Seminar of the "Programme Country Pilots" on
Delivering as One: Exchange of Experiences and Lessons Learned
21-23 May 2008, Maputo, Mozambique
Statement by Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, Under-Secretary-General
Executive Director, UN-HABITAT
On behalf of Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro, UN Deputy Secretary-General
H.E. Ms. Luisa Diogo, Prime Minister,
Hon. Mr. Oldemiro Baloi, Minister of Foreign Affairs,
All Ministers present,
H.E. Mr. Augustine Mahiga, Permanent Representative of the United Republic of Tanzania to the UN,
H.E. John Paul Kavanagh, Permanent Representative of Republic of Ireland to the UN,
Resident Coordinators and all UN colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure for me to be here and represent the Deputy Secretary-General at this important seminar. As you all know, Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro, Deputy Secretary-General, attaches great importance to issues of coherence and your deliberations and outcome will make a significant contribution in this regard. She would have liked to be here today in person. However, as you can imagine, the kind of pressure on her time made it impossible for her to attend at the last minute. But she made effort and located me in Dar-es-Salaam on home leave, to stand in for her. I am happy I managed to get the flight connections.
We are gathered here today to exchange experiences on the Delivering as One experience and deliberate on how to overcome current challenges and move forward towards a more coherent UN system. This is a bold and ambitious endeavour. I would like to congratulate the Government of Mozambique for pioneering the idea of this seminar, which was then endorsed by Member States in their 2007 resolution on the Triennial Comprehensive Policy Review (TCPR).
I also wish to salute the commitment of your governments, both the eight pilot countries and in the countries who have launched initiatives to increase the coherence of the UN system. You have engaged into this experience with great enthusiasm and commitment, leading the UN in a close partnership for progress.
I wanted to briefly outline three points. First, we must make the UN more efficient, effective and coherent. Second, we have made progress, but we must advance faster, building on the momentum created by the 2007 Triennial Comprehensive Policy Review of Operational Activities for Development. Third, this meeting has the potential to give impetus not only to the Delivering as One experience but more generally to the implementation of the TCPR decisions.
First, UN development cooperation is at the cross roads. Rarely have so many demands been placed on the United Nations system. Its role in advancing the international consensus on development is recognized by all, as are its responsibilities to support progress towards the MDGs and sustainable development. The world food crisis and the challenges of climate change are here to remind us of the contribution that the UN should make.
Meanwhile, there is a tendency for development cooperation to become slightly less multilateral, at the very moment when ODA is on the decline again. There is a welcome emphasis on the importance of aid effectiveness and aid quality, with the upcoming Development Cooperation Forum in ECOSOC and the Accra conference later this year.
All this points to the need for the United Nations to demonstrate that its operational activities have an impact and resources are delivered effectively. Yet, UN efforts in the area of development often remain fragmented. We have yet to overcome the incoherence and competition among the various parts of the system and to target the root causes of these problems, such as the competition for resources or continued use of outdated business practices.
With the recent Triennial Comprehensive Policy Review of Operational Activities, Member States have given strong mandates for building a more effective, efficient and coherent UN system. The TCPR places an unprecedented emphasis on national ownership and leadership. It illuminates what the Co Chairs once called a paradigm shift in development cooperation. It moves from a system where the UN "goes to a country to deliver a given project or programme" to a system where the UN supports governments’ own national development efforts.
The TCPR calls for Member States to have access to the range of mandates and resources of the whole UN system. It recognizes the central role of the Resident Coordinator in improving the effectiveness of the UN system’s response to national priorities and in reporting to the Government on the results in UNDAF. It establishes the UNDAF as a key instrument for bringing the UN system together in a coherent and efficient way around national development priorities. It also addresses the importance of funding for operational activities for development and the link between resources on the one hand, and effectiveness, efficiency, coherence and impact on the other.
The TCPR thus gives impetus to several aspects of the Delivering as One experience, in which your countries have engaged with such commitment.
This brings me to the second point I wanted to make. We must accelerate the progress made thus far in building a more efficient and effective United Nations. It was very difficult to come to an agreement on the 2007 TCPR, given the breadth and sensitivity of the issues it covers. The fact that Member States found a consensus creates a tremendous sense of achievement and a momentum on which we should build to further improve UN system development cooperation.
At the level of the UN system as a whole, we have developed an implementation plan to respond to the recommendations of the TCPR. Member States will monitor the implementation of this plan at the Economic and Social Council. We at the United Nations are collectively determined to deliver on these measures, reflecting the bold mandates Member States have given us.
The Delivering as One experience, and the voluntary efforts of countries to increase coordination and harmonization of the UN system, fit into this broader framework. We have to acknowledge the progress that has been made thus far. It came out clearly in the stocktaking exercise undertaken last year. We know that the Pilot experience has demonstrated a more significant alignment with national development plans. There has also been a greater willingness of UN system organizations to work together.
Yet there remain many challenges. For instance, Reform is slow at headquarters and the pilot countries do not always receive the support they need. Reductions in transaction costs remain limited at best. Ways still have to be found to plough back savings into development.
We at the United Nations are very much looking forward to your discussions on these issues. We know all too well certain bottlenecks and constraints. We might not adequately perceive some others - which will emerge from this seminar.
These challenges are by no means confined to the Delivering as One pilot countries. They also hinder the work of the United Nations in other countries, starting with the four countries present today who have taken it upon themselves to work with the UN system to increase its coherence and coordination. We must tackle these challenges head on to increase the impact and efficiency of the UN system.
This brings me to my third and last point. Today’s exchange of experience has the potential to give impetus not only to the Delivering as One experience but more generally to the implementation of the recommendations of the TCPR.
For the delivering as One experience, this is the year of implementation. While each of you has had a unique experience, you are all confronted with obstacles and challenges. This meeting is a special opportunity to gain an understanding of how these challenges can be tackled in your respective situations. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, as the TCPR reminded us. But I believe that you all have a lot to learn from each other.
Beyond this, we should use the opportunity of this seminar to reflect on how to advance the implementation of the TCPR – both in general and in particular in the Delivering as One pilots. This could be at the core of the questions that you will be asking yourselves during these three days. Could the One UN experience be even more supportive of national ownership and leadership? Does it help in strengthening national capacities? Is it really making it simpler to work with the UN? Is there greater accountability of the Resident Coordinator and the UNCT vis-à-vis the Government on results in UNDAF? What more is needed to maximize the usefulness of this initiative for the country? In brief, what have we learned from this experience which can help advance the implementation of the TCPR?
Your debate will reverberate at the Economic and Social Council this summer, where the outcome of this meeting will be presented and debated with other Member States and the UN system. Your experiences could inform other member states interested in launching initiatives to increase coordination and harmonization, notably the Governments engaging in new UNDAFs.
Excellencies and Dear Colleagues,
I trust that your discussions these three days will identify the achievements in addition to those already documented in the stocktaking exercises and other meetings, but more importantly focus on remaining obstacles and challenges and on the way forward. One such obstacle that I wish to highlight from the perspective of UN-HABITAT, and I believe many other smaller and/or Non-Resident Agencies, is full inclusiveness in the membership of UNCT. I do not share the view that those agencies represented by national officers should be excluded or denied full membership in the UNCT on this ground by some UNCTs while others have accepted them. The issue remains arbitrary and not quite resolved. I wish to take this opportunity to request you to discuss this issue and hopefully find a good solution. This way you can chart the course for accelerating progress towards coherence and effectiveness of the UN.
Time is running. By 2010, an independent evaluation of the One UN pilots is planned to be conducted. The stakes are high. We have to demonstrate that the UN can make a unique contribution to human development in the countries where it works.
I wish you a successful seminar and a wonderful stay in this beautiful city of Maputo. I thank the Government of Mozambique once again for the warm welcome and hospitality that has been extended to me.