Annual Meeting of the UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board: Remarks by Ambassador Berger

Jun 10, 2013

(Statement as delivered by Ambassador Miguel Berger, Deputy Permanent Representative, at the Annual Meeting of the UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board)

"President, 

Madame Administrator, Members of the Executive Board, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Let me begin by congratulating the Administrator on her confirmation for a second term in office. This is a clear expression of support from members states for the reforms she has initiated and overseen, both as Administrator of UNDP and as chair of the UN Development Group (UNDG). 

Let me also use this opportunity to thank the Administrator and the entire organization for the work done and the results achieved under the last strategic plan. UNDP staff has contributed remarkably to advancing human development and strengthening national capacities around the world, often under highly demanding and challenging circumstances. 

Germany appreciates UNDPs strong focus on poverty reduction and accelerated progress towards the achievement of the MDGs by 2015, both in raising awareness on the global level as well as supporting progress in countries. UNDP has proven that it has comparative advantages in strengthening democratic governance and supporting countries to manage risks stemming from conflict and natural disasters or those recovering from crises. 

At the same time UNDP has undergone comprehensive evaluations of its thematic areas of engagement, its global and regional programmes and the strategic plan itself. This is a indication of UNDPs willingness to learn from past experience and to further improve the way the organization contributes to the achievement of development results. We appreciate the readiness of management to take on board the recommendations coming out of these evaluations and look forward to learn how they informed the draft strategic plan and – over the course of the next years – how they will help to improve UNDPs performance, e.g. regarding poverty eradication. 

UNDP has also become a more transparent and accountable organization over the last years, with a strong and independent Office of Audit and Oversight and the commitment to make publicly available its internal audit reports. 

The evaluations show that UNDP achieves the best results and is most efficient when it follows a focussed approach, building on the strengths of the organization. We appreciate that UNDPs activities have become more focussed and less fragmented over the last years, including through the closing of trust funds and projects. While we recognize the substantial progress, a lot more still needs to be done. 

We acknowledge that results-based management and results reporting has somewhat improved over the last years. But we are concerned by the fact that UNDP is still not able to measure and clearly demonstrate its impact and its contribution to development results. This underlines the urgent need to equip UNDP with a robust results framework, with indicators, targets and baselines, at output, outcome and impact level. 

President, 

Evaluations have also pointed to the fact that the UN development system has its greatest impact when action is coordinated and in alignment with national priorities. UNDP fulfils a unique and extremely important role in this regard, as it coordinates the UN system and supports national governments in coordinating the international community at country level. The importance of this role was also acknowledged by the German Chancellor in a public debate with the UNDP Administrator in Germany in May this year. 

In order to fulfil this function, the UN in general and UNDP in particular needs good and empowered Resident Coordinators as representatives of the entire UN system at country level, which are supported by equally empowered and accountable UN Country Teams. Germany has high expectations towards the swift implementation of the QCPR resolution of the GA and the Standard Operating Procedures for the Delivering as One initiative in this regard. 

We would like to thank the Administrator for her role in advancing the reform of the way the UN Development System works on the ground. We expect that she will equally forcefully drive forward the harmonization of business practices and the removal the bottlenecks for the implementation of Delivering as One, in order to allow the full realization of efficiency gains by the whole UN System. For example, a lot of analysis has been undertaken to address fragmentation in the area of procurement and to come up with a more efficient UN procurement system. What is still missing is the implementation of concrete steps in this regard. 

President, 

The Executive Board has asked UNDP management to fulfil a challenging task: To develop and present for approval by the Executive Board in September this year an new Strategic Plan (2014 – 2017), an integrated results and resources framework and an integrated budget. These three documents are highly interdependent. 

As a Executive Board we have the responsibility to provide management with the guidance it needs to complete this complex tasks. We therefore appeal to all members of the Executive Board to work constructively together in order to be able to provide the required guidance. 

We appreciated the open and interactive approach used by UNDP in the development of the new strategic plan and are grateful for the tremendous effort and work which has gone into the draft we have before us today. 

We think that the eradication of extreme poverty and a substantial reduction of inequality and exclusion using a sustainable human development approach is a powerful vision for UNDP. UNDPs trademark is its focus on human development while ensuring that progress is sustainable. 

The seven outcome areas proposed demonstrate UNDPs focus on multidimensional approaches to achieve sustainable development and they include the areas where UNDP has demonstrated comparative advantages. At the same time, the outcome areas described are still quite wide and further focus might be desirable. We also see a need for further refinements in the results framework and the associated theories of change. For example the background paper on  ‘Theory of Change’ for Outcome 4 touches upon UNDPs role in a thoughtful narrative way but does not capture UNDPs contribution to results in concrete result oriented terms. 

Given that the discussions on the post-2015 development agenda have only just started, the need to adjust UNDPs strategic plan to bring it in line with a then internationally agreed new agenda for the post-2015 period could be addressed in the mid-term review of the strategic plan. While we recognize the need to complete projects already agreed but no longer covered by the strategic plan, we think that such projects need to be phased out. We do not see the imperative for including a provision similar to a contingency fund. 

Thank you, President."

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