ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL ADOPTS RESOLUTION ON POLICY REVIEW AND CLOSES OPERATIONAL ACTIVITES SEGMENT
Holds special dialogue on the concept of critical mass of core resources and a general discussion on south-south cooperation
18 July 2011
This afternoon the Economic and Social Council adopted resolution E/2011/L.35 on progress in the implementation of General Assembly resolution 62/208 on the triennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system. The Council invited the United Nations system and the relevant international financial institutions to explore further ways to enhance cooperation, collaboration and coordination. The Council requested the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly, through the Economic and Social Council, a comprehensive report on the analysis of the implementation of General Assembly resolution 62/208 and a report on the analysis of funding for operational activities for development, as well as to submit directly to the General Assembly a report with recommendations for the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review.
This morning, the Economic and Social Council held a special dialogue on “How to define the concept of ‘critical mass’ of core resources?”
Gonzalo Gutierrez Reinel, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, said a key focus in the debate on the funding of operational activities for development over the past several years had been the need to significantly improve the balance between core and non-core funding. The General Assembly had repeatedly underscored that core resources, because of their untied nature, continued to be the bedrock of operational activities. At this point, the concept of critical mass was still not well understood.
Douglas Lindores, International Expert on development cooperation and former Senior Vice-President, Canadian International Development Agency, said growth in official development assistance had taken place almost entirely in non-core resources. The definition of the critical mass of core funding was yet undefined, as were the implications for long-term health and sustainability of UN funds, programmes and specialized agencies. Examining measures that could reverse the current trend and alleviate its negative implications was required.
Sigrid Kaag, Assistant Secretary-General and Assistant Administrator, Partnerships
Bureau, United Nations Development Programme, said that the proportion of core to non-core funding had dropped considerably. In June 2011, each dollar of core funding now rivalled four dollars in non-core funding for the United Nations Development Programme. In order to execute effective development programmes, a predictable funding base was needed. The United Nations Development Programme was looking to broaden its donor base, as the level of resources required could not be reached through core funding alone.
Afshan Khan, Director, Public Sector Alliances and Resource Mobilization Office, United Nations Children’s Fund, said in the case of the United Nations Children’s Fund the critical mass was measured in terms of results. Providing assistance to the most marginalized children, those with disabilities, and those affected by conflict and calamities were the main results. There was an imbalance between core and restrictive funding, which had important programmatic implications. Currently, some emergencies and emerging programmes were seriously underfunded. The United Nations Children’s Fund was encouraged by the growing opportunities to engage in public-private partnerships and the increasing amount of south-south cooperation.
Christain Paneels, Head of Division, Multilateral and European Union Programmes, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Belgium, said Belgium had decided to apply a full-core policy, which had some limitations that were common to donor countries. While Belgium had gone as far as possible, it was not possible to shift to 100 per cent core funding. Furthermore, when the government decided to apply the full-core policy, non-core funding programmes were reduced. The debate on core and non-core funding had to be framed by the budget structure of particular countries, which reflected the policy choices of governments and parliaments.
Jorge Eduardo Chen Charpentier, World Food Programme, said the budget of the World Food Programme was made up of voluntary contributions and, in this context the availability of core funding could provide financial security for the organization. Many emergencies became long-term issues. It was important to seek new and more flexible planning methods with the support of donor states. Budgets had to be managed flexibly in order to better address the most essential functions of the World Food Programme.
Speakers in the interactive discussion on the concept of critical mass said many countries had cut budgets because of the financial crisis and there was increasing competition for resources. United Nations funds and programmes could not function without reliable, adequate and predictable resources. Many United Nations agencies had taken steps to improve systems and accountability frameworks and better demonstrate value for money. The issue of critical mass had to be addressed by each executive board in order to arrive at approaches that were attuned to each organization’s individual mandate. The issue of core versus non-core funding was complex not only for the United Nations, but also for donors. It was difficult to increase core funding without reducing non-core funding, and yet agencies often urged donors to increase earmarked funds. Donors had options and funding decisions were made based on perceptions of value for money. Transparency, monitoring and evaluation to generate confidence among donors were needed.
In the interactive discussion on the concept of critical mass, Peru, the United States, the International Labour Organization, Canada, Spain, the Food and Agriculture Organization, Japan, Mexico, Switzerland, Norway, Germany and Sweden took the floor.
Subsequently, the Council held a general discussion on south-south cooperation for development. Speakers in the general discussion said funding should be fully aligned with strategic pans and mandates of the relevant United Nations entities and the priorities of beneficiary countries. In the United Nations development system, business-as-usual was no longer an option. Delivering-as-one was the way forward to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the United Nations agencies and ensuring United Nations entities played their part in a coordinated manner. Increased predictability, long-term stability and appropriate funding for operational activities were required. Non-earmarked funds and other sources of funds allowed the United Nations to meet its objectives. The inclusive and transparent monitoring of indicators would ensure rapid reactions and the broadest donor base of funding for the United Nations system possible. Efforts to support south-south and triangular cooperation were important instruments to boost international cooperation and support for least developed countries. It was necessary to move beyond the traditional north-south divide and embrace the new realities of an evolving global partnership for development, which included important new state and non-state participants. Speakers placed great hope in UN Women for improving gender equality and promoting women’s interests at the country level.
In the general discussion on south-south cooperation for development, Argentina, Poland, Nepal, Australia, the Russian Federation, Belgium, Switzerland, Mexico, Norway, Belarus, the United States, India, Cuba, Colombia, Ukraine, Namibia, Pakistan, Brazil, China, Peru and the Food and Agriculture Organization took the floor.
The Economic and Social Council will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 19 July when it will discuss transition from relief to development and hold a panel discussion on “The role of the United Nations and the international community in supporting the capacity of the Government of South Sudan to manage the transition.” In the afternoon, the Council will open its humanitarian affairs segment with a statement by the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
Special dialogue on “How to define the concept of ‘critical mass’ of core resources?”
GONZALO GUTIERREZ REINEL, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, said another challenging and important topic was on the agenda this morning: how to define the concept of critical mass of core resources? A key focus in the debate on the funding of operational activities for development over the past several years had been the need to significantly improve the balance between core and non-core funding. While non-core resources to the United Nations development system had risen sharply, the quantity of core resources had remained more or less constant during the past 15 years. Non-core resources were an important supplement to the resource base of the United Nations. In that sense, the General Assembly had repeatedly underscored that core resources, because of their untied nature, continued to be the bedrock of operational activities. Two other issues which had also surfaced frequently during discussion on funding of the United Nations system were the predictability of resources and the extent to which United Nations agencies relied on just a few donors. The concept of critical mass of core resources arose from these concerns and had gained momentum. It was a key topic of discussions last year during the General Assembly consultations on improving United Nations system-wide coherence. At this point, the concept of critical mass was still not well understood. This pointed to the urgency of the day’s dialogue. It was important to keep in mind the main objective in this context: to improve the quantity and quality of funding for programme countries so that funding best supported national development objectives.
DOUGLAS LINDORES, International Expert on development cooperation, former Senior Vice-President, Canadian International Development Agency, moderator of the special dialogue, said while the terms used were different in various organizations, core versus non-core funding remained relevant for all agencies. In the 1970s, core versus non-core was never an issue. The multilateral development system was based on the concept of shared resources and operations implemented according to strategic priorities of specific organizations. Much had changed since then. Currently, the United Nations Development Programme received 20 per cent in core funding and the United Nations Children’s Fund received one-third of its resources in the form of core funds. The United Nations system, development and humanitarian, attracted a growing share of official development assistance disbursements. This was good news because it showed that donors continued to have faith in United Nations agencies. However, the growth in official development assistance had been almost entirely in non-core resources. The definition of the critical mass of core funding was yet undefined, as were the implications for long-term health and sustainability of United Nations funds, programmes and specialized agencies. For the basic structures of these institutions, fixed indirect costs were met with core funding. It was necessary to examine measures that could be considered for reversing the current trend and alleviate its negative implications.
Statements by Panellists
SIGRID KAAG, Assistant Secretary-General and Assistant Administrator, Partnerships Bureau, United Nations Development Programme, said performing effectively and predictably was a key priority of the United Nations Development Programme. The level and composition of contributions to the programme amounted to $ 5 billion in 2010. In 1990, the United Nations Development Programme received core funding versus non-core funding at a ratio of five to one. In June 2011, the ratio of core to non-core funds had reversed to a one to four ratio. This was indicative of emerging trends but also a new status quo. This meant development partnerships were evolving and reflected changing priorities. There was no indication of the most desirable ratio. However, in order to execute effective development programmes, the United Nations Development Programme needed a predictable funding base. In the context of radically changing development architecture, it was necessary to take a fresh look at the issue. In the current funding environment, 50 to 60 of overall Member States made contributions. This continued support reflected the ability of the organization to meet operational expectations. This funding base boiled down to a core of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. The top 10 donors contributed 80 per cent of the United Nations Development Programme’s core resources. However, this had declined from 10 per cent in the 1980s to 2 per cent of overall official development assistance currently.
This was important to overall development dynamics. Partnerships remained important to the predictability and financial viability of operations. The United Nations Development Programme was looking to broaden its donor base. A number of new partnerships were promising, but it took time to build trust and strengthen relationships. There were divergent perspectives on what contributions to multilateral development aid should be and what results should be produced. The United Nations Development Programme could not expect radical changes overnight. It was understood that donor funding was under pressure in a number of donor countries. Thinking in terms of entitlements, institutional support was not a way to move forward. The level of resources needed could not be reached through core funding alone. Resources that were allocated to limited purposes were a part of the reality and were necessary. For example, regarding activities in the Middle East and North Africa, middle income countries, the United Nations Development Programme and other organizations operated on a non-core structure. If programmes had to deliver based solely on core funds, they would not have been able to deliver on the needs for peace building and other humanitarian services. But, the question of how core funding ensured the success of operational activities funded by non-core sources remained relevant. More information was needed about how critical mass was tied to operational success at the country and global levels.
AFSHAN KHAN, Director, Public Sector Alliance and Resource Mobilization Office, United Nations Children’s Fund, said that defining a critical mass of necessary core resources depended on the definition of the task and objectives to be achieved. In the case of the United Nations Children’s Fund the critical mass of results was providing assistance to most marginalized children, those with disabilities, and those affected by conflict and calamities. An equity focused approach was right in principle and in practice. In order to ensure an integrated approach and the fulfillment of the rights of children, quality funding was necessary. There was an imbalance between core and restrictive funding and this had important programmatic implications. It also meant that the proportion regulated by the board was decreasing. Sufficient resources were necessary to fulfill the mandate and the way in which plans were financed impacted on the effectiveness of an organization. Core resources were the basis on which the organization had the ability to deliver its mandate and priorities. Thematic financing was another innovative way to look at financing at a moment when the architecture had shifted and funding modalities needed to be complementary and balanced to achieve results. Where funding came from was also important and a broad donor base was a way of ensuring impartial and neutral assistance as well as the capacity to address the needs of children everywhere.
Currently, some emergencies and emerging programmes were seriously underfunded. While a fixed optimal percentage or ratio between core and other funding could not be set across funds and programmes, each agency could determine the right complementarily. Many of the larger funds and programmes had synchronized strategic plans and new plans would be presented in 2013. Agencies would benefit from sharing practices and methodologies, particularly in the context of reporting. Thematic funding had low recovery costs and was soft-earmarked and there were incentives to look at how financing was best structured. The United Nations system should report better on what each agency had achieved with core funding. In the case of the United Nations Children’s Fund it was sometimes overlooked that over 90 per cent of the contributions went direct into the provision of assistance. Although a report was published annually, the transformative role played by core funding and the positive impact of sufficient core funding in enabling the impact of other contributions should be better communicated. Progress was being made to establish a core set of reporting principles and harmonized projects among funds and programmes including a system to trace the funding sources of expenditures. Contributions towards core resources were a reaffirmation of the principles and objectives of the United Nations. The United Nations Children’s Fund was encouraged by the growing opportunities to engage in public private partnerships and the increasing amount of south-south cooperation. The fulfillment of mandates was dependent on the availability of appropriate resources; therefore dialogues like this provided a significant opportunity to discuss alternatives with Member States and support concerning how this could be best achieved. Funds and agencies should take back some ideas to their governing bodies and discuss how they could be applied within their specific contexts.
CHRISTIAN PANEELS, Head of Division, Multilateral and European Union Programmes, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Belgium, said recent reports by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee provided deep and rich analysis of the issue of core versus non-core funding. Belgium had decided to apply a full-core policy, which had some limitations, which were common to donor countries. Belgium had established four operative directives: bilateral cooperation, support for non-governmental organizations, multilateral programmes and special programmes. This structure applied to Belgium’s budget allocations as well. When the Government decided to apply the full-core policy, it was undertaken through the multilateral directive and consequently, non-core funding programmes were reduced. About 95 per cent of funding was now core. The limitations of the full-core policy were that it could only be applied in the multilateral programmes of Belgium’s operative directives.
The reality was that non-core funding was increasing in importance. There were three driving forces for the non-core funding growth. States earmarked funds for visibility. Funding United Nations programmes allowed for activities that bilateral funding could not achieve, such as acting in fragile States and post-conflict situations. The Belgium Government allocated 450 million euro to the multilateral budget and 60 million euro for the fund for food security, which was not part of the multilateral budget and thus could not be allocated to core funding. 350 million euro had been allocated to bilateral funding, which multilateral agencies could use, but could not be used for core funding. All humanitarian interventions were regrouped, which could be used for humanitarian agencies’ core funding, but not for the core funding of hybrid or non-humanitarian programmes and funds. The debate on core and non-core funding had to be framed by the budget structure of particular countries, which reflected policy choices of governments and parliaments. When looking at multilateral funding, it made sense to debate core versus non-core funding. However, when considering bilateral priorities, it did not make sense to consider the issue. When it came to thematic or sectoral budget allocations, it was likely that these would not be used for core funding, but it made sense for the multilateral organizations to compete for this funding. Budgeting and political configurations set the parameters for operations. There was a case for a better balance for core versus non-core funding. While Belgium had gone as far as possible, it was not possible to shift to 100 per cent core funding. The figures on burden sharing were also shocking. Over the last few years, Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development countries were contributing 97 to 98 per cent of core funding.
JORGE EDUARDO CHEN CHARPENTIER, World Food Programme, said that efforts were made in the past to improve and defend the interest of Latin America in these meetings. It was important to continue to discuss what a critical mass of core resources would be necessary for United Nations agencies and the United Nations in general, and this had to do with the particular financial situation and contributions of each institution. The budget of the World Food Programme was made up of voluntary contributions and in this context the availability of core funding could provide financial security for the organization. Concerning emergency needs, it was much harder to define them than often perceived. For example concerning the first Millennium Development Goal, the World Food Programme should reach out to over half billion people in order to fulfill it. This was a difficult task and would not be successfully achieved on the basis of voluntary contributions. Furthermore, it was very difficult to forecast what emergencies would arise, as varied as hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes; and because of this uncertainty, much of the work was unpredictable and indefinable beforehand. Many emergencies such as peace building efforts, failing or disappearing governments, became long-term issues and structural problems. Some of the World Food Programme’s initiatives were 23 years old and they were not about to finish neither in the short nor medium term.
It was important to seek new and more flexible planning methods with the support of donor States and this flexible planning must go hand in hand with the usual three-year long financial plans, which covered precise aid levels that would be distributed over a three year period. Budgets needed to be managed more flexibly in order to better address the most essential function of the World Food Programme, for namely, buying food. While the purchase of food for emergencies must be forecasted years in advance, the fund had no permission or capacity to do so given that many donor countries considered this speculation. This was not speculation but the only way to ensure that the needs of many would be met when necessary. Despite the fact that efforts had been made in a number of different contexts, it was increasingly difficult to define where development finished and emergencies started. This was a gray area in which imperceptibly you moved from emergency to the first stage of development. How big was this gray area, it was debated within the World Food Programme. Most countries believed that this definition could not be achieved generically and broadly to cover all cases but rather, that it had to be defined on a case by case and State by State basis. For the World Food Programme, the quality of contributions was not entirely relevant as it was for other institutions. Since its work was needs based, voluntary contributions for its funding could not define the quality of contributions as other agencies did. Perhaps the World Food Programme should establish a core funding system for addressing the known needs that could be forecasted and voluntary contributions could be dedicated to ad hoc emergencies rather than the predictable ones. The current discussion on voluntary contributions and core funding should help each institution develop different criteria for each institution to use.
DOUGLAS LINDORES, International Expert on development cooperation, former Senior Vice-President, Canadian International Development Agency, said it was clear that funding needs were more than the available resources, but it was important to focus on core versus non-core funding issues. Mr. Lindores asked if there was now a new status quo. Was there a need to consider further shifting the allocation of resources? Most of the money flowing into non-core funding was not money that could be easily shifted to core funding. Non-core resources were important to linkages and support as well. Mr. Lindores asked what could be done to alleviate the impacts of a reduced non-core funding.
In the interactive discussion, speakers said many countries had cut budgets because of the financial crisis and there was increasing competition for resources. United Nations funds and programmes could not function without reliable, adequate and predictable resources. There were major gaps in meeting administrative costs. Specialized agencies worked on agreements and programmes that took, on average, six to ten years. The duration of funding commitments was an issue, because multi-year funding barely met the requirements of medium-term plans. Many United Nations agencies had taken steps to improve systems and accountability frameworks and better demonstrate value for money. Organizations had dutifully pursued south-south cooperation, and pioneered financing modalities with public and private sector partners. There were enormous differences in business models and methods of work among United Nations agencies. The issue of critical mass had to be addressed by each executive board in order to arrive at approaches that were attuned to each organization’s individual mandate.
The issue of core versus non-core funding was complex not only for the United Nations, but also for donors. It was difficult to explain to parliaments and voters that countries were funding basic supplies, like pencils, erasers and computers, when there were many exciting programmes to fund. The core, however, were the bedrock for operational activities for development. Calculating the contribution of core funding to results could be beneficial for political objectives. The issue of critical mass, i.e. the key amount available for each programme, was inextricably linked to results. Donors had options and funding decisions were made based on perceptions of value for money. Transparency, monitoring and evaluation to generate confidence among donors were needed. Clarifying linkages between objectives and results would provide a better sense of value for money. The coordination among United Nations bodies should not be an issue of funding. The culture of work needed to change. It was difficult to explain why funding was required to coordinate among United Nations agencies and deliver as one. There was an issue of coherence between partners and agencies, and it was not clear that funding was maximized. A review of bilateral aid agencies’ funding decisions would be useful.
Regarding the issue of a new status quo on core versus non-core funding, it was beyond the time of advocating a shift. Because of the structure of development assistance, there was no easy solution. Visibility was ensured by funding the core, without which there would be no structure in the first place. This was a free-rider dilemma. Speakers asked if resolution 64/289 affected the design and implementation of programmes and the use of core, versus non-core funding. It was difficult to increase core funding without reducing non-core-funding, and yet agencies often urged donors to increase earmarked funds. Contributions to funds and programmes were increasingly earmarked for certain programmes and countries, according to considerations for politics and security. Speakers asked how earmarking impacted programmes in middle income countries. Speakers inquired if panelists could elaborate on the model of thematic trust funds, and whether it was a way out of the issue of core versus non-core funding.
Critical thought had to go into how donors divided up their funding. It was clear that the existing situation of core burden-sharing and the reliance on traditional donors was no longer sustainable. Member States needed to accept that a new reality had emerged and accept a broadening of the donor base. It was clear that solidarity between developed and developing countries did not mean that donors could relinquish responsibility. New sources of aid should complement existing funding streams. Speakers asked whether the increase in non-core funding could be an indicator of the will of Member States. Much needed to be done to support the core among traditional and emerging donors.
Taking the floor in the discussion were Peru, United States, International Labour Organization, Canada, Spain, Food and Agriculture Organization, Japan, Mexico, Switzerland, Norway, Germany and Sweden.
SIGRID KAAG, Assistant Secretary-General and Assistant Administrator, Partnerships Bureau, United Nations Development Programme, reiterated that what she saw as the status quo was simply the current state of affairs and not an optimal outcome that she endorsed. The notion of burden sharing was critical to the legitimacy of the system and there were several countries which had made significant contributions. Concerning new partnerships this was still a state of defining and redefining the relationship with the private sector. While, many actors might not be willing to operate as part of the United Nations system, it was important to recognize that the value of these new partnerships went beyond their financial contribution. Ms. Kaag complimented Spain for the establishment of the Millennium Development Goals fund and said that thematic funding was complementary to core funding. It was important to further clarify what the priorities were and to send clear messages concerning these priorities. Concerning results and reporting, the United Nations Development Programme and other agencies, results needed to be measureable and visible. Clarifying and communicating what these results were was an important part to continue to advocate for donor support of the work of the broader organizational goals. Donors sometimes attempted to unpack and selectively support some of the areas of the strategic plan in which results were achieved. This, however, could compromise organizational coherence and performance. Amidst the need of further coordination of developmental actors there was a risk that the architecture would become further fragmented and bilateral, lacking coherence and the capacity to optimize the resources flowing from the multilateral system.
AFSHAN KHAN, Director, Public Sector Alliances and Resource Mobilization Office, United Nations Children’s Fund, underlined the importance of clarifying the contribution of core resources to achieving results, for example through the annual reporting on the use of resources. The United Nations Children’s Fund had established a clear criterion for the disbursement of assistance prioritizing children in poorest areas as measured by formula including mortality, income per capita and population. This served as a building base for the allocation of core resources and ensured an allocation of a minimum, convening programmatic role on which many of the earmarked programmes were then built on. Concerning the question around thematic resources and core resources, Ms. Khan said that thematic funding accounted for only 10 per cent of the United Nations Children’s Fund resources and helped the organization balance between selective voluntary contributions on the one hand with the need of coherently addressing children’s needs. Core resources would contribute to increasing the capacity for integrated approaches; otherwise, long term improvements, in particular those of a transformational nature, such as child protection or institutional development, would not be funded. For this reason, additional thematic founding could provide for higher levels of development and long term work. Different timeframes were related to different funding modalities. Concerning the importance of predictability and the differences between core and voluntary funding, it should be noted that many of the results took longer periods of time and therefore financing mechanisms should be cognizant of temporal dimensions. In the context of a shifting development architecture, it was critical that the complementarity of funding mechanisms was well understood. The broadening of the donor base was extremely important for the fulfillment of the principles of the United Nations and the provision of neutral and impartial assistance for those in need.
SIGRID KAAG, Assistant Secretary-General and Assistant Administrator, Partnerships Bureau, United Nations Development Programme, indicated that the United Nations Development Programme welcomed loosely earmarked funding and, while looking carefully at it, said that thematic funding was not the answer and currently comprised only about 10 per cent of received contributions. Since earmarked funding in many cases addressed similar capacities, the balance between core and non-core funding should be revisited. Concerning the remarks made by the Mexican delegation on middle-income countries, Ms. Kaag indicated that the United Nations Development Programme was signing a new agreement with Mexico reflecting new programming collaboration but that establishing a universal presence was also important. In the context of post Millennium Development Goals framework, there remained a lot of work to be done by the United Nations system selectively. On the basis of a results-based reporting framework, it would be possible to build the case for a core funding approach and to enhance results based programming across funds and programmes. Measuring could not substitute results, but not all that could be measured was relevant.
AFSHAN KHAN, Director, Public Sector Alliances and Resource Mobilization Office, United Nations Children’s Fund, underlined the need to look strategically at medium-term plans covered with core funding and reiterated the importance of the notions of proportionality and complementarity. Executive boards should discuss these issues in order to come up with possible ways of moving forward. The flexible use of restricted resources, including the emphasis on priorities and thematic windows, was important. Thematic funds represented a vote of confidence to the organization’s goals and allowed the organization to coherently prioritize children’s needs. Concerning the comments made by Mexico, Ms. Khan reiterated the importance of maintaining a presence. Maintaining a significant level of country presence was necessary in order to contribute to the development of policy and in order to assist disadvantaged groups; but also in order to contribute to global learning processes and to bring back learning and knowledge from different countries. In this regard, the United Nations could have a transformative presence across the world by building on previous experiences and results.
CHRISTIAN PANNEELS, Head of Division, Multilateral and European Union Programmes, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Belgium, said that more important than critical mass was the issue of predictability, a multiple-year programming mode, and continuation over the years. The discussion should move beyond the current dichotomy between core and earmarked funding since there was no real substantial ground behind it. In the future it would be necessary to look at soft earmarking or thematic funding modalities and to move towards a more nuanced analysis beyond this dichotomy. In preparation for the resolution, it would be necessary to refine the analysis and look at the nature of these different funding modalities and how decisions were made at the local level where alignment with local priorities was more necessary.
DOUGLAS LINDORES, International expert on development cooperation, former Senior Vice-President, Canadian International Development Agency, said that he had seen during the past 40 years an increasing sophistication of the aid policies of donor countries, along with the proliferation of specific programmes designed to sell politically within the country and to trace money to its ultimate use. Bilateral agency funding was strictly channelled across earmarked lines and could not be moved across them. Donors had in the past lost some faith in the capacity of funds and programmes, and the result had been much more sophisticated evaluation mechanisms. The general process was not reversible towards increased percentage of core funding. However, there were a number of measures that could be taken and hopefully this exercise would alleviate some of the negative implications of the current imbalance. Cost recovery, for example, and the question of financing for the essential capacity of multilateral agencies that must be able to respond in moments of crisis when countries looked at them for expertise, constituted significant examples. The question of a critical mass of required core resources could be seen as that of ensuring the provision of the necessary resources in order to preserve the underlying machinery for fulfilling the different mandates. Part of the new reality required new types of thinking, reflection and assessment. It was important to look at the complementarity between core and non core resources and recognize that non core resources also led to results. There was a desire to send this discussion back to the individual governing boards of funds and agencies and to engage in inter-agency discussions in order to formulate a coordinated input as part of the quadrennial comprehensive policy review. Existing definitions were vague, for example, there were many different levels of non-core funding and therefore the distinction between core and non-core might be exaggerated.
General Discussion on Operational Activities of the United Nations for International Development Cooperation
NATALIA HANDRUJOVICZ (Argentina), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said that strengthening the role and capacity of the United Nations development system to assist countries in achieving their development goals required continued improvement in its effectiveness, efficiency, coherence and impact, along with a significant increase in resources. Operational activities should be carried out for the benefit of recipient countries, according to their national policies and priorities for development. The ownership of concerned development countries should be made a priority. The quantity, quality and productivity of development assistance throughout the United Nations system constituted a central priority for developing countries. Additionally, the growing imbalance between core and non-core funding for operational activities should be addressed as a matter of urgency. The increasing shift led to fragmentation and impaired the effectiveness and efficiency of operational activities, as non-core resources were unpredictable and increased transaction costs, inefficiency, incoherence and fragmentation of the United Nations system. It was necessary to shift back to an emphasis on core funding. This would maximize the benefits of south-south and triangular cooperation, which should be explicitly incorporated into the operational programmes of all relevant bodies of the United Nations system. The Group of 77 and China reiterated its view that the advance of the United Nations development agenda rested with the full implementation of the tri-annual comprehensive policy review resolution and General Assembly Resolution 64/289, in order to respond to the needs of developing countries in achieving international development goals.
REMIGIUSZ A. HENCZEL (Poland), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said operational activities were a very visible manifestation of the value of the United Nations. The European Union welcomed the opportunity to review operational activities, which constituted an important flow of resources to developing countries. The United Nations system was the guardian of internationally agreed goals, objectives and norms for Member States and thus played an important role in the international development agenda, despite its complex and fragmented nature. A complex system caused both higher transaction costs and higher administrative burdens, which were not compatible with aid effectiveness and commitment of the European Union. Financial flows in the United Nations system had increased in recent years with corresponding calls for greater scrutiny of results and effectiveness of donor programmes. Core resources should remain the bedrock of the mandate and resources of United Nations funds and programmes, although non-core funding also provided important additional support. The European Union continued to be supportive of greater stability and predictability in the provision of financial resources. The European Union supported the need for a bigger variety of funding sources and a reduced reliance on a small donor pool. The European Union continued to support the United Nations delivering-as-one process, by providing political, financial and technical support.
DINESH BHATTARAI (Nepal), speaking on behalf of Least Developed Countries, said that the least developed countries faced enormous challenges. Poverty, hunger, illiteracy, ignorance, disease and other structural impediments had persistently constrained their efforts toward economic and social transformation. The least developed countries were not in a position to fulfil their responsibility to promote development without international support. The Istanbul Programme of Action had identified priority areas of action and outlined goals and targets to be acted upon. Full, timely and effective implementation of the programme of action was essential to address previous shortcomings and to bring a paradigm shift in their development. It was important to underline that the United Nations operational activities for development must respond to development needs of the programme countries as articulated in their development policies. Despite positive trends concerning the level of contributions for the United Nations’ development activities, noted in the report of the Secretary-General, it was a matter of concern that the imbalance between unrestricted core and highly fragmented, restricted non-core funds for operational activities for development remained high, with non-core constituting some 73 per cent of the total contribution. Non-core resources should be fully aligned with strategic pans and mandates of the relevant United Nations entities and with the priorities of the programme countries within the United Nations Development Assistance Framework. An efficient, coherent and adequately funded United Nations development system contributed to the national efforts aimed at eradicating poverty and sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth. Innovative funding mechanisms such as multi-donor trusts fund, including One United Nations Funds at the country level, and thematic funds could go a long way in enhancing coherence, effectiveness and efficiency of operational activities for development. The least developed countries attached high importance to the quadrennial comprehensive policy review. The General Assembly should work towards further consolidating the key system wide policy orientation for the development cooperation and country-level modalities and the Council should play an active role in promoting coordination and guidance to ensure that those policies were implemented.
KATHRYN YARLETT (Australia), speaking also on behalf of Canada and New Zealand, said that for the United Nations development system, business as usual was no longer an option. Delivering as One was the way forward in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the United Nations agencies and ensure they played their part in a coordinated manner to help countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed goals. It was the responsibility of the international community to continue the momentum in this important process, to build on the progress and the lessons learned so far and to find ways to improve the Delivering as One approach as it rolled out in more and more self-starters around the world. Improving coordination, under the leadership of the Resident Coordinator, between United Nations agencies at the country level and between the United Nations system and host governments, was also critical to improve efficiency and effectiveness and to increase the United Nations attractiveness as a partner and its ability to mobilize resources. Further strengthening of the Resident Coordinator System should be achieved through a full implementation of the management and accountability framework. United Nations funds and programmes should begin dialogues with the respective executive boards on the concept of critical mass, recognizing the specific mandate and business models of these entities. It was necessary to elevate the debate on critical mass beyond the usual reiteration of standard position on funding levels. It was essential to take this opportunity to come to a shared understanding of the definition for critical mass and its role in agency effectiveness.
IGOR N. SCHERBAK (Russian Federation) said the reports of the Secretary-General provided a full picture of the state of operational activities of the United Nations. The Russian Federation was in favour of better consistency and coherence in the United Nations system. The Russian Federation believed that any innovative efforts for raising funds should be aimed at increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of activities in accordance with the will of Member States. The Russian Federation welcomed the report of the Secretary-General on the Resident Coordinator System, which was analytical and critical, and stressed the importance of national leadership, development and accountability. The Russian Federation was in favour of balanced reform of the system, with regular and comprehensive updates, including access to financial resources and new measures. Increased predictability, long-term stability and appropriate funding for operational activities were required. Non-earmarked funds allowed the United Nations to meet its objectives. Other sources of funds were useful in this regard as well. As to indicators related to core and non-core resources, the inclusive and transparent monitoring of indicators would ensure rapid reactions and the broadest donor base of funding for the United Nations System possible. The Russian Federation supported the idea of a report every four years on expenditures for development activities in the United Nations. The Russian Federation appreciated that certain progress had been made in the simplification and harmonization of rules and procedures in the United Nations System.
CHRISTIAN PANNEELS (Belgium) said a number of resolutions passed in the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly appealed for new resources in support of activities, calling for earmarked funds. At the same time, Member States appealed for an increase in non-earmarked funds. Belgium asked whether these actions were, in and of themselves, coherent.
OLIVIER CHAVE (Switzerland), welcomed the modest progress made by the United Nations in the fulfilment of policy recommendations. Despite the establishment of the high-level mechanisms there had been no progress in the field or headquarters and the costs of cooperation remained on the rise. The fundamental question was whether the system was too wide and complex to harmonize its procedures. The General Assembly should use its authority over the funds and programs to achieve this harmonization without further delay and specialized agencies could harmonize or lose ground, financially, operationally, politically; harmonization would reduce the costs of coordination. No significant steps had been achieved to strengthen the authority of the resident coordinator, examples of success where mostly anecdotal and linked to specific personalities. The United Nations, more than ever, must provide its resident coordinators with the means to fulfil their mandate and visibility with governments and other development actors. The speaker reiterated the role of the resident coordinator, particularly in the context of emergencies and conflict, and said the United Nations must give them the power to discharge their responsibilities free from bureaucratic obstacles. The overall funding structure did not provide the appropriate incentives for coordination. The report of the Secretary-General noted the lack of core funding, and the question centred on what was the critical mass to ensure operation, capacity retention and activities in the field. The triennial comprehensive review in 2007 emphasized this and the fact that the international financial institutions had already pioneered this approach with regards to their programmes. Switzerland looked forward to discovering the findings of the independent evaluation on the pilots to build on the upcoming quadrennial comprehensive policy review; the preparation of these documents should not justify any further bureaucratic procrastination preventing the direct reception of funds of beneficiaries.
RODRIGO PINTADO (Mexico), emphasized the importance of the work of funds, programmes and agencies of the United Nations in the fulfilment of the Millennium Development Goals. In particular, efforts to support south-south and triangular cooperation were important instruments to boost international cooperation and support for least developed countries. It was necessary to ensure that funds and programmes adjusted to changing realities, updating their priorities and strategies. Recent social movements in the Middle East and Northern Africa underlined the crucial role played by economic conditions alongside political demands and pointed to the importance of development as a guarantor of social peace. Middle-income countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and Asia, shared many challenges such as poverty, inequality and unequal distribution of income, also seen in middle-income countries. In times of limited resources support for middle-income countries should not be seen in the context of competition for resources, but rather of the productive synergies that could generate greater opportunities for development for all. Therefore, it remained essential to enhance the capacity of middle income countries to serve as engines of regional development through south-south cooperation, triangular cooperation and trade promotion. In this context, Mexico supported the initiatives presented by the Latin American and Caribbean Group, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Population Fund and United Nations Women in order to review development indicators employed by funds and programmes so that these took into account the challenges faced by middle-income countries when allocating projects and resources. This initiative aimed to preserve the principle of universality of the United Nations Development Programme and guaranteeing the presence of the programme in the field.
ASTRID HELLE AJAMAY (Norway) commended the United Nations for implementing operational core activities according to the mandate provided by United Nations Member States and in support of achieving the Millennium Development Goals. An important objective of operational activities was to prepare for the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review. The policy review would be important to maintaining the momentum of the delivering-as-one program. The Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review should pay particular attention to the independent review of the delivering-as-one programme and the country reports on delivering-as-one. This was also important for assessing the functioning of the United Nations resident coordinator system. Norway had taken due note of the report of the Secretary-General on financing for development activities in 2009. Despite a welcome increase, the budget was not sufficient for operational activities. In 2009, Norway was the sixth largest donor to United Nations core funding needs. Expanding the donor base among Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries and emerging countries should be considered. United Nations agencies were under strong pressure to communicate and demonstrate results, and steps were being taken in this regard. Approximately 70 per cent of poor people lived in middle income countries. Improving the lives of these people should be a main focus when it came to taxation policies and national redistribution of wealth. The needs of poor people in middle income countries should not be met by funds currently allocated to least developed countries and countries affected by humanitarian crises and conflict.
ANDREI POPOV (Belarus) considered the work done by the United Nations in implementing development activities as positive. The review of operational activities had shown growth in effectiveness and flexibility among United Nations agencies. There was an increased presence of the United Nations Development Programme in middle-income countries. Belarus informed the Council that recently the United Nations Development Programme and Belarus had produced a plan for the 2011 to 2015 period concerning development activities. Belarus was also awaiting approval of country programme activities with the United Nations Population Fund for the next five years. These documents were effective instruments for providing development assistance to Belarus. International assistance should not hinder the economic and social development of countries. Belarus called upon donors to provide sufficient financing to make development work effective. Belarus welcomed the efforts of the United Nations to improve the situation of women. Belarus placed great hope in UN Women to improve gender problems and promote women’s interests at the country level. The Economic and Social Council had an important role to play in the development of that structure.
TOBIAS GLUCKSMAN (United States), said that today’s discussion provided an excellent opportunity for delegations and the United Nations development system to reflect and prepare for next years’ Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review. While the review processes had traditionally focused on process, it was now time to properly take stock and better determine how effective these actions had been through informed and credible evaluations, including the ongoing evaluation of the delivering-as-one pilots and the initiative’s broader system wide impact and potential. Funding for operational activities, similarly, had focused largely on how money was provided and how much was enough. In the current budget climate and amid broad concern about value for money, transparency and accountability, the focus on how United Nations organizations could use their funding effectively and demonstrate programmatic results was critical. It was necessary to move beyond the traditional north-south divide and embrace the new realities of an evolving global partnership for development, which included important new state and non-state participants. In this day and age, a United Nations development system almost entirely dependent on ten traditional donors was an outdated and unsustainable formula. Better burden sharing was also needed within the resident coordinator system. Relying exclusively on United Nations Development Programme funding placed a heavy burden on the organization and more importantly did not comport with the purpose of the resident coordinator system, which was shared by and for the benefit of the entire United Nations development community. It was necessary to ensure that the resident coordinator selection process attracted and placed the most qualified and effective resident coordinator in the field. More specifically, in the case of significant humanitarian operation or in disaster prone countries, it was important that resident coordinators were selected in close consultation with UNERC and candidates from the humanitarian coordinator pool were given serious consideration.
ROHITA MISHRA (India), said that operational activities on development represented the most visible part of United Nations engagement in developing countries. The Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review provided an opportunity for Member States to collectively take stock of development activities of the United Nations system and address the more pressing problems and to reflect on the post-2015 environment. The financial crisis had subjected numerous populations to considerable strains and made the provision of aid difficult. Emphasizing the universal, multilateral and impartial nature of United Nations development operation, the credibility of United Nations development operations, and that financing mechanisms of the system had an impact on its capacity to deliver effectively, the speaker said it was necessary to constantly monitor and ensure that financing for development met the requirements for achieving internationally agreed goals. India noted with concern the growing imbalance between core and non-core funding and the fragmentation of non-core funding, while core funding remained essential for the development system. Concern for national priorities and ownership were fundamental in the development of programmes; furthermore, these should be implemented on the basis of national programmes to ensure sustainability and capacity building. This country-based approach had been strongly emphasized and remained of the greatest importance, and more needed to be done to mainstream this approach in the work of different institutions. South-south cooperation was also important and attention, as well as resources, should be given to nourish it and bring together experience and knowledge with United Nations resources. There needed to be a greater sense of urgency in addressing core challenges in order to see results.
NANCY MADRIGAL (Cuba) said the Cuban delegation endorsed the statement made by Argentina on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. Operational activities for development should be neutral, multilateral and flexible in responding to the needs of developing countries. Achieving the Millennium Development Goals, as internationally agreed, should be the general framework under which the United Nations should implement its activities. Cooperation for development had to be demand-driven and be developed on the basis of plans and strategies drawn up by the countries themselves, without conditions. Resolution 62/208 constituted the frameworks and guidelines agreed on by governments to approach activities for development. The resolution emphasized that reform efforts should aim at improving organizational efficiency and producing concrete results as well as considered and evaluated on the basis of their impact on beneficiary countries. The unjustified elimination and degradation of certain international mandates important for development should be considered. There was no single approach that was good for all countries and national governments were responsible for developing their policies. Cuba would always support coordination and cooperation among United Nations funds, programmes and agencies in order to avoid duplication and enhance efficiency and effectiveness. However, this should not require countries to adhere to a specific pattern or approach to development. The government of the United States hindered international cooperation and Cuba’s efforts in support of economic and human development, including work related to the Global Fund’s implementation of HIV/AIDS alleviation programmes in Cuba.
ALICIA ARANGO OLMOS (Colombia) said Colombia supported the reform of the United Nations and efforts to improve coordination, cooperation and coherence in development activities in the field. Cooperation with the United Nations should be seen as a complementary tool for governments to achieve long-term and concrete results in the field of development. Duplication of efforts should be avoided. Colombia had implemented an initiative and new cooperation framework with United Nations programmes, agencies and funds. The development of strategic documents had served as important management and planning tools, resulting in capacity of national entities through their participation and inclusion. These framework documents were based on national priorities. Colombia had a similarly successful experience with the country programme of the United Nations Children’s Fund. Colombia emphasized the importance of south-south cooperation for sharing experiences and promoting best practices in development. Colombia hoped that United Nations programmes would continue to strengthen each other and work in a complementary way.
PETRO BESHTA (Ukraine), recognized that significant progress had been made in the implementation of policy recommendations, the delivery-as-one approach had contributed to the coordination of United Nations work on the ground and much had been done to ensure system-wide harmonization. They also welcomed the improvement in the implementation of the plan of action to harmonize business practices across the United Nations. Support for the strengthening of the resident coordinator system was important and further attention should be given to addressing core and non-core balance, as well as predictability of funding. They noted with satisfaction the level of cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme on environmental protection, combating HIV/AIDS and support for its national development report. Moreover, Ukraine commended the work the United Nations Children’s Fund carried out in support of its government and acknowledged the high level of cooperation with the United Nations Population Fund on issues of reproductive health, gender equality, HIV/AIDS and a plan of action on aging. Country programmes were aligned with national economic reform programmes and Millennium Development Goals. The government of Ukraine, along with civil society, was committed to working towards implementation. Ukraine would focus on coordination among Member States aimed at reducing women’s inequality in all its manifestations and ensuring more effective use of resources in national projects and programmes.
ANNE NAMAKAU MUTELO (Namibia), said that although classified as an upper middle income country, it had inherited social and economic inequalities from its apartheid colonial past which the Government struggled to overcome. Namibia ranked 126th out of 177 on the Human Development Index and inequality in distribution of assets was high. Improving capacities at the national, regional and local levels for achieving the Millennium Development Goals was the heart and core of the long-term national Vision 2030 programme, including responding to HIV/AIDS, reducing human poverty and ensuring sustainable development. Along with developing countries it would continue to rely on the United Nations development group to assist it in meeting some of its development needs and attached great importance to the fundamental characteristics of the operational activities for development of the United Nations system. Namibia noted with concern the decrease in the availability of core funding as compared to non-core funding over the past years. The increased imbalance between core and non-core funding was a worrying trend since non-core funds were characterized by varying degrees of restrictions with regard to their application and use. Namibia called upon the United Nations development system to vigorously pursue the goal of enhanced coherence, effectiveness and efficiency of operational activities for development at the country level in order to ensure that they were the preferred partners for attracting increased core and un-earmarked resources. Namibia looked forward to fruitful discussions during the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review in 2012, the implementation of the United Nations General Assembly resolution on system wide coherence and hoped that more core funding would be forthcoming to enable developing countries to continue meeting their development needs.
AHMAD WARRAICH (Pakistan) said Pakistan aligned itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. Developing countries were facing challenges that were daunting and complex and financing for development trickled in. Development partners increasingly cited domestic constraints in fulfilling their multilateral obligations and inability to support developing countries in their development efforts. Improving the effectiveness of the United Nations development system had become more urgent. It was imperative that coherence as well as coordination of the United Nations operational activities for development were strengthened. Operational activities had to avoid duplications while synergies and complementarities had to be strengthened. At the country level, different agencies’ deeper engagement with resident coordinators should enhance mutual cooperation and collaboration as well as improve synchronicities with the development priorities of States. The core development activity of the United Nations remained capacity development. Enhancing south-south cooperation, technical assistance and policy advice made available with regional mechanisms would create sustainable capacities. Despite many discussions, the continuing imbalance between core and non-core resources remained a concern. Contributions to the core resources had not increased. The United Nations was competing for resources with national development agencies, international and regional development institutions as well as private development actors. By identifying the core competencies of the United Nations development system, the United Nations would be able to attract the necessary resources.
JOAO ERNESTO CHRISTOFOLO (Brazil) said Brazil aligned itself with the statement delivered by Argentina on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. Brazil welcomed the panel discussions organized within the scope of the year’s operational activities segment. This was critical not only for the Council’s mandate but more importantly in lieu of preparations for the next quadrennial policy review discussions. The report on results achieved and the measures and processes implemented indicated encouraging progress on capacity building and promotion of south-south cooperation. In gender equality and the empowerment of women, the capacity of the United Nations system to provide assistance and support to Member States had been decisively enhanced by the establishment of UN Women. Coordination of operational activities on the ground was crucial to avoid duplication and overlapping and to reduce transaction costs. The resident coordinator system should enhance the implementation of broader decisions adopted by the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. Resident coordinators, as well as United Nations country teams, should be accountable to national authorities and report on progress achieved in terms of the results and benchmarks indicated in United Nations Development Assistance Framework. Brazil requested the compilation of all legislation on United Nations funds and programmes be made available as soon as possible. Brazil looked forward to working on developing and refining the concept of critical mass. It was important to explore ways of applying the concept to all funds and programmes. Brazil was deeply concerned with the trends and figures on financing of operational activities as overall contributions remained stagnant.
SOMG SHANGZHE (China) said that on the implementation of General Assembly policy recommendations the following years would be critical for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Improving the resource situation of the United Nations system and enhancing predictability should be the goals of development partnerships; the unbalanced provision of resources might weaken its universal and neutral delivery. Donors should follow the United Nations system and outcome document of the Millennium Development Goals high-level segment and take immediate actions in this regard. Concerning the system of resident coordinators, national ownership and leadership was crucial for coordinating foreign aid and ensuring consistency between assistance and the national priorities of recipient countries; for this reason, the principles of national ownership and leadership were crucial for progress and success. The United Nations development agencies should provide targeted assistance and, rather than seeking uniformity of fixed modalities, they should promote national ownership and prioritize the employment of local technologies and expertise. Capacity building was necessary and should be a priority area for development. Many developing countries had called upon the international community to improve support for south-south cooperation in order to bring out its full potential and vitality and to explore new ideas and formats. It was critical to acknowledge, however, that south-south cooperation was a compliment and not a substitute to north-south cooperation, which should not be weakened or reduced.
ANA CECILIA GERVASI (Peru), reiterated the importance of assessing tendencies and challenges that had come forward in the last years and to which previous delegations had referred to, and should be part of the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review. Among the emerging challenges for the system were the situation and special needs of middle income countries. Peru, despite growth in GDP, faced difficulties in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, including poverty reduction in many parts of the country. While poverty had decreased to a national average of 30 per cent, many provinces had poverty levels that were significantly higher. Indicators of economic growth did not effectively reflect the challenges and situation in middle income countries such as Peru. Thus, it was not possible to continue to inflexibly use GDP as a development indicator, for it hid important inequalities. It was necessary that the United Nations development system used an adequate package of measures for middle income countries in order to support their efforts. This topic was already on the agenda of the United Nations and should be part of the review. It was important to acknowledge the contribution of middle income countries to economic recovery after the crisis and the huge efforts made by their governments to fulfill the Millennium Development Goals. Middle income countries could become important catalysts for south-south cooperation. Debates leading to the upcoming review should focus on how the United Nations system could support governments in a world of change and how United Nations’ agencies could better work in a more coordinated way. The operational assistance of the United Nations should find a way to help middle income countries fight poverty and inequality and hoped that the United Nations would continue to be relevant in today’s world.
MINA DOWLATCHAHI (Food and Agriculture Organization) welcomed the three panel discussions and the open exchange of views with the Economic and Social Council members on the drive for results, funding and the challenges faced by specialized agencies. The Food and Agriculture Organization was committed to United Nations system-wide coherence. With regards to the governance of operational activities for development, the inclusiveness of all specialized agencies was key. The Food and Agriculture Organization invited further improvements in information exchange. The Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Labour Organization provided clear views about the resident coordinator system and the discussion in the panel proved there was no impediment to quality leadership; it was not necessary to add other bureaucratic layers. The funding of the resident coordinator system needed to be considered within the overall coordination architecture of the United Nations system. The provision of specialized knowledge and expertise by specialized agencies needed to be fully recognized, including in co-financing. Core resources should continue to be the bedrock of operational activities, especially in allowing agencies the flexibility to react to changing realities. Non-core funding should not supplant, but complement core funding.
Adoption of Resolution
At the end of the Operational Activities Segment, the Council adopted, without a vote, resolution E/2011/L.35 on progress in the implementation of General Assembly resolution 62/208 on the triennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system, in which it takes note of the report of the Secretary-General on the analysis of the funding for operational activities for development of the United Nations system for 2009 and recalls the section of General Assembly resolution 64/289 on improving the funding system of operational activities for development of the United Nations system, and looks forward to its implementation. The Council invites the United Nations system and the relevant international financial institutions, including the Bretton Woods institutions, to explore further ways to enhance cooperation, collaboration and coordination, including in countries in transition from relief to development, including through the greater harmonization of strategic frameworks, instruments, modalities and partnership arrangements, in full accordance with the priorities of the recipient Governments, and in that regard emphasizes the importance of ensuring, under the leadership of national authorities, greater consistency between the strategic frameworks developed by the United Nations agencies, funds and programmes and the relevant international financial institutions, including the Bretton Woods institutions, while maintaining the institutional integrity and organizational mandates of each organization and the national poverty reduction strategies, including poverty reduction strategy papers, where they exist. The Council also invites the United Nations system organizations to redouble their efforts to implement the management and accountability system of the United Nations development and resident coordinator system, including the “functional firewall” for the resident coordinator system, so as to ensure that the resident coordinator system is functioning in an optimal way that reflects the inputs of the United Nations system as a whole and reinforces the implementation of the principle of mutual accountability within the United Nations country team.
The Council requests the Secretary-General to pay particular attention, in the report for the 2012 Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review of operational activities for
development of the United Nations system, to a number of issues and encourages the Secretary-General, in preparing the report for the quadrennial comprehensive policy review, to make full use of the outcomes of the survey on the effectiveness, efficiency and relevance of the support of the United Nations system and the comprehensive review of the existing institutional framework for the system-wide evaluation of operational activities for development of the United Nation system.
Finally, it requests the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly, through the Economic and Social Council, a comprehensive report on the analysis of the implementation of General Assembly resolution 62/208 and a report on the analysis of funding for operational activities for development, as well as to submit directly to the General Assembly a report with recommendations for the quadrennial comprehensive policy review.
GONZALO GUTIÉRREZ REINEL, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, said that delivering-as-one was more than a slogan; it was an idea that had begun to permeate the mentality and work of the United Nations. While many factors were converging to require new approaches and responses and the United Nations should react fast to meet new challenges and threats, the new Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review offered new opportunities to address these issues. The resolution just adopted by the Council indicated a number of issues which Member States considered important to discuss in preparation for the upcoming review. The United Nations development system must also improve its support for middle-income countries and should be fast to act while never losing track of national development priorities. The Council should fully discharge its responsibility concerning coordination but, at the country level, it was important that agencies also worked together to this end. The United Nations Development Assistance Framework should guide not only the frameworks, but implementation and consistency. Resident coordinators worked to harmonize different agencies’ mandates in response to countries’ specific circumstances and demands. The leadership of the resident coordinator could not be imposed, it had to be earned, but agencies should aim to collaborate and facilitate this process. Savings from administrative reform should be reinvested in development programmes. The importance of core funding could not be overemphasized; improving burden sharing would improve predictability, although the imbalance between core and non-core funding would not be reversed overnight. While addressing processes the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review should not loose track of results and impact, the review should be ambitious and targets and evaluation mechanisms should be an integral part of the guidance it provided. Member States’ support for this process was essential; working together it would be possible to meet the expectations. Mr. Gutiérrez Reinel finally thanked the executive directors of the funds and programmes, panellists and other participants in the past discussions and hoped that these might positively reflect on the upcoming review.
For use of the information media; not an official record