STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MINISTER PLENIPOTENTIARY MOHAMED GAD, CHARGé D'AFFAIRES A.I. OF THE PERMANENT MISSION OF EGYPT TO THE UNITED NATIONS, DURING THE INFORMAL BRIEFING BY THE UN SECRETARY-GENERAL ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF HIS REFORM PROPOSALS AT THE PLENARY OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 27 November 2018)
Madam President, Your Excellency, Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Esteemed colleagues and friends,
1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China at this informal briefing by the Secretary-General on the implementation of his reform proposals.
2. The Group of 77 and China thanks you, Madam President, for convening this dialogue between the General Assembly and the Secretary-General. The Group also thanks you, Mr Secretary-General, for your efforts to update us on the progress of reform across the three pillars. We see these sessions as a concrete signal of the commitment by both of you to a transparent, inclusive, and consultative process, with the full involvement of all stakeholders.
3. The Group of 77 and China has given strong support to the Secretary-General and played a central role in advancing reform. But reform is a process. To this end, informal dialogues like this are important to sustaining engagement between the Secretariat and the wider membership.
4. However, the established inter-governmental processes are equally important, if not more so. Consensus obtained through the established inter-governmental processes give legitimacy to the reform process. It reaffirms that developed and developing countries alike have considered the Secretary-General's proposals, and reached agreement. It reaffirms our unity in advancing this important project to make the United Nations more fit for purpose, and to meet the challenges of today.
5. On the repositioning of the UN development system, it is not possible to over-emphasize the importance which the G77 and China places on the UN development system in view of the impact that it has on the members of our Group, especially the smallest and most vulnerable. We were disappointed that the General Assembly was not able to agree to finance the UN development system through assessed contributions. Nevertheless, the Group will continue to actively participate in all processes related to the implementation of this ambitious mandate. We stress the need to fully operationalize the three funding sources of the Residenct coordinator system set out in paragraph 10 of its resolution 72/279. We would also like to emphasize that adequate, predictable and sustainable funding of the resident coordinator system remains a concern and is essential to delivering a coherent, effective, efficient and accountable response in accordance with national needs and priorities. We further request the Secretary General to ensure independent and transparent management of the established dedicated trust fund for the reinvigorated resident coordinator system.
6. The Group requests the Secretary-General and all entities in the United Nations development system to ensure full implementation of the General Assembly resolutions 71/243 and 72/279. It further stresses the urgency of implementing those mandates contained in paragraphs 4, 15, 19, 29, and 30 of its resolution 72/279, on which reporting is required at the ECOSOC Operational Activities Segment in May 2019. We would especially like to stress in this regard the urgent need for a timely and comprehensive review of the configuration, capacity, resource needs, role and development services of multi-country offices, in full consultation with the countries involved, to improve the contribution of the offices to country progress in achieving the 2030 the SDGs. Moreover the group emphasizes the need to address gaps and overlaps at the regional level, and looks forward to the implementation by the Secretary-General of the proposed measures to optimize functions and enhance collaboration at the regional and subregional levels, and to the options to be provided by the Secretary-General, on a region-by-region basis, for longer-term reprofiling and restructuring of the regional assets of the United Nation.
7. We look forward to continued updates on how UN-DOCO and all elements of the UNDS are being transformed, and how the Secretary-General will ensure greater transparency, oversight, and national ownership. The Group of 77 and China reiterates our strong support for a United Nations system that can support all developing countries in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and all other inter-governmentally agreed outcomes related to sustainable development.
8. Turning to the restructuring of the peace and security architecture, the Group of 77 and China welcomes the establishment of the single regional political-operational structure. We hope that this will bring about a change in culture and working methods, and promote a truly integrated and coordinated approach across the continuum of UN activities in peace and security. It is of critical importance that the UN and its structures adapt to the changing demands of building truly sustainable peace, including in supporting conflict prevention, mediation, and peacebuilding. We are particularly pleased that there will be four standalone divisions for Africa, and will closely monitor their operationalisation. The Group also looks forward to how developing countries, especially troop- and police-contributing countries, are represented within the new structures.
9. On management reform, the Group of 77 and China is proud of its role in the adoption by the General Assembly of major budget and structural reforms, including those governing procurement and ICT. Beginning in 2020, the UN will move to an annual budget, the first significant financial reform of the United Nations since the 1970s. The Group of 77 and China also worked with our partners through May and June 2018 to lift the legislative barrier, in order to allow the Secretary-General to proceed with significant structural reforms on the target implementation date of 1 January 2019. Although some elements are pending a final decision, the Group of 77 and China trusts in the Secretary-General's commitment to adhere closely to the mandates given. In the next phase, we will turn our focus to outcomes, and how these proposals achieve our common goal of making the UN more effective, more transparent, more accountable, and more representative of its diverse membership. We will also follow how these reforms can yield concrete change, particularly as they relate to the delegation of authority; procurement from developing countries; gender parity and equitable geographical representation at all levels at the secretariat, three issues of high importance to this Group.
10. Looking ahead, allow me to conclude by emphasizing that the Group of 77 and China shares the Secretary-General's vision of making the UN a more responsive and field-focused organisation, with a leadership that more accurately reflects our geographical diversity. It is time to bring the UN back the people. And it is past time to have a more responsive and representative UN. We commend once again the Secretary-General's commitment to rebuilding and maintaining trust between the General Assembly and the Secretariat. We have given him our trust and opened the doors to reform. As we move forward, we look to the Secretary-General to take the authority we have given him, push the Secretariat, and bring about true culture change so that the UN will deliver to its membership on time, and be truly accountable to us through the established inter-governmental processes. Together, we will walk a democratic, accountable, and inclusive path to reform.
I thank you.