Remarks by Ambassador Rick Barton, the U.S. Representative on the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, at the Opening of the 2010 First Session of the UNDP Executive Board

Ambassador Rick Barton
U.S. Representative for Economic and Social Affairs 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
January 19, 2010


Thank you Mr. President. Administrator Clark, and your team, thank you also for your statement.
Let me also congratulate the Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda on his election as President of the Bureau as well as the vice presidents.  We look forward to working closely with all of you and we extend our thanks to the previous Bureau of its constructive service to the Board.

We offer our deep sympathy again to the Haitian people and the UN and UNDP staff who were injured and lost their lives in the Haiti earthquake.  For those of us who have worked in Haiti in the field, we know that UNDP and the UN at large works in many perilous situations, and that its dedicated staff sometimes makes the ultimate sacrifice for their service. 

In our efforts to deal with the Haitian crisis, we will once again see the best that the UN can offer.  The United States is committed to working closely with the Government of Haiti and the UN as we all seek to help the Haitian people in this desperate humanitarian moment.

Administrator Clark and members of the Board, the United States’ commitment to UNDP and this Executive Board is strong, and I very much look forward to working with you in achieving our shared development objectives and assisting in the shaping of new strategies.

Our challenges are mounting by the day, and we need to accelerate our work not only to meet the Millennium Development Goals, but more importantly to overcome those obstacles that, for decades, have impeded development in some of the poorest areas.   UNDP with its mandate in working on governance-related issues can play a key role in helping lay the necessary foundation for enduring economic growth and development.

We need to work together to reinvigorate our efforts in Africa where many countries are falling behind on the MDGs.  It is encouraging that UNDP management has committed new resources in the next two year's budget to the region.  The United States will continue to work with management to seek solutions to some of the most difficult problems -- weak government institutions, lack of opportunities for the people, and lack of productive capacities in society.  We will also continue our engagement with the Board and management to ensure that UNDP resources produce desired results for African countries and worldwide.

The international community recognizes that the world today is facing new challenges -- the environment, the potential rapid spread of lethal diseases -- just to name a few that Administrator Clark highlighted.  As the flagship UN development agency and coordinator of UN development activities, UNDP has a unique role in addressing these new challenges in partnership with sister UN agencies and other international organizations.  We look forward to encouraging innovative approaches.

In order to enable UNDP to do its work well and to produce the results that we expect, we need to continue to improve the organization's management and program practices.  The adoption of the Accountability Framework is a considerable achievement in this regard.  We need to continue to ensure that oversight offices can carry out their work effectively.  We encourage the management to pay particular attention to those new oversight functions such as review of financial disclosures and whistleblower cases that are handled by the Ethics Office -- to make the necessary resource allocations to enable the Office to discharge its responsibilities effectively. 

The management has made significant progress in monitoring and reporting program results to the Board through issuing Assessment of Development Results as an end-of -cycle program evaluation report.  We encourage the management to continue to increase their coverage, as well as to improve the quantity and quality of country office -conducted evaluations.  The management has been engaged in an on-going effort to post program information on all country office websites.  This as an important step toward achieving greater transparency, and we will continue our cooperation with the management to complete its work this year.

Mr. President and members of the Board, let me close by reiterating the United States strong commitment to UNDP's work.  In keeping with President Obama’s desire to advance development throughout the world, we expect to be more engaged than ever in the pursuit of improved lives for people everywhere.  I look forward to working with all of you to make UNDP an ever more effective partner in addressing global development challenges.

Thank you.


PRN: 2010/010