STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 BY AMBASSADOR FEDA ABDELHADY, DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE, MISSION OF THE STATE OF PALESTINE TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE PLENARY MEETING OF THE FUNDING DIALOGUES (New York, 28 February 2019)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. At the outset, I wish to extend our thanks to Her Excellency Mrs. Amina Mohamed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, for her detailed briefing. The Group also wishes to express its appreciation to the Secretary-General, Deputy Secretary-General and Executive Office of the Secretary-General for all of their efforts in the implementation of the repositioning of the UN Development System. As the consultations on the Funding Compact within the context of the funding dialogue are coming to a close, we would like to take this opportunity to extend our thanks to the Assistant Secretary-General of the Development Coordination Office, Mr. Robert Piper, and his team. The Group commends the DSG and the Executive Office of the Secretary-General for their regular engagements and consultations with Member States. We look forward to continuing regular dialogues in the lead-up to, and during, the ECOSOC Operational Activities Segment in May 2019. Allow me now to express the Group's views on the pre-final draft version of the Funding Compact circulated on 22 February 2019.
3. First, we appreciate the current version of the Funding Compact. We recognise the significant improvements made to ensure that the document is readable and accessible to programme countries. It indicates clearly that the objective of the repositioning is for a more effective and efficient UN able to deliver results on the ground and help programme countries implement the 2030 Agenda. It references the important principles of national ownership and leadership. It lays out important caveats that respect ongoing discussions within the respective governing bodies, and the need to consult with them first in terms of the harmonisation of commitments at a system-wide level. However, the Group would like to reiterate our view that the RC funding and the Funding Compact should be seen as two separate processes, with different objectives and timelines. Nonetheless, we understand the rationale to reiterate these voluntary commitments in the Funding Compact as a way to continue highlighting the importance of adequate, predictable and sustainable funding of the reinvigorated RC system. We would also like to reiterate that the follow-up mechanisms for the Funding Compact should be kept informal, and should not in any way undermine or duplicate the QCPR process.
4. Second, we agree with the fundamental premise that improving the quantity and quality of funding lies at the heart of the Compact. This imperative applies to both core and non-core/extra budgetary resources for UN development activities, since both types of funding are critical to the realization of the 2030 Agenda. We, however, believe that the Funding Compact should only focus on voluntary contributions to the entities' budgets, and should therefore exclude assessed contributions. We note that the Secretary General's vision of restoring a greater balance between core and non-core resources can only be achieved through a concerted effort on voluntary core contributions. Hence, we believe that the baseline indicator for the first commitment for Member States should be the core share of total voluntary funding for development-related activities (19.5 % in 2017), rather than core resources as a share of overall funding for Operational Activities for Development (21.7% in 2017). This is in line with the version of the Funding Compact circulated on 15 February 2019, and not the pre-final draft version.
5. Third, while the Group agrees with the overall importance of efficiencies, which enable both higher quality services in support of mandate implementation and potential financial gains that can be reinvested in programmatic activities, the Group nevertheless notes that any attempt to generate efficiencies should be feasible and implemented only where relevant and possible. Such efforts should also be in line with GA resolutions 72/279 and 71/243. This should not only be undertaken at the national level but throughout the system and should take into account national circumstances, policies, plans, priorities and needs. The Group is especially concerned about the impact on local staff and host governments from the consolidation of Common Premises and Common Back Offices.
6. Fourth, allow me, Madam DSG, to address the matter of the coordination Levy as we had discussed this during the Technical Track discussions. We welcome the operationalisation of the coordination levy. The Group has always emphasised the need for adequate, predictable and sustainable funding of the reinvigorated RC system. We welcome that the levy amount is calculated in addition to the actual contribution made by donors, and not absorbed into the existing cost recovery rates of implementing agencies. We also note that no new exemptions not mandated by GA resolution 72/279 have been applied to the levy. For programme countries, it is imperative that the levy amounts in the Special Purpose Trust Fund are transparently managed and regularly reported.
Madam Deputy Secretary-General,
7. To conclude, the Group welcomes the conclusion of the funding dialogue and looks forward to supporting the Secretary-General's ongoing repositioning efforts in a constructive and inclusive spirit. The system will have to make adjustments along the way, but any changes should be implemented in consultation with Member States, and in a way that does not undermine existing processes such as the QCPR or entity-specific funding dialogues. Beyond the ECOSOC Operational Activities Segment, the Group looks forward to the reporting by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly in its 74th Session, which will inform the next cycle of the QCPR to be launched in 2020.
8. Please be assured of the Group's continued support for the Secretary-General's efforts to deliver a more effective and fit-for-purpose UNDS that would ultimately better help programme countries achieve the 2030 Agenda.