In 2004, CEB began to consider its contribution to the preparations for the 2005 comprehensive review of the implementation of the Millennium Declaration. It decided that a special report focusing on the impact of the Millennium Declaration on the workings of the system and on the quality of the support that the system is extending to Member States would serve as a useful contribution to the 2005 review.

At its spring 2005 session, CEB reviewed the progress being made in preparing that report. The Secretary-General’s own report to the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly scheduled for September 2005 — “In larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all” (A/59/2005) — provided the overall context of the discussion. Executive heads expressed deep appreciation for the leadership of the Secretary-General and strong support for the thrust of his report. In particular, CEB welcomed the report’s call for a comprehensive response, addressing in a balanced way development, security and human rights and their interlinkages. The crucial importance of a successful outcome of the High-level Plenary Meeting for the whole of the system was emphasized. The Executive heads committed to engage their governing bodies and to use all available occasions until the September High-level Plenary Meeting to galvanize support for a successful outcome.

Against this background, CEB provided direction to the High-Level Committee on Programmes for the finalization of the special report on the response
of the United Nations system to the Millennium Declaration, “One United Nations — catalyst for progress and change: how the Millennium Declaration is changing the way the United Nations system works”. The report will highlight the new orientations and approaches guiding the work of the United Nations system under the Declaration’s broad themes — poverty eradication and sustainable development; human rights, democracy and governance; and prevention of armed conflicts. It will also set out the main directions for continued progress within the system in translating the vision of the Millennium Declaration into action.

The main messages are:

  • The Declaration has broadened the perspectives of all parts of the system, sharpening the focus of what they do for countries, increasing the coherence of their joint activities and capturing the synergies made possible from working together;
  • Joint programming and joint programmes, both global and national, are increasing the system’s responsiveness and synergies in tailoring interventions to country needs;
  • Deeper analysis and broader knowledge-sharing — of what works, what does not and why — are increasing the effectiveness and impact of the system’s programmes;
  • As the different parts of the United Nations system are able, by working better together, to maximize results in helping countries reach the Declaration’s goals, the case for multilateralism will be greatly strengthened.

In the concluding chapter, the report will outline the main orientations that will guide further efforts by the organizations of the system to enhance the effectiveness of their support for the implementation of the Millennium Declaration:

  • Overcoming fragmentation and achieving greater unity of purpose and action;
  • Mobilizing all available resources and capacities within the system itself, promoting mutual reinforcement between their advocacy, normative and analytical work and operational activities, and engaging in concerted action with civil society;
  • Strengthening and unifying the system’s presence at the country level;
  • Focusing on capacity development around shared priorities through:
  1. More purposeful management of knowledge and sharing of knowledge;
  2. Greater coordination in the gathering and dissemination of data;
  3. A more systematic sharing of best practices and success stories;
  4. A common strategy for better exploiting information and communication technology (ICT);
  5. Building a system-wide culture around common security and development agendas and shared management objectives of transparency and accountability.

Underlying the concept of “one United Nations” is a concerted effort to build a system increasingly:

  • Driven by goals and accountable for better, concrete results;
  • Committed to deepening and sharing knowledge;
  • Geared to optimize the sequencing of its interventions, tailoring programmes to country needs;
  • Guided by an open approach to multilateralism and a deliberate effort to advance a multilateralism that works and delivers.

A number of specific initiatives under way will help shape and give specific direction to this overall effort. This is the overall framework within which the Director-General of the International Labour Organization is engaging the CEB system in the process of follow-up to the conclusions of the World Commission on the Social Dimensions of Globalization, to launch policy coherence initiatives across the organizations of the system so as to examine interactions between investment, global growth and employment and what policies need to be pursued to achieve better overall results. Another illustration is a United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) initiative that has resulted in the setting up of an open-ended inter-agency task force to elaborate a Millennium Development Goal-based common agenda for collaborative work among organizations of the United Nations system focusing on economic development as a means for advancing the attainment of the development goals of the Millennium Declaration. Work is under way to identify priority areas for collaboration and develop a results-oriented and time-bound work plan among the organizations involved.