Statement by Deputy Assistant Nerissa Cook, Secretary for International Organization Affairs, U. S. Department of State on Item 2: UNDP Programming Arrangements, UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board

Nerissa Cook
Deputy Assistant Secretary 
New York, NY
February 2, 2012


Thank you, Mr. President, and congratulations to you and the other Board members on your elections.

I would like to thank Administrator Clark for her comprehensive overview of 2012 opportunities, and particularly for her emphasis on making every development dollar count, including through monitoring and evaluation and delivering development results. The United States also endorses the Administrator’s call for Executive Board agreement by the June 2012 Board of full public disclosure.

With regard to UNDP Programming Arrangements, I am delivering this statement on behalf of Belgium, Canada, France, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and my own country, the United States.

Mr. President, we would like to thank UNDP management for preparing the paper that is before us today (DP/2012/3), and for providing briefings to Board members on this matter leading up to this meeting.

The management has provided useful information and options for the Board to consider. And the management also acknowledged -- and we fully agree -- that Programming Arrangements need to be considered in the context of the three important structural frameworks -- the Strategic Plan for 2014-17, the Integrated Budget, and the Change Agenda -- which are taking shape and will frame UNDP and its programs for the years to come. We appreciate this opportunity to start early discussions on important aspects of the 2014-2015 Budget.

As the Programming Arrangements are in fact UNDP’s program budget, it should support the organization’s priorities contained in these three frameworks. It is therefore important to conduct this discussion in coordination with the discussions in these three areas, so that policy visions and important organizational changes will inform our work and be the basis for new programming arrangements.

Moving forward, we would like to offer some comments and suggest several issues for discussions at this and subsequent Board meetings:

First, with regard to the Strategic Plan, we support UNDP management’s analysis that the allocation of future program resources should be linked to a greater degree to the priorities set in the 2014-2017 Strategic Plan. We look forward to further consultation around the key priorities and how best to align program resources with UNDP’s comparative advantage. At the heart of setting these priorities, we must ensure that resources are focused on where they can make most impact, for example governance, poverty alleviation, crisis prevention, and fragile and conflict-affected situations where UNDP often plays a critical role. We look forward to engaging on these issues in the Strategic Plan discussions in the near future. It would be useful for the Strategic Plan to articulate clearly program directions and priorities, particularly those that will require the re-adjustment of program resources to support.

Second, with regard to the allocation of program resources, we believe it will be useful to re-examine the purposes and effectiveness of some of the programs funded by the Programming Arrangements and their allocation mechanisms. We would like to see what lessons the management has learned over the years that can help us make effective allocations in the future and achieve good value for money.

Third, with regard to the Integrated Budget, we would like to understand better how the new Program Arrangements will be made into a program budget that can fit into the integrated budget along with the management support budget. It will be useful for the management to begin a discussion with the Board on how a results-based budgeting and allocation system will look in an integrated budget environment.

Finally, I would like to comment on some of the ideas contained in the management’s Programming Arrangements paper and other more general funding and program issues:

On the TRAC (targeted resource allocation from the core) system, we would like the management to provide detailed information in the draft 2014-2015 integrated budget on how resources will be allocated among TRAC 1, 2, and 3, particularly on allocations within TRAC 2. The rationales, mechanisms, and the processes for resource allocations should be made transparent to enable the Executive Board to have substantial discussions and decide on these matters.

We endorse the notion in document DP/2012/3 regarding the need for a more flexible range of options for UNDP’s physical presence in the field; the need to include a predictability parameter to ensure a smooth transition between programming cycles; and finally the need to maintain the percentage allocation range for TRAC 1 of the present programming arrangements.

We look forward to receiving additional information and analyses on the various options and models from the management in order to further discuss eligibility and allocation criteria. Regarding the need for a more flexible physical presence, we are equally keen to learn more about possible alternatives to the current country presence structures that would ensure effective and efficient country support tailored to the different needs and available resources in country. We encourage the management to give us its initial views at this Board and to continue this conversation with follow-up briefings and discussions.

Regarding the further rationalization of the programming arrangements framework, we endorse the proposal to integrate the Office for Development Studies into the Global Programs. We would, however, welcome more information on what this implies in savings and enhanced efficiency and effectiveness within the Global Programs.

On the proposal to include the UN Capital Development Fund in the regular program budget of UNDP, we believe that further information is needed, especially considering the need to sharpen UNDP’s strategic focus. We recommend that further discussions on these and related issues, like the proposal for a Contingency Fund, be made in the context of the Executive Board’s consideration of the next Strategic Plan and the 2014-2015 integrated budget.

We would like to hear the management’s thoughts on the issues that we have raised, and would welcome suggestions from other Board members on how we can best carry these discussions forward within the Board in the coming months.

Thank you.


PRN: 2012/029