Reform activities must resolve the imbalance between core and non‑core funding and strengthen South‑South cooperation with respect for national sovereignty, speakers told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today as it took up its agenda item on operational activities for development.
The representative of Antigua and Barbuda, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said there was no “one-size-fits-all” approach to development and that the disproportion between core and non‑core funding countries weakened the multilateral framework for development assistance, created conditionalities and undercut development effectiveness.
Calling for an equitable balance between core and non‑core funding resources, he said the current trend increased operational costs and fragmented the United Nations system, particularly at the country level. Development assistance should be responsive to national policies and be free from overprescribed contingents.
India’s representative said an estimated one third of international development cooperation was routed through multilateral channels, of which the United Nations development system controlled an estimated one third. Development cooperation was largely dependent on earmarked funding from donors. The top 10 donors accounted for almost three quarters of development system funds, and nine of those provided more earmarked than core contributions.
To address that trend, he said there was growing interest in South‑South cooperation, which worked more in accordance with the priorities of partner countries rather than the conditions accompanying traditional donor aid. That cooperation also had a decades-long tradition emanating from shared experiences of a colonial past that had subjugated and distorted economies, he added.
Bangladesh’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, said South‑South cooperation could accelerate development as a complement to North‑South cooperation. The role of emerging economies as trading partners, investors and providers of development cooperation of least developed countries had substantially increased over the past decades.
Total development cooperation from emerging providers was estimated at about $32 billion in 2014, or 17 per cent of the global total, he continued. Cooperation between the least developed countries and the South had gone beyond provision of aid to include more varied areas of cooperation.
The representative of the Russian Federation said South‑South cooperation should be strengthened with due consideration to sovereignty, responsibility and mutual benefit of the countries involved.
Expanding that sentiment, Cameroon’s representative said any changes to the development system should be aligned with national priorities and needed to avoid moving away from sustainable development into areas like conflict prevention or peace and security. Such a trend could lead to interference in political processes and violate the sovereignty of States.
Earlier in the day, the Director of the Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of General Assembly resolution 67/226 on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system: funding analysis (document A/72/61-E/2017/4); and the Director of the United Nations Office for South‑South Cooperation in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the state of South‑South cooperation (document A/72/297). The Deputy Secretary-General for the United Nations gave an introductory address.
Also speaking were the representatives of Ecuador (for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Viet Nam (for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), El Salvador (for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), Nauru (for the Group of Asia and Pacific Island Developing States), Maldives (for the Alliance of Small Island States), Philippines, Iran, Indonesia, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, Jamaica, Belarus, Honduras, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, China, Thailand, Zambia, Malawi, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Brazil, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Republic of Korea, Nepal, Mozambique, Argentina, Japan, Algeria and Morocco as well as the Holy See and International Chamber of Commerce.
The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, 31 October, to introduce and act on draft resolutions.
Introduction of Reports
AMINA MOHAMMED, Deputy Secretary-General, introduced the operational activities for development of the United Nations system. She said demographic trends, technological advancements and big data held immense potential for sustainable development, however the international community had to contend with a growing number of complex global challenges. That included persistent inequality, migration and urbanization, climate change, conflict and violence and increased dissatisfaction with political institutions. The global and economic crisis revealed imbalances in the financial system and slowed down financing of poverty eradication and sustainable development. Given that, she said the international community must re‑establish the role of the financial sector and usher in an era of fair globalization with better policy and regulatory frameworks. In regards to climate change, she said the international community must promote a critical shift away from high emissions and consumption patterns. Noting the lack of confidence in governmental institutions, she said “a handful of rich men hold as much wealth as half the global population”. Citizens around the world therefore demanded increased effectiveness, transparency and accountability. To highlight that concern, she said a recent survey indicated that only 14 per cent of people trusted their Government to do what was “right” for their country.
For its part, she said the United Nations system would continue its reform efforts and aim to establish a new generation of country teams. Those teams would further support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through stronger leadership and reduced fragmentation and ensure that the work of the United Nations would be properly calibrated to specific country needs. Additionally, efforts were underway to support the provision and efficient use of official development assistance (ODA), bolster South‑South cooperation, improve urban working environments and support the meaningful participation of women, among other priorities.
NAVID HANIF, Director of the Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of General Assembly resolution 67/226 on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system: funding analysis (document A/72/61-E/2017/4). He said the United Nations development system received $26.7 billion in 2015 which represented a 4 per cent increase compared to 2014. At the same time, the share of non‑earmarked and core resources dropped to 22.9 per cent of total funding. Between 2000 and 2015, the volume of funding more than doubled, indicating that the funding of operational activities for development grew at a faster rate than overall global ODA. Funding in the non‑core resources grew roughly six times faster than the core funding during that same period. The slow growth in that core funding was a cause for concern, given that core resources were seen as a better instrument for advancing national ownership while providing the flexibility needed to deliver in an efficient and effective manner. The analysis showed a lack of progress in broadening the donor base, as only three Government donors accounted for 47 per cent of all Government contributions.
Regarding transparency and accountability in funding flows, he said that several United Nations entities developed and improved publicly accessible systems that map data on donor contributions and expenditures. Improvements were also made to achieve full cost recovery. Pooled funding accounted for only about 11 per cent of overall non‑core funding in 2015, despite the acknowledgement that inter‑agency pooled funds were useful mechanisms for strengthening system-wide coherence, reduced fragmentation and the development of economies of scale. Funding for humanitarian assistance activities increased more rapidly than funding for development-related activities, but could not keep pace with the growing humanitarian demands. He said the report stressed the need to explore options to supplement funding raised through more traditional means and looked at ways the ongoing structured financing dialogues could be improved.
JORGE CHEDIEK, Director of the United Nations Office for South‑South Cooperation in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the state of South‑South cooperation (document A/72/297). He noted that United Nations agencies had taken a series of measures to further mainstream South‑South cooperation and triangular cooperation into their policy frameworks and incorporate strategies towards implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Moreover, they were increasingly allocating dedicated funds and/or recruiting specialists to boost South‑South cooperation initiatives at Headquarters and also at regional and country levels.
United Nations agency support for South‑South cooperation included facilitation of policy dialogues, research and analysis, capacity development, knowledge-sharing, partnerships and innovative financing, monitoring, evaluation and reporting, he said. The Organization was also supporting regional and interregional South‑South cooperation through funding initiatives and partnerships with regional organizations. By drawing on three key mechanisms to promote stronger coordination of United Nations support to South‑South and triangular cooperation — catalysing advocacy and dialogues, promoting research and knowledge-sharing and deepening partnerships — the United Nations had laid the basis for further institutionalization of South‑South cooperation, within the system and beyond it.
Questions and Answers
The representative of Mexico said that reform of the United Nations system, especially in areas of development, had different dimensions. Some were part of the Secretary-General’s mandate and would be carried out internally with political support from Member States. Another dimension depended on Member States working together and agreeing upon changes. Two new contracts would be needed in carrying out reform — one between the Secretary-General and Member States and another between Member States. He stressed that the United Nations must transform itself from a system built on lack of trust to one with more confidence in the future. The new development agenda could not be implemented without reform and improved discussions among Member States. The core forum for those discussions should be the Economic and Social Council, which was a central, important body, but one which had lost its original function and ability. Now it could be transformed into a deliberative body that held more effective, relevant discussions in achieving the 2030 Agenda.
The representative of Kenya noted that the United Nations had come a long way since it had been established more than 70 years ago. However, it was now at an impasse because the world was changing so rapidly. Adding that the 2030 Agenda had focused Member States on specific objectives, he said it was the instrument to keep the United Nations on track. It was clear that funding was insufficient and that gap must be closed, which could be accomplished by building interrelations, including with the private sector. The Committee should hear how that could proceed as well as trends of South‑South cooperation financing, which was not just about sharing experiences but leveraging resources.
Mr. HANIF agreed that successful United Nations reform depended upon building trust and a system able to respond to new challenges. The $26.7 billion in funding for the 2030 Agenda was a vote of confidence in the United Nations system. That amount was two thirds of the financing the Organization received for all pillars combined. The development system must be a catalyst in ensuring that financing streams were targeted towards the Sustainable Development Goals. It had evolved by design and default, but must now change its mindset and functional arrangements to achieve the 2030 Agenda.
Mr. CHEDIEK said the Department of Economic and Social Affairs was working together with UNDP and other partners to gather information about differences and complementarities of South‑South cooperation, which would be included in a report his office was preparing. The report would consider options to advance South‑South cooperation, most of which was happening outside the United Nations system.
HENRY JONATHAN VIERA SALAZAR (Ecuador), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, emphasized that improvements in the United Nations development system should be aimed at adapting it to better support countries, particularly developing States, in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Such improvements should strengthen the system and mobilize more resources, mindful of the importance of multilateralism and the crucial role of the United Nations in development cooperation. The Group recognized the importance of the resident coordinator system in supporting Government efforts, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of development efforts, enhancing sustainable development results and reducing costs at the country level. In that regard, it was important to consider the need to build, promote and strengthen the capacity of developing countries in their efforts to achieve long-term sustainable development at the national level, while bearing in mind the different development levels and realities on the ground.
The quadrennial comprehensive policy review was the main instrument to better position the United Nations development system and any proposed reform of the development system should be based on that review, he said. South‑South and triangular cooperation were of growing importance to collective efforts to achieve the future development agenda, and such cooperation was a complement to, rather than substitute for, North‑South cooperation. There was an urgent need to address unmet ODA commitments, considering that it was still the main channel of financing development for developing countries. He went on to highlight the role of the new regional banks of developing countries, which were designed to operate within and across regions based on the belief that a revitalized partnership among Southern countries was possible.
NGUYEN PHUONG NGA (Viet Nam), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and aligning herself with the Group of 77, said that the development cooperation between her group and the United Nations had been growing in many areas. The 2030 Agenda and the Association’s Community Vision 2025 would be implemented in a mutually reinforcing manner to build an inclusive, people-centred ASEAN Community.
Turning to United Nations development system reform, she pointed out that its work should always be aligned with the needs, priorities and capacities of programme countries. Furthermore, the reliance on earmarked contributions had weakened the multilateral characteristic of the system, increasing the risk of duplication and overlap. In that context, she highlighted that ODA should be a key determinant in leveraging other international sources of financing, and to do so, the system should develop appropriate capabilities for promoting leverage by providing integrated policy support to Governments for mobilization of resources. South‑South and triangular cooperation were complementary to, but not a substitute for the North‑South cooperation, she said, reaffirming the need for developed countries to meet their ODA commitments.
MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh), speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, said the United Nations development system must be repositioned to support least developed States for specific programmes, projects, follow-up and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda and other development projects in a coordinated and coherent manner. United Nations entities dedicated to least developed countries must be strengthened and there must be a strong presence of the development system in all vulnerable States. The United Nations must be well-resourced, supporting least developed countries to combat climate change, make technology and innovation available and facilitate partnerships for development.
South‑South cooperation had the potential to be a great means for accelerating development as a complement to North‑South cooperation, he said. The role of emerging economies as trading partners, investors and providers of development cooperation of least developed countries had substantially increased over the past decades. Total development cooperation from emerging providers was estimated at about $32 billion in 2014, or 17 per cent of the global total. South‑South cooperation followed a broader approach than cooperation from traditional donors. Cooperation between the least developed countries and the South had gone beyond provision of aid to include more varied areas of cooperation, especially in trade and investment.
HECTOR ENRIQUE JAIME CALDERÓN (El Salvador), speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (CELAC), urged for the United Nations development system to incorporate the Sustainable Development Goals into all strategic planning documents and into their work at all levels. In that regard, he emphasized that poverty eradication should remain a key priority. He said that the governance structure of the development system must be more efficient and transparent, better able to respond to Member States, and more able to improve the coordination and efficiency of its operational activities. Such reforms would allow for improved strategic planning, application, presentation of reports and system level assessments to implement the 2030 Agenda.
He said that the United Nations development system must incorporate and support South‑South and triangular cooperation under the leadership of developing countries. In that regard, his Community would continue to promote such cooperation through its policies, funds and programmes for development.
TUMASIE BLAIR (Antigua and Barbuda), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and associating himself with the Group of 77, CELAC and the Alliance of Small Island States, said there was no “one size fits all” approach to development and development assistance. Operational activities for development should be able to respond to the development needs of programme countries in a flexible manner, for the benefit of those States and at their request with respect to their national policies and priorities. Similarly, operational activities for development should consider the need to encourage national capacity-building. Greater emphasis should be placed on the strengthening of the multilateral framework for development, including by rearranging the funding core of the United Nations system. The disproportion between core and non‑core funding countries weakened the multilateral framework for development assistance, created conditionalities and undercut development effectiveness, he stated.
Calling for an equitable balance between core and non‑core funding resources, he said the current trend increased operational costs and fragmented the United Nations system, particularly at the country level. Development assistance should be responsive to national policies and plans and be free from overprescribed contingents. He emphasized the importance of South‑South cooperation for development, which would be instrumental in addressing long-term challenges and would ensure the transfer of technologies, increase capacity-building and facilitate access to the range of services available in the United Nations system.
ANADELLA EDWARD (Nauru), speaking on behalf of Pacific small island developing States and associating herself with the Group of 77 and the Alliance of Small Island States, said that her group of countries remained a “special case” for sustainable development. They had myriad challenges and unique geographies, economies, and environments, she added, reiterating the need to fully implement the small island developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway. Small island developing States had been aided in that task by the recently completed independent analysis of United Nations system support for small island developing States, in the form of the report of the Joint Inspection Unit. That report contained several findings and recommendations which must be fully implemented.
Coherence and coordination of all activities on the ground were paramount to fulfilling the 2030 Agenda, she continued. Agencies must be able to jointly develop and implement programmes towards common objectives. Those objectives must be derived from the Development Assistance Framework. In that context, empowering the resident coordinator system remained essential, she said, adding that the resident coordinator must have visibility towards all projects and activities undertaken under her purview. That would pose a challenge in the Pacific, where one resident coordinator oversees 10 countries. She also emphasized the need to find adequate and predictable sources of financing through core resources.
ALI NASEER MOHAMED (Maldives), speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States and associating himself with the Group of 77, said the susceptibility of small island nations to natural hazards was just one of numerous challenges they faced on the path towards sustainable development. In 2015, the Alliance did not hesitate to fully commit to the 2030 Agenda, he said, adding that the Samoa Pathway was the blueprint for its development. As an active participant in the 2016 quadrennial comprehensive policy review, he said the Alliance realized there were many matters that were unclear regarding the functioning and operation of the United Nations development system that hindered Member States from giving more specific guidance to the system. As such, it still had some of the same questions as in 2016, in addition to new ones arising from some of the recommendations contained in the report. Turning to the December report, he said the resident coordinator system was vital as to whether programme countries would be able to implement the 2030 Agenda. He expected it to elaborate on outstanding matters raised in the June report.
The funding mechanism for the United Nations development system must be predicable and flexible to address the priorities of programme countries, he continued. The entire system must discourage highly earmarked non‑core resources, as that encouraged silos and disconnection from priority areas. In that context, the system should explore low-risk financing options. While partnerships were particularly important to small island developing States, they must be genuine, durable and based on mutual respect.
A.P. JITHENDER REDDY (India) noted that an estimated one third of international development cooperation was routed through multilateral channels, of which the United Nations development system controlled an estimated one third. Development cooperation was largely dependent on earmarked funding from donors, unlike other avenues. The top 10 donors accounted for almost three quarters of development system funds, and nine of those provided more earmarked than core contributions. The situation had to change if the development system was to become more effective and tuned to the needs of developing countries where it was operational. In that regard, there was growing interest in South‑South cooperation, which worked more in accordance with the priorities of partner countries rather than the conditions accompanying traditional donor aid. South‑South cooperation also had a decades-long tradition emanating from shared experiences of a colonial past that had subjugated and distorted economies.
MARIA ANGELA PONCE (Philippines), aligning herself with ASEAN and the Group of 77, said the operational activities of the United Nations development system should be allied with the development needs and priorities of States. That was a basic principle in her country’s national process in the preparation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of its country programme document and national development assistance framework. Noting the continuing imbalance of core and non‑core funding, she expressed concern that funding drove programming. She urged States and donors to prioritize core and non‑earmarked funding and support the critical need for transparency, accountability and governance. To that end, she called on States and the United Nations system to operationalize the critical mass of core resources, incentivize donors, broaden the donor base and ensure full cost recovery. She additionally welcomed initiatives that contributed to the institutionalization of South‑South cooperation and encouraged greater programmatic and institutional support to those initiatives.
EBRAHIM ALIKHANI (Iran), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the principles of national ownership and leadership in guiding the operational activities of the United Nations system at the country level were of critical importance. The resident coordinator system should therefore respond to the plans, priorities and needs of host countries within their development assistance frameworks. He expressed concern about the imbalance between core and non‑core resources and urged for the promotion of a more transparent and efficient governance architecture to enable system-wide strategic planning. Given that the tendency to reduce programme activities would impair the performance of development projects and joint activities at the field level, he urged for the emphasis of quality of work rather than administrative considerations. Similarly, he said South‑South cooperation could be maximized through subregional, regional and interregional frameworks and should be integrated into operational activities. He welcomed efforts to mainstream South‑South cooperation and called for greater analytical information on the implementation of major intergovernmentally agreed developmental goals in the next Secretary-General’s report.
AINAN NURAN (Indonesia), associating herself with the Group of 77, ASEAN and the Non‑Aligned Movement, said that the Organization must work together and find innovative ways for Member States, partners and the international community to mobilize resources. That included public and private resources focused on moving towards a stronger integrated financing strategy in accordance with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. For its part, Indonesia partnered with the United Nations and the private sector to channel private capital to achieve the 2030 Agenda. It also provided funding to rural smallholders to improve productivity while conserving the natural environment. She called for greater coordination and coherence at the United Nations level in addressing development needs and priorities on the ground. She also emphasized the importance of strengthening South‑South and triangular cooperation to assist developing countries.
TATIANA ZVEREVA (Russian Federation) said introducing any changes to the United Nations development system would only be possible with broad consensus among Member States, given its scale and complexity. She urged the Secretariat to submit additional details about the ramifications of any changes. Objecting to politicization of operational activities, she stressed that national ownership and priorities must be included in any changes to the development system. Reform must aim to strengthen interactions between recipient States and United Nations country teams. Formation of those teams should be based on the needs of the host country. South‑South cooperation should be strengthened, paying due consideration to sovereignty, responsibility and mutual benefit of countries involved.
BIANA LEYVA REGUEIRA (Cuba), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, the Alliance of Small Island States and CELAC, underscored the contribution of the United Nations development system in confronting pressing development challenges facing the most vulnerable countries. Reform of the system must strictly adhere to the principle of neutrality and development-related aims guiding United Nations operational activities in those countries. At the same time, the system should be more proactive in eliminating poverty, achieving sustainable development and responding effectively to national priorities. It must also promote flexible and inclusive policies based on the principle of voluntarism, respect for sovereignty and leadership at all levels of the receiving State. Indeed, the countries of the South knew their needs best and it was up to them to determine their assistance priorities, she said.
VLADAMIR BUDHU (Trinidad and Tobago), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, Alliance of Small Island States, CELAC and CARICOM, said he expected the United Nations development system to be a stable, long-term, reliable partner in the foreseeable future to help his country achieve the 2030 Agenda and the Vision 2030 national development strategy. As a high middle-income developing country, Trinidad and Tobago continued to grapple with its status which rendered it ineligible for international development assistance, while also coping with the vulnerabilities of being a small island developing State. Operational activities for development must encourage national capacity-building by ensuring the promotion and transfer of new technologies to developing countries, while also enabling and facilitating those countries’ access to the full range of services available throughout the United Nations development system.
JERRY MATTHEWS MATJILA (South Africa), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said reform of the United Nations development system must be guided by the quadrennial comprehensive policy review. Additionally, the resident coordinator system must be informed by the country’s national plans, policies and priorities, and remain under the leadership and ownership of national governments. While the review had captured the mutually reinforcing relationship between peace and development, it also rightfully pointed out that must not adversely affect resources for development. The continuing and ever-increasing imbalance between core and non‑core resources remained a critical concern, as it hindered country-level programming. The fragmentation of United Nations entities at the country level had also proved to be a major disservice to countries that required support from the United Nations development system. He stressed that the international community must step up development enablers such as capacity-building, technology transfer and an enabling and fair international environment.
E. COURTENAY RATTRAY (Jamaica), associating himself with the Group of 77, CARICOM, CELAC and the Alliance of Small Island States, said that regional policy coordination was operating at a suboptimal level due to an unclear division of labour and the inefficient use of United Nations policy capacities on regional priorities. Jamaica attached great importance to the proposed improvements in the resident coordinator system and believed there must be empowered and well-resourced leadership within the system, with clear lines of authority over United Nations country teams on system-wide responsibilities. The fact that United Nations agencies had been experiencing a reduction in resources available for investment was of concern, particularly due to their limited core resources and reliance on resource mobilization from donors. In that context, United Nations agencies needed to augment their pool of resources by adopting more creative approaches.
ANNA BAGDASAROVA (Belarus) said her country supported the reorganization of the United Nations development system, to promote greater transparency, accountability and conform to the needs of recipient countries. She encouraged a systematic approach to address the needs of middle-income nations which currently lacked access to coordinated financial assistance mechanisms, and in that regard, she called for the establishment of a middle-income-country-specific strategy. Noting the need to revitalize operational development activities, she encouraged the creation of regional partnership mechanisms to link multilateral initiatives. She expressed concern that financial assistance to middle-income countries might be reduced, and said that such a trend would lead to the politicization of the development system. She urged all United Nations bodies to improve the efficiency of their work and the use of financial resources in existing mechanisms, without placing greater burdens on recipient countries. She said efforts to strengthen the development system should not become “reform for reform’s sake” and that all efforts should be results-oriented and focused on specific operational needs.
YOLANNIE CERRATO (Honduras), associating herself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said the international community’s compliance with the 2030 Agenda would require substantial mobilization of resources. To that end, South‑South cooperation would be a fundamental complementary tool, could provide effective solutions to challenges and balance growth and equality. South‑South cooperation had been vital in her country’s development efforts, particularly in technology transfer and sharing of expertise. Honduras had strengthened its role as an “offering” country, as demonstrated in their national strategy called “Sharing Honduras”. She urged all United Nations agencies, funds and programmes to continue their work with developing countries to maximize the impact of South‑South cooperation.
ALAIN WILFRIED BIYA (Cameroon) said any adaptation or repositioning of the United Nations development system could be decided only based on an intergovernmental resolution. The international community should avoid making hasty decisions that disregarded the legitimate procedure of intergovernmental bodies. Any resultant changes to the development system should be aligned with national priorities, aiming to strengthen the energy and infrastructure sectors as well as stimulate economic growth and industrialization. Any development system changes needed to avoid moving away from sustainable development into areas like conflict prevention or peace and security. That could lead to interference in political processes and violate the sovereignty of States. Given the scarcity of resources, uncalled‑for interference in political issues would be counterproductive.
ROLANDO CASTRO CORDOBA (Costa Rica) said multilateral cooperation should play a major role in achieving the 2030 Agenda. The international community must adopt a multidimensional stance in analysing poverty and its commitments to eradicating it. One of the essential aims of cooperation was to support capacity-building in developing countries. Access to concessional finance at the international level must consider the vulnerabilities of countries. The global community must create new and larger sources of finance and also widen the selection criteria for access through a multidimensional analysis of the needs of developing countries.
LEULESEGED TADESE ABEBE (Ethiopia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said implementation of the 2030 Agenda in developing States needed to support a more efficient United Nations development system. Guiding principles of the reform process should be reinforcement of national ownership, ensuring country-contextual responses and making country-level delivery the litmus test for success. South‑South cooperation had become a major source of development support and nowadays included trade, investment, infrastructure and connectivity. South‑South cooperation should be further strengthened and institutionalized while reaffirming that it was not a substitute for North‑South cooperation.
LUO JIN (China), associating herself with the Group of 77, said developing countries had high expectations to eradicate poverty, improve livelihoods of people, strengthen economic development and rectify global imbalances. First, she said the international community must fully implement the quadrennial comprehensive policy review for the benefit of programme countries and with respect to national ownership, leadership and priorities. Second, it should reinforce and promote development through a system-wide reform with an aim to provide greater support to States, reinforce multilateralism, build partnerships, enhance cooperation and ensure effective global governance. Third, the international community must bolster global partnerships and fix the current imbalance of resources. To do so, she encouraged developed countries to honour their ODA commitments, increase donation to core resources and enable greater flexibility in non‑core resources. Fourth, greater emphasis should be placed on South‑South cooperation. For its part, China had incorporated the Sustainable Development Goals into its national development plan and enhanced efforts to eradicate poverty.
PUNNAPA PARDUNGYOTEE (Thailand), associating herself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said that as the home to more than 50 United Nations agencies, her country was of the view that coordination and consultations between various United Nations bodies and national authorities needed to be enhanced. In that context, the resident coordinator played an important role and must be able to effectively lead and coordinate within the country team. It was also crucial that the resident coordinator had the appropriate profile and skills to work in the context of development. She called for the United Nations development system to be more transparent, accountable, coherent and coordinated at Headquarters and stressed that the global partnerships for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals must be revitalized and scaled up.
LEONARD NKHOMA (Zambia) said South‑South cooperation had great potential to advance equitable national development agendas, taking advantage of specific strengths and conditions of the region. In recent years, the scope of South‑South cooperation had expanded well beyond technical cooperation and exchange of knowledge to include trade, investment, infrastructure and connectivity as well as coordination of policies and development strategies among developing nations, which was vital for least developed and landlocked countries. He called for effective and concrete measures to support South‑South and triangular cooperation in view of the 2030 Agenda and the United Nations development system reform process. United Nations regional commissions should continue to play a catalytic role in promoting South‑South and triangular cooperation.
NECTON D. MHURA (Malawi), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said the 2030 Agenda was a “big task with a limited timeframe”. In that regard, he expressed his commitment to create a United Nations development system that would adhere to its values, while being adaptable and flexible. Noting that the agencies, funds and programmes were essential to the success of the reform process, he urged for greater accountability, transparency and coordination. The United Nations, he said, should foster partnerships within itself and with external actors. He expressed alarm that the United Nations development system had not yet transformed to the Sustainable Development Goals framework, as evident by the fact that 50 per cent of the budget remained targeted to the Millennium Development Goals. “By the time we realize it, it will be too late in the 2030 trajectory to enable us to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals,” he said. To that end, he called for a broader cultural shift that would discourage competition between agencies and programmes. He also expressed concern about the decline in core and non‑core funding, while stating that the current trend would lead to increased inequality and failure.
PHOUTAVANH OUANEPHONGCHALEUNE (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), associating herself with the Group of 77, ASEAN and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said the United Nations development system had played a key role in supporting projects in developing States. United Nations development agencies had to focus on supporting and assisting the development of Member States in line with the United Nations Charter and their respective mandates. Least developed countries required support and assistance from United Nations agencies, she stressed, expressing concern over the continued declining trend of core resources. Member States, especially developed countries, must contribute funding to the core budget and non‑earmarked funding to the operational activities so that United Nations development agencies could effectively carry out their mandate and provide efficient and effective service to Member States.
LIVIA OLIVEIRA SOBOTA (Brazil), associating herself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said the 2016 quadrennial comprehensive policy review provided a solid foundation as well as the key policy orientation for the United Nations development system to support countries in implementing the 2030 Agenda. Expressing support for the Secretary-General’s overall vision as laid out in his June report, she outlined elements that Brazil considered crucial in the upcoming deliberations of Member States. Those included addressing insufficient levels of inter‑agency coordination; retaining the physical presence of the United Nations development system across all regions and contexts while paying special attention to the most vulnerable countries; retaining flexibility to operate in the context of the unique development dynamics in each country; coordinating and sophisticating capacity development at the country level; improving the United Nations Development Assistance Framework, the country teams and the resident coordinator system; and reinforcing the system’s development focus. South‑South cooperation was another important and diverse modality of development cooperation that must be fostered and supported, she added.
Mr. ELAWAD (Sudan), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said the United Nations development system was vital in assisting developing States in their efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The international community must continue supporting them, focusing on challenges faced by the most vulnerable States, including least developed and landlocked countries. It must also ensure that the system was adapted to suit the needs of developing countries and national strategies directed towards achieving development goals. Further efforts were needed and resources had to be mobilized to promote the key role of the United Nations in development. It was vital that the development system provide continued support to countries working on national plans and encountering serious challenges along the way.
FREDERICK MUSIIWA MAKAMURE SHAVA (Zimbabwe), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said the 2030 Agenda’s highly integrated nature made it imperative for the United Nations development system to increase collaboration and the sharing of expertise among its various entities, by leveraging their comparative advantages and ensuring that their work was complementary rather than duplicative. Improving the system’s funding was also critical, he said, pointing out that Member States had long decried the imbalance between core and non‑core resources. With the latter at 20 per cent, he said “this is unsustainable and does not bode well for the effective delivery of key mandates relating to the 2030 Agenda”. Calling for more innovative means and partnerships to help bridge that gap — as well as adequate oversight to ensure that their objectives matched those set out in the 2030 Agenda — he underscored the importance of national ownership in countries’ development processes, the urgency of the humanitarian assistance and development nexus and the role of South‑South cooperation as a complement to traditional North‑South cooperation.
WON DOYEON (Republic of Korea) said unless the United Nations development system transformed itself, it would not be able to maintain its leadership in global development cooperation. The reform should therefore reinforce the system’s role as a catalyst for action and innovation. On prevention, reform efforts should go to de‑silo humanitarian, development and peacebuilding works on the ground by drawing on assets and the innovation of a new culture to maximize coordination in the field. Additionally, he called for funding reform measures to secure sufficient core funding and address the imbalance between core and non‑core funding. A big challenge was the inadequate quality of non‑core funding where over 90 per cent of non‑core contributions were allocated to a single donor project. In that regard, he emphasized that the success of the funding compact relied on carefully designed funding options for more predictable and less earmarked funding in addition to core funding. Relatedly, he emphasized inter‑agency pooled funds that incentivized collaboration would be instrumental. Concluding, he expressed high expectations for the reform to overcome bureaucracy and red tape to improve institutional effectiveness and efficiency, including through the design of a collaborative framework at the regional level.
SHANKER DAS BAIRAGI (Nepal), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, stressed the need to enhance United Nations effectiveness, efficiency, coherence and impact in helping countries meet their sustainable development needs. Regarding the United Nations development system, he said it was important to reduce overlap and inter‑agency competitions over resources, and improve coordination and effectiveness to “deliver as one” on the 2030 Agenda. He stressed that data must be reliable, accessible, timely and disaggregated by income, gender, age and other relevant characteristics. He added that any systemic and organizational change or new resident coordinator system must consider ongoing works and ensure that the new system worked seamlessly and delivered better. Additionally, funding must be predictable and aligned with priorities of programme countries. There lay an enormous potential in South‑South cooperation, especially for countries in special situations. South‑South cooperation must be elevated to a higher institutional framework.
ANTÓNIO GUMENDE (Mozambique), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said the United Nations was once again called upon to reinvent itself, this time to contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. In that regard, he urged for access to predictable financial resources and for addressing the imbalance between core and non‑core resources. He called on his country’s bilateral development partners to ensure the fulfilment of all ODA commitments. Efforts to reform the United Nations development system should take human resources into account, as there was a need to recruit people with the required knowledge. The Organization should therefore recruit from within the countries it was serving, whenever capacity was available.
MARTÍN GARCÍA MORITÁN (Argentina), associating himself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said South-South and triangular cooperation formed an axis of his country’s foreign policy. An Argentinian fund established to further such cooperation had mobilized more than 9,500 Argentinian and foreign experts in projects with over 70 countries. South-South cooperation promoted inclusive development and articulated various positions in international fora. Such cooperation could make a real difference to establishing national frameworks to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The main challenge was drawing on it to establish a strategic framework for achievement of the 2030 Agenda and other development platforms.
TOSHIYA HOSHINO (Japan) asked how a more independent and reinvigorated resident coordinator system would be structured. He added: “How will it function and interact with other players?” It was important also to consider how it would be supported both at the country level and from Headquarters. He emphasized the need to consider how the costs would be financed and the burdens shared, and asked whether a renewed resident coordinator system would improve their delivery on the ground. Those questions required clear explanations. He remained fully committed to the Secretary-General’s initiative for the United Nations development system reform and therefore welcomed additional and early explanations on those matters.
MOURAD MEBARKI (Algeria), associating himself with the Group of 77, said that reform efforts should focus on making the United Nations more effective, and in that context, increasing the coherence of the Organization’s work was vital. Transparency and accountability were also essential for any reform efforts to bring real results. Expectations were high that the international community would work together towards shared goals. At times, the Secretary-General’s reports were not easy to read and they should be better-structured and more clearly identify problems that needed to be addressed by Member States. Technical issues that should be addressed by the United Nations system should be elaborated in separate sections. He went on to point out that the cost of preparing the Secretary-General’s reports was of concern for some delegations, particularly the costs associated with hiring outside consultants.
Ms. HATTANE (Morocco), associating herself with the Group of 77, supported the consultation process on the repositioning of the United Nations development system and hoped that process would lead to tangible results that would give a new boost to the Organization. While the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review was a useful tool for repositioning the operational activities of the United Nations development system, streamlining the expenditure of that system and striking a balance between core and extra-budgetary resources remained crucial for ensuring viable financing of projects and achieving the development goals. Morocco continued to call for a culture of peace and solidarity, which was the backdrop for her country’s commitment to development in Africa, particularly in the context of South-South cooperation.
BERNARDITO CLEOPAS AUZA, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, said that repositioning the development system required a system-wide review that considered the development needs of each country. Focusing more on people meant not only protecting them from heinous crimes but also placing them ahead of all national and geopolitical interests and fulfilling all the international political commitments on social and economic development. “Putting people always first means protecting, at every stage and in every circumstance, the dignity of the person, and its human rights and fundamental freedoms,” he said. The right to life and to freedom of religion were two rights from which all other rights flowed. Those two human rights were indivisible from the other rights. He warned against giving financial aid conditioned by the introduction of ideas and cultures not in consonance with the beneficiaries’ value system.
HIROKO MURAKI GOTTLIEB, International Chamber of Commerce, called for ideas that were “fit for purpose” in responding to global challenges and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals while also strengthening South-South cooperation. Such ideas included enhancing inclusivity through strengthened multilateral, multi-stakeholder engagement; strengthening capacity-building, especially for women, girls and vulnerable populations; and fostering global trade. Leveraging rapidly advancing technology was also crucial, as was short-term financing to support global trade — known as “trade finance” — that could support the growth of entrepreneurs by enabling access to global markets and value chains. To those ends, the Chamber would be partnering with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development to host an expert group meeting on trade finance in November at United Nations Headquarters.