Statement by Terri Robl, Deputy U.S. Representative to ECOSOC ECOSOC General Debate - Operational Segment Implementation of General Assembly Resolution 67/226 on the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review of UN Operational Activities for Development

Terri Robl
U.S. Deputy Representative to the UN Economic and Social Council 
New York, NY
July 12, 2013




AS PREPARED

Thank you, Mr. President.  Seven months ago, the General Assembly adopted the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review resolution on United Nations operational activities for development, expertly facilitated by Switzerland. The United States was very pleased with the outcome of negotiations, a strong, substantive resolution aimed at making the UN development system more efficient, effective, and coherent.  We thank all the UN agency representatives and program country officials whose frank and candid sharing of their experiences, and responsiveness to Member State concerns, have made the last few days of discussion so worthwhile and interesting.  As agencies move forward with QCPR implementation, my delegation welcomes the chance to offer some views.

First, we’d like to recognize the tremendous efforts made by the entire UN development system to begin implementing the many reforms mandated in the QCPR.  We know this is not an easy or simple task, and we applaud your efforts to comply with the directives from Member States.  Among several noteworthy steps, we particularly appreciate the progress made by the funds and programs on setting a common cost recovery rate, aligning Strategic Plans with the QCPR cycle, and presenting integrated budgets, and we commend the UN Development Group for establishing new Standard Operating Procedures for Delivering as One countries and creating an Action Plan for QCPR implementation.  All these steps assure us that the reforms agreed to by Member States are well underway.

Mr. President, we agree that evaluation and the use of evidence-based programming are the core of results-based management.  We read with interest the Secretary General’s note and draft paper on independent system-wide evaluation provided to delegations Wednesday morning.  A well-managed, system-wide evaluation capacity could provide a significant boost in helping agencies to deliver results, and also complement the important work already being done by individual agencies.  We have questions about how it all fits together that need to be addressed so that the system-wide evaluation mechanism meets our collective needs, does not duplicate the activities of other evaluation bodies, and promotes the efficient and effective use of resources.

We would like to recognize those agencies, including UNDP and UNICEF, that have established strong evaluation offices, and encourage them to continue applying the lessons learned from evaluations to improve their performance. Other agencies are in the process of reforming their evaluation functions.  We and other Member States will be paying close attention to implementation, including of UNFPA’s new Evaluation Policy agreed to at the recent Board meeting, to ensure independent and credible evaluation offices across the board.

Second, we want to underscore the importance of the efficient and effective use of resources.  Value for money is critical to donor and recipient countries, and we note the efforts by all agencies to rein in costs, particularly in administrative and support areas, to preserve program funding levels.  Some organizations have achieved significant savings in areas such as travel.  The transparency of such expenditures is important for both Member States and agencies to track progress and ensure accountability. 

When discussing funding of UN operational activities for development, we recognize that both core and non-core funding are important to the financial stability of agencies, as well as their ability to deliver results on the ground.  We welcome the increase in program country self-financed projects, which demonstrate strong national ownership and leadership.  These programs, worth as much as $1 billion annually for some organizations, constitute a growing percentage of agencies’ non-core funding and reflect a widening of the donor pool in the context of the changing development landscape.  Our bottom line in funding UN operational activities is simple: agencies must consistently demonstrate that they are using public resources in the most efficient and effective manner possible.
Third, we share the view of many countries that strengthening the role of the Resident Coordinator is a crucial part of efforts to implement QCPR guidance.  A robust RC system can lead to greater effectiveness and better integration in the field.  We appreciate the continuing efforts by many agencies to nominate strong leaders from within their ranks to the RC system.  We also encourage agencies to consider candidates from outside the UN system who may have relevant experience in areas like crisis management or humanitarian response.  It is also important for agencies to ensure that the RC and the RC Office serve the interests and mandates of the entire UN system, in order to help the different elements of the UN operate in a coherent manner at the country level.

Mr. President, my delegation believes the QCPR was the strongest and most substantive resolution to address the UN development system in many years. We look forward to continuing our close and productive relationship with all the bodies affected by the QCPR as they work to implement its important reforms.  Our goal is one I know we all share: to make the UN development system work better for the people who need it most.  Thank you.

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PRN: 2013/116