STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY AMBASSADOR FEDA ABDELHADY, DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE, MISSION OF THE STATE OF PALESTINE AT THE BRIEFING ON THE REPOSITIONING OF THE UN DEVELOPMENT SYSTEM (New York, 3 May 2019)
1. I would like to thank Her Excellency Mrs. Amina Mohamed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, for her briefing. The G77 & China would also like to express its appreciation to the Secretary-General, the DSG and the Executive Office of the Secretary-General for their hard work in the implementation of the repositioning of the UN Development System. We welcome today's comprehensive briefing on the repositioning process as a significant milestone in the lead-up to the ECOSOC OAS; the first such segment to take place after the adoption of the milestone GA Resolution 72/279 as well as the conclusion of the funding dialogue and the agreement on the funding compact. We appreciate the efforts of circulating reports of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the QCPR, the report of the Chair of the UNSDG on the DCO, as well as the annotated outline of the system-wide strategic document. The G77 & China is still studying these documents, and will be submitting a more detailed reflection and position on them before the OAS. But would like to make the following preliminary comments and pause some questions.
2. First, the G77 & China emphasises the importance of ensuring the timely implementation of all outstanding mandates from General Assembly resolutions 71/243 and 72/279. The repositioning of the UN Development System must be conducted in the context of the QCPR. This is crucial to recall, the QCPR mandates and mandates contained therein of the General Assembly resolution 72/279 should be fully implemented and should not be reopened nor renegotiated. In this regard, the G77 & China wishes to reiterate the central role of the General Assembly in discussing and deciding on matters pertaining to the QCPR and Operational Activities for Development. As the most universal intergovernmental mechanism for the formulation and appraisal of policy matters, the General Assembly is the main platform for developing key system-wide strategic policy orientations and operational modalities for the UN Development System. Therefore, any attempts to enhance the role of the ECOSOC as an accountability platform should not undermine this role of the General Assembly as the main body responsible for strategic guidance and oversight of the UNDS. It is in this light that the G77 & China is not in favour of the recommendation contained in paragraph 188 of the report on the implementation of the QCPR for the GA to only adopt resolutions on the UNDS when it conducts the QCPR and for ECOSOC to adopt resolutions in the years when there is no QCPR.
3. Second, while we appreciate the effort of the SG to be transparent in all aspects of the repositioning of the UNDS, we note that many of the issues contained in the report on the implementation of the QCPR were either not addressed in resolution 71/243, such as the repositioning of UN DESA, or go beyond the scope of what was agreed in the QCPR as well other relevant processes and resolutions of the Second Committee, such as Partnerships for the 2030 Agenda. We stress that all such efforts need to be considered and approved by Member States within their mandated processes.
4. We also stress the importance of preserving the cooperation of the UNDS with each of the Programme Countries, taking into account the particular needs and the special challenges facing the most vulnerable countries and, in particular, African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States; the need for special attention to countries in conflict and post-conflict situations and countries and peoples under foreign occupation, as well as the specific challenges facing the middle-income countries, in line with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the 2030 Agenda and in accordance with paragraph 10 of resolution 71/243, which are not entirely reflected in paragraph 48 of the report.
5. Third, on operationalizing new authorities and accountabilities of RCs and UNCTs, it is essential that reform efforts be accompanied by a change in the culture within the system that would allow for the effective control by RCs over UNCTs on the ground in accordance with the dual accountability system. In this regard, we request that the Management and Accountability Framework, referenced in paragraph 45 of the report, be made available to Member States. We also stress the important role of national Governments in the effective operationalization of accountability lines across all actors of the UNDS, particularly as it relates to reporting on the implementation of the respective UNDAFs. In general, the G77 & China would like to stress the importance of ensuring effective, timely and regularly reporting mechanisms from RCs on the implementation of UNDAFs and the activities of UNCTs to host governments as agreed in resolution 72/279.
6. The G77 & China would also like to emphasize that in advancing the work on common business operations, more effort should be placed on mandates and on empowering the new RCs. The repositioning should streamline and tighten reporting lines and procedures. We also seek more clarity on the future recruitment process for RCs, and whether there would be a new pool of RC recruitments that would take into account geographical balance and more nominations from the Global South. The G77 & China also expresses its concern that RCs have yet to be appointed in some programme countries, and urge that they be appointed as soon as possible to minimize disruption to vital development activities.
7. The G77 & China would appreciate to receive more information on the work of the UNDAF Design Team and the new UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks or Cooperation Framework. Member States agreed to promote a "revitalized, strategic, flexible and results- and action-oriented UNDAF," and in this regard we believe that a set of guidelines could contribute to this objective, while promoting their voluntary nature and their implementation in accordance with each country's specific circumstances and priorities. We highlight that, as OP1 of resolution 72/279 affirms, the UNDAF should be prepared and finalized in full consultation and agreement with national Governments, and in this regard, we would also like to know the timeline and approach of such consultation on the New Cooperation Framework to be taken with national Governments.
8. With regard to the configuration of the UNCTs, Figure 1 and subsequent paragraphs speak about the role in its designation process by part of the new Cooperation Frameworks. We would appreciate receiving further clarifications on this process going forward, and the role of the respective Executive Boards or governing bodies of each agency in this decision.
9. The G77 & China also seeks more information on how the "critical areas" identified in paragraphs 61-66 were selected. We note that in OP21 of resolution 71/243, Member States called upon the UN entities "to improve their support to the building, development and strengthening of national capacities", including by, but not restricted to, carrying out a number of functions that are not the ones highlighted in paras 61-66. We express particular concern regarding the elements contained in paragraph 62, namely the deployment of human rights advisors to UNCTs in partnership with the UNHCHR. We would like to inquire on the basis and mandate, and also what exact mechanisms will the UNCTs employ to integrate the "leaving no one behind" principle into its work. We stress that the composition of UNCTs will be determined in full consultation with Member States, as mandated by resolution 72/279.
10. With regard to common premises and common back offices delineated in paras 71 and 72 of the report, we stress that OP6 of resolution 72/279, and OP50d of resolution 71/243 clearly affirm that such measures be undertaken "where appropriate." Accordingly, such measures should not be seen as an end in themselves, with focus on allowing assessment of their applicability and success prior to greater application, and greater emphasis should be placed on improving the delivery of services in support of the implementation of the SDGs.
11. Fourth, on the review of the regional-level approaches, the G77 & China is pleased to see that the report recognises the strength and value of the regional architecture's core mandates and the recommendations to strengthen them, including as platforms for intergovernmental consultations and to provide research and analysis for countries in the region. However, the G77 & China looks forward to receiving a more detailed update on the repositioning of regional assets, which would primarily elaborate options that are specific to, and tailored for, each region and takes into account the existing gaps and progress of the reforms at national and global level. In this regard, it is also important to have a clear road map for the way forward, which would clearly identify the resources needed.
12. The G77 and China would appreciate if the DSG could inform on the possibility of sharing the findings from all the reviews from which these recommendations were derived, including the visit of the DSG and the teams to all the regions, the reviews by the Internal Review Team, and the consultations with think tanks. We look forward to these updates at the OAS. We also believe some of the proposals in relation to the RECs, deserve further consideration, especially in relation to their impact on the effective fulfilment of the current mandate of the Commissions and their strong and close collaboration with Member States.
13. The G77 and China notes the proposal to establish "UN Regional Collaborative Platform" (RCP) in the regions (paras. 110-112). While we note the establishment of such unified RCPs, aims at optimizing the policy and operational assets and expertise in the regions, and bring more coherence to the regional work of the UNDS, in particular that of the Regional Commissions, the Group would appreciate if the DSG could assure that the proposed assignment of DCO as the secretariat serving the new unified RCPs will not undermine the desired objectives sought from such new platforms as well as the effectiveness and efficiency of its functions.
14. The G77 and China notes that para 13 of the ECOSOC resolution 1998/46 (annex III) quoted partially by the SG in his report recognizes and mandates upfront the leadership role of the RECs in the coordination efforts at the regional level. It is therefore important to recognize in any regional arrangement, the policy leadership and coordination role of the RECs versus the role of DCO, which is oriented towards oversight, management and operational country support. The G77 & China therefore believes that the RECs should be assigned as the secretariat to serve the proposed unified RCPs, in line with ECOSOC resolution 1998/46.
15. We also received with interest the proposal contained in para 101e on the formulation of "a protocol for country engagement by RECs and other Secretariat or non-resident agencies". We would appreciate more information on this protocol. At this point in time, we wish to note that any arrangement that is undertaken should not compromise "the prerogative of the Governments to communicate directly with the entities".
16. Fifth, on the Multi-Country Office Review, the Alliance of Small Island States will elaborate in their statement on the specific comments and questions with regards to the options presented. That said, the G77 & China regards the solution presented in paragraph 93(g) as positive as the new Multi-Country Office will benefit the five countries of the North Pacific through better delivery of projects on the ground.
17. Sixth, any efforts to strengthen the interlinkages between sustainable development, humanitarian action and peace-building should be undertaken in accordance with OP24 of the QCPR. In this regard, we would like to seek more clarity on the role of the Joint Steering Committee to advance humanitarian action and development collaboration (JSC) and how country needs and priorities are factored in.
18. Finally, on the system wide strategic document, it is imperative that we avoid the mistakes of the past when formulating this document. This means the resubmission of the strategic document must be done in full alignment with the original mandate of the QCPR and avoid framing it as a "living document" that serves as an accountability instrument. As stated in the outline, it should not introduce any new elements not mandated by the QCPR. We therefore look forward to the opportunity to provide feedback on the annotated outline of the system-wide strategic document, which will guide our work in the lead-up to the next QCPR review in 2020.
Madame Deputy Secretary General,
19. To conclude, the G77 & China would like to reaffirm its continued support for the Secretary-General's efforts to deliver a more effective and fit-for-purpose UNDS that would ultimately better help developing countries implement the 2030 Agenda. In this regard, it is crucial that we give due consideration to each of the proposals presented by the Secretary-General. The G77 & China is committed to work with the UN Development System to ensure that every aspect and detail best serves the interests and needs of developing countries.
20. The G77 & China would also like to welcome the conclusion of the Funding Compact. We have engaged constructively in the Funding Dialogues and appreciate the full consultation with Member States at each step of the process. We believe that the final version of the Funding Compact is a balanced document that reflects the collective ambition of Member States and the UN. It is our understanding that all commitments in the Funding Compact will be considered as fully met when all indicators contained therein are achieved. We look forward to its formal endorsement at the OAS.