United Nations — The United Nations must reform its development system by adapting its silo structure to work flexibly across sectors, tailoring programmes to specific country priorities and diversifying its funding sources in order to meet the unprecedented multisectoral demands of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, delegates stressed today, as the Economic and Social Council opened its 2016 operational activities segment.
During the segment, which runs through 24 February, the Council will examine the longer-term positioning of the United Nations development system in the context of the 2030 Agenda. It will also assess the implementation of General Assembly resolution 67/226, on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review — the mechanism through which it evaluates the coherence, effectiveness and funding of the United Nations 27 programmes, funds and specialized agencies for development. The next Assembly resolution on the policy review of operational activities for development will be negotiated and adopted in the coming months.
In opening remarks, Council Vice-President Alejandro Palma Cerna (Honduras) said the United Nations development system was at an “inflection point”, where significant changes were needed to enable it to respond effectively to the Agenda’s integration demands. Calling for “organizational renewal”, he said the 2016 policy review must reflect the universal and integrated nature of the 2030 Agenda. “We may need to consider redesigning the instrument we have in our hands, in terms of its name, content and applicability,” he said.
In that context, it was important to ask whether the structure of the policy review mirrored the priorities required to deliver on the Agenda, he said. There was a critical window of opportunity to gauge whether the right instruments were in place to steer the course ahead. Now was the time to lay a solid foundation for guiding, monitoring and assessing operational activities for development.
Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, agreed that the Council’s deliberations over the next 10 months would be critical in charting a new course for the Organization. “Bold and imaginative” decision-making was required. Indeed, the results, impact and cost-effectiveness of development activities could be greater if implemented in a coordinated fashion, as the needs of programme countries were increasingly differentiated.
Mogens Lykketoft, President of the General Assembly, said Governments must develop national action plans and take concrete actions to deliver. No single entity working in isolation could contribute to the implementation of globally agreed goals. Creating partnerships with the private sector, academia and civil society would be crucial for success. The Organization should support States with their national implementation, through effective, efficient and coherent use of resources.
Offering a national perspective, Claver Gatete, Minister for Finance and Economic Planning of Rwanda, recalled that his country had been among the first eight to pilot the United Nations “delivering as one” approach. Today, its partnership with the Organization had “come a long way”. Joint planning — across agencies and with the Government — had made the most progress. The United Nations Development Assistance Programme was fully aligned with Rwanda’s economic development and poverty reduction strategy.