ECOSOC: Statement by Minister Plenipotentiary Peter Silberberg on "Operational Activities of the United Nations"

Feb 26, 2014

Mr President,

Germany fully aligns itself with the statement delivered by Greece on behalf of the EU and its member states. In addition, I would like to highlight the following:

First, we take note of the information provided in the SG’s report on the “Implementation of General Assembly resolution 67/226 on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review” and we recognize the challenges to prepare a meaningful and analytical report this year while the 2014 reports of the funds and programmes are not yet available. We would like to underline the crucial role of a report which is to be submitted in due time to the ECOSOC. The report is indispensable to enable ECOSOC to fulfill its mandate regarding the review and assessment of the progress in the implementation of the provisions contained in the QCPR through the operational activities segment of its annual substantive session.

Second, the implementation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) is at the heart of the QCPR reform agenda. We appreciate the progress made last year. In particular, we were pleased to learn that the “Head Quarter Plan of Action” has recently been agreed to by the UNDG.

Country offices have invested a lot during the pilot phase of “Delivering as one” into identifying best practices for more coherent and potentially more efficient UN operations on the ground as now compiled in the SOPs.

It is now the time where the Head Quarter needs to deliver by bringing Head Quarter procedures in line with the SOPs, thus allowing country teams to achieve efficiency gains through decreased duplication of planning and reporting procedures and through harmonized business practices and operations. Comprehensive guidance will need to be in place very soon for the upcoming revision of about 80 UNDAFs in 2014/2015. In this regard, we are looking forward to receiving more information on the standard operating procedures integrated guidance which to our knowledge was finalized last week. We would like to see a swift implementation of this guidance which we understand to be crucial for more coherence at the country level.

Third, we view the cost-sharing mechanism for the Resident Coordinator system as a huge step forward as it will undoubtedly improve the joint performance of the members of the UNDG on the ground.

However, we understand that there is still room for improvement. Only 0.8 % of the budget for UN operational activities for development is now allocated for this purpose. ECOSOC has repeatedly urged the U N development system to provide further financial, technical and organizational support for the resident coordinator system. We therefore call upon the Secretary-General and the UN Development Group to ensure that RCs and UNCTs are indeed being strengthened through the cost-sharing agreement and that the agreement does not result in an overall reduced amount of resources. Germany considers it essential that the impact of the cost-sharing agreement be closely monitored and would appreciate reporting on this by the Secretary-General to the Economic and Social Council next year.

Fourth, business support services are another key element for the efficient implementation of the QCPR. We know about pilot programs of integrated service centres for UNCT operational support in Brazil and to a certain extent in Denmark, Cape Verde and Viet-nam. We would like to see more centres providing efficient services to the UN -System at the country level in the near future and are looking forward to more information in the next report in this regard.

Fifth, Executive Boards of UN Funds and Programmes have decided on new Country Programme Document formats and Board procedures in the first regular sessions 2014. This has been an important progress with a view towards harmonized planning processes at the country level. The QCPR requests proposals on options for the review and approval of the common country programme document for DaO-countries. It is yet to be seen whether this request has already been adequately addressed and what still needs to be achieved to implement the underlying  “Delivering as One” - idea of ONE Programme at the country level. We would appreciate reporting by the Secretary-General to the Economic and Social Council next year on how the situation regarding the coordination of the country programme documents and their contribution to the implementation of the UNDAFs can be identified and monitored.

Thank you, Mr President."

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