Accountability at Heart of Efforts to 'Build Positive Impetus for Change', Deputy Secretary-General Tells General Assembly Development Event

1 May 2014

Accountability at Heart of Efforts to 'Build Positive Impetus for Change', Deputy Secretary-General Tells General Assembly Development Event

1 May 2014
Deputy Secretary-General
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Accountability at Heart of Efforts to 'Build Positive Impetus for Change',

Deputy Secretary-General Tells General Assembly Development Event

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson's remarks at the interactive dialogue of the President of the General Assembly on Elements for an Accountability Framework for the Post-2015 Development Agenda, in New York today:

I am very grateful to you, Mr. President, for convening this interactive dialogue.  I thank all the participants for your thoughtful interventions.  There have been many informative presentations.  A number of valuable key messages have emerged.  Let me attempt to sum these up in 10 brief points.

First, accountability is at the heart of efforts to mobilize action and build positive impetus for change.  Accountability is central to our efforts for ensuring a life of dignity for all.

Second, an inclusive and robust global accountability framework for the post-2015 development agenda should engage all actors.  The most powerful motivation for global accountability is the necessity of achieving results.

Third, we all agree that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.  The framework should be flexible and open.

Fourth, an accountability framework should help create an international enabling environment for development.  This environment should be linked to mutual accountability among Governments.  They set the policy frameworks that have direct and indirect implications for achieving the post-2015 development agenda.

Fifth, global accountability must have strong regional and domestic counterparts.  It should not be centralized. Ministries, parliaments, local governments and audit agencies are critical and should strengthen their capacity.  Regional and local governments have a crucial role in delivering effective development on the ground.  This role should be highlighted in the design and functioning of a global accountability system.

Sixth, we must better clarify the responsibilities of different actors.  The framework for global accountability should be simple and focused.  It should build on existing monitoring and review mechanisms.  Member States should be at the centre.

Seventh, data and information must be easily accessible, trustworthy, disaggregated, transparent and comprehensible.

Eighth, an accountability framework should also generate incentives for knowledge-sharing, replicating success stories and learning from mistakes.

Ninth, the framework should be universal in its application.  But, it should take into account the different capacities and needs of Governments, civil society and the private sector.

Tenth and finally, the UN system should take necessary steps to become fit for purpose.  This includes better and effective delivery of results, agility in responding to the changing development landscape and openness for cooperation with new actors.

I understand that, this morning, some concerns were expressed about the timing and venue for our discussion today.  Let me say that this dialogue is neither meant to prejudge the work of the Open Working Group, nor come up with concrete proposals on accountability. Rather, this is meant to launch an open and inclusive debate on the basic assumptions and on how to ensure that the commitments regarding the post-2015 agenda are honoured.

Indeed, we have learned from the Millennium Development Goals that accountability should not be an afterthought.  The concept and necessary mechanisms for accountability should be built in tandem with the agenda.  This was clearly acknowledged in the outcome of the Rio+20 Summit which established the High-level Political Forum and acknowledged the key role of ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council) in ensuring implementation.  Such dialogue is also needed to guide the Secretariat, particularly in the preparation of the Secretary-General’s synthesis report.

I thank you all for these productive deliberations.  You have set the stage for developing a comprehensive and flexible accountability framework for the post-2015 sustainable development agenda, a task of historic significance for the United Nations, for the planet and for the peoples of the world.

I look forward to continued constructive and forward-looking discussions on this issue — and to working with all of you to achieve our shared goals.

* *** *

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