The Chair of the United Nations Development Group presented recent highlights of the work of the Group and introduced the report on the meeting of the Group held on 6 February 2014.
The Chair noted that the Group was closely involved in a number of important development forums in 2014, including the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing, the third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, the second United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries, the Development Cooperation Forum of the Economic and Social Council and the first high-level meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Cooperation, all of which presented important opportunities for collective engagement in the United Nations system. She also highlighted the review of the International Conference on Population and Development led by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The Executive Director of UNFPA then thanked all agencies, funds and programmes and the Secretariat for their support and encouraged them to ensure that the agenda of the International Conference on Population and Development was kept high on the agenda of the upcoming session of the General Assembly and the ongoing preparation of the post-2015 framework.
The Chair of the Group stated that coherent implementation of the quadrennial comprehensive policy review across the system remained a major priority for the Group. When the Economic and Social Council had reviewed progress earlier in the year, Member States had emphasized the need for accelerated implementation and close monitoring and reporting, including on “Delivering as one”, harmonization of business practices and the system-wide cost-sharing of the Resident Coordinator system. The need for all members of the Group to contribute in full was reiterated.
The Chair of the Group noted that the number of “Delivering as one” countries had increased to 39, as more countries were seeing the benefits of the approach. The Group had invested significant efforts in designing standard operating procedures for “Delivering as one” to ensure that coordination was firmly focused on results and impact and less on process and planning. The Chair stated that the new standard operating procedures were available to be used by all country teams either in full or in part. The United Nations system had a strategic opportunity to reposition itself in this critical way, as country teams were about to develop new Development Assistance Frameworks/“Delivering as one” programmes in over 40 countries in 2014 and in another 40 in 2015.
The Chair emphasized that renewed engagement from all United Nations entities and their governing bodies would be required to implement the “Delivering as one” action plan, which outlined 55 actions that needed to be taken at Headquarters, the majority of which were due by 2014, to ensure that the second generation of “Delivering as one” had the intended impact at country level.
The Chair further emphasized that the new Delivering Results Together Fund was now fully operational to serve as a global funding facility in support of integrated and coherent policy responses aimed at achieving the Millennium Development Goals and inclusive sustainable development in “Delivering as one” countries. Norway had already made a contribution to the fund and more donors were expected to follow shortly. She noted that the fund would be complemented by a new Sustainable Development Goals Fund launched by Spain, which also supported coherent, joined-up United Nations approaches in support of sustainable development.
The Chair noted that the cost-sharing agreement in support of the Resident Coordinator system had entered into effect as planned in January and that all members of the Group, except one, had confirmed their contributions for 2014 either in full or in part. While the funding gap for the current year was manageable, the Chair noted that there was still a larger gap for 2015, for which the Group would continue to raise funds.
Reflecting on the engagement of the Group in the first high-level meeting for effective development cooperation in Mexico, the Chair noted that the event had erlined the important paradigm shift from aid to development effectiveness and the need to rethink how aid could have a truly catalytic and strategic impact. Discussions had been marked by a strong emphasis on development cooperation in middle-income countries, private sector engagement, domestic resource mobilization, knowledge sharing and South-South and triangular cooperation. The Chair noted that the forthcoming Development Cooperation Forum of the Economic and Social Council would be an important opportunity to continue the discussion at the United Nations.
The Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women thanked the Group for developing a gender equality marker guidance note, which had been designed to guide the development of an effective and coherent United Nations system approach to tracking resources that support gender equality results. As called for by the Secretary-General’s Policy Committee, it provided direction for individual entities instituting or improving their gender equality marker systems so that such systems produced comparable data across United Nations entities.
The Secretary-General thanked the Chair of the Group for highlighting the second generation of “Delivering as one” and called upon all Principals of the Group and all country teams to support its implementation. In order to become more effective, the United Nations system needed to ensure closer coherence and collaboration across its core mandates at the country level, including the more deliberate integration of human rights through the “Rights up front” initiative, which placed a greater focus on vulnerability on the agenda of the system.
The Board thanked the Chair of the United Nations Development Group for her briefing, took note of the progress made and endorsed the report on the meeting of the Group held on 6 February 2014.