model” and the introduction of common services and harmonized business practices at the country level have led to tangible savings of time and resources.  But this is another area where we need to accelerate progress.  United Nations organizations must make it easier to work with each other, as well as with national authorities, donors and other actors.  We need to make our rules and processes simpler, lighter and faster.  Much can be done at the country level.  But bold reforms are also still needed at Headquarters.  We must also build strong partnerships with Governments and an ever-growing range of actors.

Sustaining the reform process requires political will and joint action from all stakeholders.  We must also look at funding, in particular at innovative solutions to mobilize more core, un-earmarked and predictable resources.  The United Nations General Assembly has underscored on several occasions that these are the bedrock of operational activities.  “One funds” are innovative catalysts for change.  They are critical for enhancing national ownership and empower resident coordinators and United Nations country teams.  And they deserve to be taken forward.

Many of you said that the Delivering as One initiative must become a formal part of the institutional framework.  It is the face of the United Nations of the future.  The many lessons learned from the pilot countries should find their way into the comprehensive policy review of operational activities — the QCPR — which the General Assembly will carry out next fall.  The independent evaluation of Delivering as One will make an important contribution to that review.  So will the country-led evaluations.

During these three days, you have made it clear that in an interdependent world, multilateralism is more important than ever.  The United Nations system offers a uniquely inclusive platform.  By delivering as one, we can use it to maximum effect.

Thank you for your participation.  Your leadership and advocacy have been critical in driving reform and innovation.  I encourage all of you to work jointly to ensure that the outcome of today’s Conference informs the vision for a strengthened United Nations development system that rises to the challenges of our time.

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