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ECOSOC/7085
18 May 2022
2022 Session, 16th & 17th Meetings (AM & PM)

Regional Mechanisms Pivotal in Addressing Transboundary Challenges, Officials Note, as Operational Activities for Development Segment Continues

Addressing complex, multisectoral challenges that transcend borders requires mapping and effectively utilizing United Nations development expertise across regions to respond to changing demands at the national level, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said today, as the Economic and Social Council continued its annual operational activities for development session.

A “perfect storm” of crises, including rising inequality and ongoing financial disruptions, are being felt across borders, said Ms. Mohammed, as she opened today’s formal session with a keynote address.  As no country can address these issues alone, regions have an essential role to play in mobilizing advocacy, targeted solutions and support to meet these challenges.  To this end, regional collaborative platforms are now fully established in all regions of the world and, in each of them, resident coordinators and United Nations country teams are benefiting from consistent support at the regional level.

She said that work remains to be done, however, as only slightly more than half of programme country Governments have indicated that expertise from the regional offices of United Nations development system entities was easy to access.  As such, every region must provide updated mapping of the expertise available at the regional level that can be accessed by resident coordinators in real-time.  Further, data challenges must be urgently addressed to allow for effective monitoring and reporting on progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

For too long, she emphasized, United Nations regional entities were left outside of reforms and efforts to enhance the coherence of the Organization’s development system.  Additionally, work at the regional level has been omitted from system-wide reporting, which has led to an accountability gap on the one hand and made success stories largely invisible on the other.  “We are in the process of changing this reality”, she said, adding that “our litmus test remains our ability to respond as a system, in real-time and efficiently, to changing demands from the country level”.

The Council then held an interactive session centred on the role of regional leadership in supporting countries.  During that discussion, officials described how regional mechanisms are working to address transboundary challenges in their regions, including Europe and Central Asia, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean and Africa.  They also detailed how regional collaborative platforms can coalesce regional expertise across the United Nations development system to provide increased support and capacity to both United Nations country teams and to national Governments.  Member States also asked questions about these regional mechanisms, inquiring about their cost, how lessons learned in one region can be shared across all and how to avoid duplication of effort when creating additional structures in the United Nations development system.

In the afternoon, the Council heard a keynote address by Mondli Gungubele, Minister in the Presidency of South Africa, who said that his Government is encouraged by United Nations efforts to “put to work” the Sustainable Development Goals.  The newly repositioned development system provides more integrated, efficient support to countries, while also moving away from a “one-size-fits-all” approach to respect the principles of national leadership and ownership.  “This is not the time to be complacent as we try to build back better from COVID-19,” he said, calling for an “all hands on deck approach”.

The Council then held a second interactive session, during which delegates were able to make comments and pose questions to the executive heads of various United Nations development system entities, including the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).  Against the backdrop of the development system’s reform and strengthening, officials from those entities shared how their newly approved strategic plans respond to the 2020 quadrennial comprehensive policy review mandate, especially its call for more integrated support for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda by all development system actors.  Member States then posed detailed questions on matters relating to funding, efficiency, accountability and competition between United Nations system entities.

The Council will reconvene in a formal session at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, 19 May, to conclude its operational activities for development segment.

Interactive Session IV

AMINA MOHAMMED, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, delivering the session’s keynote address, said that a “perfect storm” of crises — rising inequalities, a shrinking fiscal space and ongoing financial disruptions — are being felt across borders.  While no country can address these issues alone, regions have an essential role to play in mobilizing advocacy, targeted solutions and support to address cross-border challenges.  Noting that the regional collaborative platforms are now fully established in all regions, she said that, in every region, resident coordinators and United Nations country teams have benefited from consistent support from the regional level.  This has resulted in more ambitious cooperation frameworks, and the issue-based coalitions — one of the main vehicles for the substantive work of the regional collaborative platforms — are providing agile support to countries’ key concerns.

She went on to say, however, that work remains to be done as only slightly more than half of programme country Governments have indicated that expertise from the regional offices of United Nations development system entities was easy to access.  Moving forward, it must be ensured that regional assets best support countries in important transitions in the areas of food systems, energy and digital connectivity.  To do this, every region must provide updated mapping of the expertise available at the regional level that can be accessed by resident coordinators in real-time.  Further — with less than eight years to go before 2030 — she stressed the need to urgently address data challenges to allow for effective monitoring and reporting on progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Improved coordination structures must also be used to maximize the impact of regional assets, avoiding duplication of effort and using newly developed business operation strategies to drive effective responses.

For too long, she emphasized, United Nations regional entities were left outside of reforms and efforts to enhance the coherence of the United Nations development system.  Additionally, work at the regional level has been omitted from system-wide reporting, which has led to an accountability gap on the one hand and made success stories largely invisible on the other.  “We are in the process of changing this reality,” she said, welcoming the key role of the regional commissions in supporting and enabling these changes.  “Our litmus test remains our ability to respond as a system, in real-time and efficiently, to changing demands from the country level,” she stressed, “and for our collective actions to bring results at scale towards the Sustainable Development Goals”.

An interactive dialogue was then held on the theme of “Regional Repositioning:  Role of regional leadership in supporting countries”.  Moderated by Robert Piper, Assistant Secretary-General, Development Coordination Office, it featured presentations by:  Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) and Regional Commissions Coordinator; Kanni Wignaraja, Regional Collaborative Platform Vice Chair and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Director for the Asia-Pacific Region; Philipp Schönrock, Director of the Centro de Pensamiento Estratégico Internacional; Jose Samaniego, Regional Director for the Americas Bureau, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); and Yacoub El Hillo, Development Coordination Office Regional Director for Africa.

Mr. PIPER, highlighting the concentration of expertise and capability across United Nations entities, said that a “brain trust” exists at the regional level that is crucial to success.  Regional reforms aim to leverage the same to service country teams and to address cross-border issues that cannot be solved within the borders of one country.  The thought leadership of the United Nations at the regional level is needed on matters such as water management, human trafficking and trade, as is the cross-regional sharing of experience.  He stressed that lessons must be learned from efforts undertaken — both the good and the bad — as Governments not only want access to this experience, but expect the United Nations to deliver it.

Ms. ALGAYEROVA said that, in Europe and Central Asia, the main vehicles of support at the regional level have been the issue-based coalitions — groups of United Nations entities that offer joint support, expertise, knowledge, analysis and advocacy on complex, multisectoral issues such as health, gender equality, sustainable food systems and climate change.  Noting that resident coordinators and United Nations country teams from 17 programme countries in the region have asked the regional level for support on the issues of climate change and digitalization, she pointed out that the regional issue-based coalition on climate change has focused on supporting country teams with technical assistance and training, along with policy advice and advocacy on sustainable recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  Further, it also addressed several priority issues identified by the country teams, including air pollution and transboundary water cooperation.

She went on to say that digitalization also remains a key accelerator of progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, as information and communications technologies (ICT) allow for the delivery of quality services in fields such as education, health care, finance, commerce, governance and agriculture.  As such, the regional digital transformation group for Europe and Central Asia has implemented a number of flagship initiatives supporting digital transformation in the region, providing policy guidance to country teams.  These examples, she said, demonstrate that concrete, impactful support can be provided by the United Nations system at the regional level across countries in key areas of structural transformation.

Ms. WIGNARAJA said that the only way to provide a meaningful response to current development challenges in the Asia-Pacific region is to bring together the best of the Organization’s knowledge and expertise.  These challenges are significant and include the accelerating pace and intensity of climate change, which poses an existential threat to the regional economy, livelihood and environment.  The region has lost 2,000 years of ice in the last 30 years alone, which feeds 10 rivers that support the livelihood of 2 billion people.  To address these challenges, she said, regional collaborative platforms have provided technical support to over 30 countries in the region in translating global commitments to national action.  Efforts must now focus on helping countries in the region secure long-term financing, both public and private, to make these transitions.

Noting that countries in the region also face debt distress, ongoing conflict and rising inflation, she emphasized that rapid recovery from COVID-19 has been “less than evident”.  Against that backdrop, collective efforts were reset earlier in 2022 to focus on socioeconomic recovery, including debt restructuring, social protection and supporting Governments to implement fiscal reform and to improve delivery of public services.  She went on to stress that human-made conflicts — like those in Myanmar and Afghanistan — have exacerbated existing fragilities, causing populations to tip into extremely vulnerable situations.  In these situations, community well-being and local economic recovery “starts from day one”, she said, adding that “this is development now”, which must place a high value on people and aim to receive high value from money spent.

Mr. SCHÖNROCK detailed the regional review process, in which more than 1,000 staff members were interviewed to determine how best to provide the expertise needed across regions.  Such interviews revealed that, while there are more pressing issues that need to be addressed than reforming internal United Nations processes, if those structures are not effective then the United Nations development system will not be able to coherently respond to transboundary issues.  The system itself is the biggest barrier to change, but focusing only on those barriers is unfair because the system has made progress, both on the analytical front — such as providing data to Governments — and on the operational side, such as programme delivery and support provided at the regional level.  He stressed that regional collaborative platforms must provide incentives for collaboration and implement more systematic outreach to external partners.  Data interoperability is also crucial, as systems must talk to each other across regions to provide regional asset mapping and to deploy expertise and policy advice.  He stressed that the regional level needs more investment of time and resources, not less.

The floor was then opened to Member States for comments and questions.

The representative of the United States welcomed the information provided today on how regional mechanisms are working.  Noting the less-understood nature of the functioning of regional coordination mechanisms and the funding pressure on the resident coordinator system, he asked if specific cost numbers could be provided and if regional mechanisms could be economized to reduce the bill of the entire resident coordinator system.

The representative of the United Kingdom asked if there is a consistent set of tools and resources that could be deployed across regions to support prevention approaches within regional collaborative platforms and issue-based coalitions.  She also asked how the issue-based coalitions are focusing their work on addressing the drivers of conflict and how regional offices might support countries when surge capacity is needed.

The representative of France, noting that regional platforms support regional projects and provide expertise, asked what links exist between such platforms and different regional organizations already implementing and supporting regional projects.  He also asked, when expertise is provided, if there is a choice as to whether specific or generalized expertise is made available.

The representative of Canada asked how regional offices are ensuring that lessons learned are being shared systematically across United Nations country teams to enable peer exchange and learning.  She also asked how to provide better technical support to United Nations country teams, particularly those that do not have an embedded gender-equality adviser.

Ms. ALGAYEROVA, responding to the representative of the United States, said that there is no additional cost for the regional collaborative platform, as it is composed of regional entities each with individual budgets.  There is also no added cost for issue-based coalitions.  To the representative of the United Kingdom, she said that the development pillar mainly focuses on economic, environmental and social areas, with no mandate related to conflict.  However, as conflict exists in the region and economics are not easily separated from politics, colleagues from political departments are invited to meetings of the regional collaborative platform.

Ms. WIGNARAJA, also responding to questions and comments, stressed the importance of all agencies providing incentives for collaboration, which results in a cost-effective model.  To the representative of the United Kingdom, she said that conflict prevention is a collaborative issue and, to avoid a large humanitarian caseload, both prevention and development must be emphasized.  To the representative of France, she said that specified expertise is usually provided, save for the initial surge that requires general capacity to get things moving.  To the representative of Canada, she said that the biggest lesson learned on social protection is the need to insist on the lifecycle approach.

The dialogue then featured presentations by the remaining two panellists.

Mr. SAMANIEGO pointed out that Latin America and the Caribbean are facing a major human mobility crisis, as hundreds of thousands of families are traveling dangerous paths in search of a better life.  Current mobility patterns have been triggered by multiple, interrelated causes, including socioeconomic challenges, inequality, violence, deteriorating human-rights situations and the adverse effects of climate change and COVID-19.  Further, protection risks have increased, including gender-based violence and human trafficking.  Against that backdrop, he stressed the necessity of efforts to ensure a more predictable, coordinated response to address the needs of people on the move.

To this end, he detailed efforts by the issue-based coalition on human mobility, which represents a practical, effective mechanism that can support United Nations country teams and resident coordinators to address challenges occurring from mixed movements in the region.  Such efforts include communication and advocacy; data and information management; the provision of specialized technical assistance to strengthen United Nations country teams in areas such as emergency preparedness and humanitarian response; and visibility and resource mobilization.  The coalition serves as a clear example of how the United Nations system can promote regional efforts to address a complex crisis like that of human mobility and support countries of origin, transit and destination.

Mr. EL HILLO underscored the importance of the Africa region, where 40 per cent of resident coordinators are serving.  He outlined the challenges facing the region, including climate, where Africa is experiencing the greatest levels of warming and sea-level rise despite contributing the least to the problem of climate change.  The region also faces the challenges of COVID-19; old and new conflicts; coup d’états; increasing costs of food, fuel and fertilizer due to the war in Ukraine; and capital flight in which, due to illicit resource transfer, $98 billion leaves Africa every year.  This is the context in which reform of the United Nations development system is being pursued, but he noted that the technical support provided by the regional collaborative platform has helped improve the quality and timeliness of United Nations responses to national sustainable-development challenges.

Noting increased interest in using regional assets, he said that the operationalization of new frameworks towards this end occurs by leveraging regional technical expertise to help expand the capacity and contribution of the United Nations presence on the ground.  As a result of this new approach, the number of United Nations entities contributing to the implementation of the sustainable development cooperation framework in Uganda has risen from 19 to 29, as agencies without a physical presence in the country are able to participate equally.  He further highlighted that, in South Africa, resident and non-resident agencies have deployed existing resources to guide the implementation of the cooperation framework in that country in partnership with the Government.

Mr. SCHÖNROCK pointed out that regional collaborative platforms and issue-based coalitions are cost-neutral and should stay so.  However, investment is needed for knowledge-management and data platforms to provide residential coordinators and United Nations country teams with access to real-time data.  Further, better communication is required both internally and externally, as regional mechanisms have lessons learned and stories to tell that are not currently being heard at the regional or global levels.

The floor was then again opened to Member States for questions and comments.

The representative of Mexico, emphasizing that resident coordinators and United Nations country teams must have experts to timely detect the needs and priorities for each country and region, expressed hope that updated mapping of regional expertise will be conducted to help with the COVID-19 response.  He also stressed the need for the United Nations development system to coordinate with regional economic commissions, as the knowledge, good practices and policy proposals emanating therefrom will be cost-effective for the system.

The representative of Morocco welcomed the support provided by the regional collaborative platform for issues in Africa including climate action, the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, migration, mobility and food security.  She called for better integrated solutions to link the regional and national levels, along with further efforts to strengthen dialogue between the two so that issue-based coalitions can fulfil their role.  She also asked how to strengthen the role of economic commissions in facilitating regional and national dialogue.

The representative of India asked to hear more about specific examples where collaboration between the United Nations regional presence and existing regional architecture has gone beyond a few meetings and resulted in a co-owned initiative implemented by the United Nations regional presence and a particular regional organization.  She also asked how collaboration on fiscal sustainability and debt burden works at the regional level as, for many of these issues, the lead policymaking agency is not strictly within the United Nations development system.

The representative of Egypt, stressing the importance of efforts to avoid duplication of action, asked how such duplication can be avoided.  Given that having more structures in place leads to a higher risk of duplication and complication, she also asked how this will be addressed within the context of the regional collaborative platform.

Mr. SAMANIEGO, responding to questions and comments, said that the coordination between United Nations country teams and regional architecture is clear in Central America, where the priority is addressing the complex flows of Central Americans and mixed movement from the South.  This situation demonstrates the advantage of issue-based coalitions, which pragmatically involve the most affected countries; namely, those of movement, origin and destination.  Spotlighting the benefit of developing common messaging and sharing data on early warning and preparedness, he said that the same have been useful tools that can be replicated in other mobility situations.

Mr. EL HILLO, spotlighting the Sustainable Development Goals for Africa Investment Mobilization Summit that will occur in Nairobi over 24‑26 May, said that this is a partnership between the United Nations and the private sector, supported by the new collaborative approach under the regional collaborative platform with substantive input from concerned opportunity/issue-based coalitions.  Private-sector stakeholders from across the continent will showcase innovative approaches to doing business in a way sensitive to, and centred on, the Sustainable Development Goals, and this demonstrates that there are not only issues in Africa, but emerging opportunities.

Ms. WIGNARAJA, noting the differing expertise of United Nations entities and regional initiatives, said that issues of debt are addressed by drawing in expertise to particular countries, which then works in-country with international financial institutions to examine debt-distress issues.

Ms. ALGAYEROVA pointed out that issue-based coalitions and regional collaborative platforms are not operational; rather, they provide a regional perspective for dealing with transboundary issues.

Interactive Session V

The Council then convened its next interactive session, which featured a dialogue between Member States and the executive heads of the United Nations development system.  Moderated by Ivan Šimonović, Permanent Representative of Croatia, it featured the following speakers: Achim Steiner, Vice-Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group and Administrator of UNDP; Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); Catherine M. Russell, Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); Sima Bahous, Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women); and Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).  Mondli Gungubele, Minister in the Presidency of South Africa, delivered a pre-recorded keynote address.

Mr. GUNGUBELE said his Government is encouraged by the United Nations efforts to “put to work” the Sustainable Development Goals.  The Sustainable Development Goals Cooperation Framework, recently adopted by South Africa and the United Nations development system, seeks to strengthen partnerships to deliver on the 2030 Agenda.  Noting that the newly repositioned development system provides more integrated and efficient support to countries in that regard, he said it also moves away from a “one-size-fits-all” approach and respects the principles of national leadership and ownership.  The Framework is closely aligned with South Africa’s Vision 2030, its medium-term strategic framework, and the African Union Agenda 2063, with core goals including eradicating poverty, growing an inclusive economy, building human capital, improving climate resilience and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society.  “This is not the time to be complacent as we try to build back better from COVID-19,” he said, calling instead for an “all hands on deck” approach.

Mr. ŠIMONOVIĆ said that, with only eight years to go, the world is off track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by their 2030 deadline.  While some progress was achieved, it was not fast enough, and it was set back even further by COVID-19 and the impacts of the war in Ukraine.  On the positive side, the 2020 quadrennial comprehensive policy review was a success and found broad commitment to making the United Nations development system more efficient, effective and accountable.  Welcoming those reforms, he declared:  “The United Nations development system has improved its support to Member States […] all over the world.”  Noting widespread support for the resident coordinator system, he said it is now time to look forward to better understand what else can be done by the development system entities carrying out work on the ground.  In that vein, he asked the panellists to share some practical experience, including by detailing how their entities’ new strategic plans reflect the “new ways of working” emerging from the repositioning of the development system and the 2020 quadrennial comprehensive policy review.

Ms. RUSSELL said UNICEF’s strategic plan is fully aligned with the quadrennial comprehensive policy review and is designed to build shock-resilient systems which are critical for vulnerable children around the globe.  UNICEF is now part of the United Nations country team system, and as such is engaged in the Common Country Analyses and the Cooperation Frameworks processes that guide all the development system’s work at the country level.  That close engagement allows UNICEF to flexibly tailor its partnerships to the exact needs on the ground, such as identifying and closing financing gaps.  Outlining several examples, she cited partnerships with UN-Women in fighting female genital mutilation, while stressing the need for even more improved flexibility and predictability of funding.

Ms. BAHOUS said United Nations coordination and placing the needs and rights of women at the centre of the Organization’s development efforts are among her core priorities as Executive Director of UN-Women.  Another priority is to invest in programme countries and to ensure that all solutions are informed “by what works” on the ground.  UN-Women welcomed the gender-specific mandates of the 2020 quadrennial comprehensive policy review, as well as the renewed focus on financial accountability in that area, and it supports the Funding Compact which underlines the need to maintain funding flexibility.

Ms. ANDERSEN, stressing that all of society stands on the foundation of a healthy environment, reported that UNEP’s new strategic plan was recently fully approved.  Noting that the Environmental Management Group, which she chairs, seeks to bring the environmental dimension into the work of all United Nations entities, she added that, as a small agency, UNEP can only succeed through the resident coordinator system and through the agency’s close collaboration with other entities.  “We’ve grown wings through this engagement,” she said.

Ms. KANEM said the newly strengthened development system — reformed in line with the quadrennial comprehensive policy review — reinforces UNFPA’s commitment to mutual accountability and to system-wide results at the country level.  The agency brings a range of population data to the table, collaborating with other United Nations entities on programmes related to the rights of women and girls.  Responding to the moderator’s question of what has changed since the development system’s repositioning, she said UNFPA’s resource mobilization of non-core funding has increased dramatically.  It also gives more prominence in its strategic plan to nexus complementarity between the humanitarian and development spheres, and includes more prevention activities alongside the provision of life-saving humanitarian interventions where required.

Mr. STEINER said UNDP, like other entities, has now moved from a “making the reform happen” paradigm to realizing the actual benefits of its roll-out.  There is now a much more systems-oriented approach which identifies what UNDP can contribute to the United Nations development system’s work.  Spotlighting the strides achieved by the system in response to the pandemic — both in an immediate sense, but also in dealing with the economic and social fallout facing many countries — he also cited today’s dual challenge of addressing increasing food insecurity and other shocks while simultaneously dealing with countries’ shrinking fiscal space and rising debts.  There is also more attention by United Nations development system entities to the lessons they have been learning, as they increasingly see themselves as part of a broad emergency response while also working to sow the seeds of a “build back better” recovery.

The panellists also responded to related questions on the importance of core funding, the use of “strategic foresight” and data, and their entities’ efforts to overcome bottlenecks.

In the ensuing dialogue, many delegates posed detailed questions to the panellists on matters relating to funding, efficiency, accountability and competition between United Nations system entities.

The representative of Colombia, noting the positive progress achieved in recent years by the United Nations development system, said in her country those strides have led to more effective and efficient United Nations programming.  Stressing that the development system is critical to support the Governments of middle-income countries in implementing the 2030 Agenda, given their limited access to concessional financing, she asked the panellists how the United Nations various agencies, funds and programmes can work together to prevent further development backsliding and how the development system is working to be better prepared for future global crises.

The representative of Sweden, noting that her country provides 1 per cent of its gross national income to official development assistance (ODA) and prioritizes core funding, asked the panellists how to minimize the resource competition that still exists between United Nations entities in some cases.

Denmark’s representative asked the panellists to describe the single biggest obstacle they face in delivering sustainable development results on the ground, and asked them “what do you need from us?” — the Member States — apart from more funding.

The representative of the United Kingdom asked the panellists what steps they are taking to ensure their expertise is accessible in areas where they are not present on the ground.  She also underlined the need to ensure that resident coordinators review programme country documents and ensure they are aligned with national development plans and asked the panellists to address the matters of efficiency and performance appraisals.

The representative of Canada, expressing her country’s strong support for the reform agenda, asked how implementation is being fully aligned vis-á-vis joint work plans, reviews and reporting.

The representative of the United States asked the panellists how the Management and Accountability Framework could be further improved to help their entities work more effectively.

Responding, Ms. RUSSELL said the biggest obstacle still facing UNICEF is keeping track of its ability to further its goals, given its large size and scope.  She also urged the United Nations system to hold fewer meetings, which take up an enormous amount of time and energy.

Ms. ANDERSEN, addressing the question about preventing backsliding, agreed with the call made by Colombia’s delegate about the need to prepare for future crises.  Regarding the matter of funding competition between United Nations entities, she expressed her opinion that “the more folks in the funding environment, the better”, as long as everyone enters “from their own on-ramp”.  She also replied to the representative of Denmark that additional financing is, indeed, what is needed most.

DIENE KEITA, Deputy Executive Director of UNFPA, took Ms. Kanem’s place on the podium, and responded that resident coordinators must be engaged in the process of developing “asks” from non-resident agencies.  The United Nations development system must coordinate not only at the country level but also at the regional level to ensure more efficiency and coherence, she added.

Mr. STEINER, also responding to the questions and comments posed, said every agency is first and foremost accountable to its own governing board.  Entities are still fine-tuning the Management and Accountability Framework to ensure its clarity in that regard, he said, also citing some emerging evidence that there is no “one-size-fits-all” model for an optimally sized resident coordinator’s office.  The question is no longer whether United Nations entities are retooling themselves to allow the resident coordinator system to thrive, but whether the various resident coordinators’ offices are enabling the United Nations agencies, funds and programmes to perform better.  He added that, in a shrinking ODA environment, the cutbacks in development financing seen in the last 12 months by longstanding large donors are deeply worrying, as the development system is already chronically underfunded.

Ms. BAHOUS said the provision of core funds allows development system entities to repurpose funds faster and more easily.  When there is not enough core funding, pooled funding mechanisms can provide opportunities for more coordination.  She proposed the inclusion of a specific gender-equality target within funding structures, which can operate as an important incentive, and cited the 30 per cent gender target embedded in the Peacebuilding Fund as a positive example.

Also participating were the representatives of Spain, Switzerland and Germany.

For information media. Not an official record.