STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY HIS EXCELLENCY AMBASSADOR BOUBACAR DIALLO, G-77 COORDINATOR OF THE PERMANENT MISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF GUINEA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE BRIEFING BY THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY-GENERAL ON THE REPOSITIONING OF THE UN DEVELOPMENT SYSTEM (New York, 7 May 2021)
Mr ASG Piper,
1. I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. At the outset, the Group would like to thank you, Mr. Piper, for your briefing today and to extend our appreciation to your esteemed self and your team at the Development Coordination Office (DCO) for your report and also for your hard work during this very unprecedented year. We would also like to extend thanks through you to the Secretary-General and his team for the Report entitled Repositioning of the United Nations development system to deliver on the 2030 Agenda in the context of the quadrennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system, as mandated in the QCPR resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 21 December 2020. We remain also thankful for your engagement as well as the Deputy Secretary-General's as you continue to keep us updated and informed throughout the process.
Mr ASG Piper,
3. The Group is of the view that the Quadrennial comprehensive policy review is the main instrument to provide guidance to the United Nations development system on its operational activities for development in order to support countries in their efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in a coherent and integrated manner and ensure effective delivery of support and services to programme countries in line with the mandates of the entities of the United Nations development system, and in accordance with national development policies, plans, priorities and needs, and that efforts are strengthened and accelerated in this decade of action and delivery for sustainable development, building upon a United Nations development system that is more strategic, accountable, transparent, coherent, collaborative, efficient, effective and results-oriented.
4. The Group of 77 and China would like to express at this stage, our appreciation for the quality of the DCO Report to the ECOSOC OAS, which we consider a good basis for discussion in our continuing efforts to reposition the UNDS. We note that the report contains information on how the UN development system and its entities worked closely together, in an effort to respond quickly, effectively and efficiently to have a coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This not only sets a good precedent for the work of the UN development system, but underscores the need for us to have a well-functioning, prepared and funded system.
5. COVID-19 pandemic has unarguably set us further back in our implementation of the 2030 Agenda, a journey that was already a hard climb but we have to remain steadfast in achieving our goal and having a UN development system that is fit for purpose would facilitate us in getting there. The Group therefore looks forward to our continued discussions on how best to continue enhancing the system.
6. The Group stresses that the repositioned UN development system must make the Resident Coordinators respond to the leadership and ownership of the host governments and ensure their independence, accountability and impartiality, while leading the UN country teams on the ground to respond to the countries priorities and needs as laid out in the Cooperation Frameworks. We continue to impress upon proper and frequent reporting by RCs to host governments on the activities of the UN system on the ground as they relate to the Cooperation Frameworks
7. The Group noted that the UNDS has stepped up its role in supporting country's efforts to mobilize sufficient means of implementation in their response to the challenges encountered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And we hope that the system will continue to enhance this support for the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs as a whole,which should include financial support and capacity building to achieve economic goals, such as sustained and inclusive economic growth, industrial development and infrastructure construction, as key elements of structural transformation for economic diversification and poverty eradication.
8. We note that there is a need to strengthen the leadership, accountability and impartiality of the RCs over the UNCTs for the implementation of the remaining UNDAFs and the new UNSDCFs. We also share the opinion that the planning and coordination functions of the RC should be enhanced by empowering them within the United Nations country team to make final decisions on the strategic objectives, in consultation with national Governments, as well as to substantially increase common resource mobilization and distribution at the country level. In this regard, The RCs' role should be facilitative and must ensure that it is in line with national priorities. In this vein, the Group emphasizes that RCs must implement the UNSDCF, under national leadership and ownership and with a developmental and non-politicized perspective. While we recognize that some of these elements could be better addressed through the RC System review process, we believe we would all benefit from seeking clarification of the following queries:
- How could we strengthen the coordination between the RC and the heads of entities of UNCT to enhance integration, as they have different mandate and reporting lines?
- What measures have been taken to ensure the RC is accountable to the programme country? How to ensure real accountability between the RC and the UNCT?
- How to calculate the cost saved by the practice of using Business Operations Strategies, Common Back Office and common premises? What's the current results of this practice?
- According to the report, as of January 2021, most RCOs had recruited their five core positions. Has the arrangement of 1+5for RC Office realize its expected goal? How could the economist be guided by the UNDESA?
- What measure could be taken to provide sufficient and predictable funding for the RC system to ensure its sustainability while not adding additional financial burden for the programme country?
9. The Group notes the advancements made in the revamping of the Regional Level and is pleased to see a more region-by-region approach. We continue to look forward to improving the regional level in a very transparent way, while embracing their uniqueness and their strengthens. In this regard, we reiterate that special efforts must be made to preserve the regional architecture that functions well, including, where applicable, regional commissions, as they serve as important hubs in the advancement of national and regional priorities. We wish to have further clarity on the DCO regional director and staff role, especially as it relates to the RC and its reporting and coordination role.
Mr ASG Piper,
10. The Group also notes and greatly appreciates the efforts to report more in depth about the groups of countries in special situations. We think this enriches our ability to examine and evaluate more closely the efforts of the UNDS in responding to their specific challenges and priorities. In this regard, we are pleased to learn of the work already done in the implementation of the mandates for enhancing the Multi-Country Offices, including those located in middle-income countries. We continue to stress the importance of the system and its entities to give special attention to the countries in special situations and those with special challenges, as this is crucial if we are to leave no one behind.
11. The Group highlights the importance for the partnership arrangement to focus on the critical role of multi-stakeholder partnerships in achieving the SDGs following the outbreak of the COVID-19 global pandemic, from a whole-of-a-society approach. Also, we should examine how partnerships can help finance the SDGs and support recovery from COVID-19, including by investments in sustainable infrastructure; and how they can harness science, technology and innovation in support of sustainable development.
12. Finally, the Group notes that the system continues to face with funding and also, we noted the problems encountered in shifting non-core resources during the pandemic. We therefore continue to impress upon the need to have a UN development system that is adequately and sufficiently funded with quality and predictable funds, particularly core funding. We appeal to donor countries to properly fund the system and to avoid the culture of tightly earmarking funds to the system and its entities, but instead consider contributing directly to core funding or at least consider pooled or thematic funding. We continue to appeal to all sides to fulfil their commitments as agreed under the Funding Compact, while noting its voluntary nature.
13. The G77 and China thanks you, Mr. Piper, and through you we also thank the Secretary General, the Deputy Secretary-General and the team for the progress made in the repositioning of the UN development system. Please be assured of our continued constructive participation in the consultation process regarding the ECOSOC OAS and the review process of the reinvigorated Resident Coordinator System, respectively.