Background

Ms. Zina Mounla, Chief of the Development Cooperation Policy Branch of UN-DESA briefed the Committee on the outcome of the ECOSOC Operational Activities Segment held from 24 to 26 February 2014.  The presentation was done by teleconference.

The Operational Segment focused on three areas:  First, “the changing development landscape” discussed the likely implications of a post-2015 agenda focused on sustainable development on UN operational activities for development and the changes required at different levels of the UN system for the Organization to continue to remain a major actor in international development cooperation.  

The second item “looking to the future: current and emerging strategic priorities” focused on three main issues: (a) how can the UN development system remain ‘fit-for-purpose’, (b) a review of progress on the annual theme of the 2014 substantive session of ECOSOC “addressing on-going and emerging challenges for meeting the Millennium Development Goals in 2015 and for sustaining development gains in the future” and (c) progress by the Funds and Programmes in the implementation of GA resolution 67/226 on the QCPR, with particular focus on issues related to system-wide coherence and delivering-as-one.  The panellists, the Executive Heads of the Funds and Programmes, discussed organization-specific strategies on the topic but also emphasized the importance of continued system-wide collaboration to achieve efficiency in the UN system. They also noted that work is progressing well towards implementation of the QCPR.  In particular, Ms. Helen Clark referred to the HLCM Strategic Plan as a tool to implement the QCPR mandates.   

The third item, “the UN system working-as-one” provided a briefing on the Standard Operating Procedures for Delivering as One and field-level experiences. The aim of the discussion was to look at how to move from "planning as one" to "delivering as one".  One Resident Coordinator and one UNICEF Representative briefed ECOSOC on their experiences, providing continued evidence of the benefits of the Delivering as One approach. In relation to the HCLM, the Resident Coordinator of Ethiopia spoke about the benefits of the Business Operations Strategy to achieve efficiency gains.   

The second part of this item focused on how to improve UN effectiveness, efficiency and results in countries in transition from relief to development. It was noted that in these countries it is particularly important that the UN system operates-as-one, with high degree of coherence, effectiveness and efficiency so that opportunities for synergy among the different parts of the Organization are exploited effectively.  The agenda item also looked at the role of the Resident Coordinator and the Humanitarian Coordinator.

In follow up to the Operational Segment, Member States are still negotiating the text of the ECOSOC resolution.  It will contain a section on Business Operations.  

Ms. Mounla stated that the Member States saw significant common ground for defining issues ahead of the fit for purpose discussion in CEB.  They also highlighted the dramatic changes in the development landscape and how this requires all actors, the UN system, donors and programme countries, to be fit for purpose. 

Discussion

In the general debate, it was also noted that the Standard Operating Procedures provide flexibility and are an effective tool to enhance coherence and create value added in the UN system.  Furthermore, an effective Resident Coordinator System needs to ensure Specialized Agencies’ participation, and the need for them to implement the QCPR was emphasized. The system also needs to look at effective modalities to raise resources and to create new partnerships, while guided by mandates.  

Ms. Mounla informed the Committee that the over-all session was considered a success.  The four objectives of the Operational Segment; Presentation of the QCPR Report, bringing in a field perspective on coherence and effectiveness in reference to Delivering as One and the transition countries, repositioning of the ECOSOC Operational Segment with strengthened substance and vitality and engaging with the Specialized Agencies, were all covered fully.  Furthermore, there was a generally positive atmosphere at ECOSOC.

Action

The Committee:

  • Took note with appreciation of the briefing by UN-DESA and reaffirmed its commitment to respond to the QCPR mandates, as per the decision taken at its twenty sixth session.