INTERVENTION ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY THE DELEGATION OF EGYPT AT THE 2018 ECOSOC OPERATIONAL ACTIVITY FOR DEVELOPMENT SEGMENT DURING THE INTERACTIVE PANEL DISCUSSION ON THE REPOSITIONING THE UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT SYSTEM TO BEST DELIVER FOR PEOPLE AND PLANET: "STRENGTHENING GLOBAL-LEVEL ACCOUNTABILITY, TRANSPARENCY AND OVERSIGHT OF THE UN DEVELOPMENT SYSTEM" (New York, 1 March 2018)
(Day 3 - Thursday 1 March)
Strengthening global-level accountability, transparency and oversight of the UN development system
The G77 and China agrees that the system has taken important steps in recent years to improve its transparency, accountability and reporting on results and we reiterate our strong support for such steps. We note that many entities of the UNDS are leading by example in this regard. However, the Secretary-General also rightly points out in his report that progress at the entity level has not been matched by improvements at the system-wide level. In this regard, the Group would like to make a few remarks:
The Group concurs with the need to strengthen the role of ECOSOC as the principal organ in charge of economic and social issues, building on the principles of the Charter and the direction given by the QCPR resolution. The Group however is of the view that coherence among the various processes is essential and needs to be maintained. As such, discussions regarding ECOSOC reform should take place within the review of the implementation of GA Resolution 68/1. We are of the view that the initiation of parallel processes would not prove efficient.
The Group supports strengthening the operational activities for development segment to provide policy guidance to the entire system and to act as an accountability platform for system-wide performance in relation to the 2030 Agenda. The Group however is not persuaded that holding biannual meetings of the segment that have distinctive focuses would lead to better accountability, nor will it prove practical. Moreover, the Group supports enhancing oversight by the operational activities segment over the regional architecture. However, we note that reforms should not result in a decrease in the information available to member-states, and should recognize the specificities of the different regions and the Regional Economic Commissions. With regards to the proposal to utilize the operational activities segment to enhance guidance on the development system's coordination with humanitarian assistance and peacebuilding efforts, we note that such proposals should not go beyond the QCPR resolution mandate. The Group cautions against expanding the role of ECOSOC to areas beyond its scope.
The Group agrees that there is a need to enhance system-wide coordination. As such, the Group supports the vision of strengthening the interface with Member States on system-wide issues. The Group is still considering the proposed integration of the Executive Boards into a joint executive board. The Group emphasizes that any change in the executive boards should not result in less information available to member-states pertaining to the work of those particular entities. Finally, the Group is unclear on the impact that the joint board will have on the representation and oversight of developing countries on the work of those entities.
Regarding the recommendations on the independent evaluation of system-wide activities the Group stresses the importance of a stronger sense of internal discipline and supports the proposal of improving it upon performance management, including through the simplification and rationalization of tools and mechanisms to ensure that compacts between senior leaders and the Secretary-General are results-based and enforced.
On the recommendation to establish a small, independent system-wide evaluation unit that is to be administered by the department of management and directly accountable to ECOSOC, the Group is uncertain on the need to establish such a new unit rather than enhance the capacities of the Joint Inspection Unit. This is all the more pertinent in light of the budgetary implications associated with the establishment of that unit. The Group is also unclear where DOCO figures in this system-wide evaluation function and how the new unit will relate to and interact with existing oversight functions including the Joint Inspection Unit and the Board of Auditors. In this regard, the Group would like to stress the importance of safeguarding the independence and neutrality of any system-wide inspection unit.