This joint statement on behalf of the six countries to Governing Bodies of relevant UN organizations on UN Delivering as One has so far been delivered on 22 May 2008 during the World Health Assembly in Geneva and at the UNICEF Board meeting 3 June 2008.
Mr. / Ms. Chairperson,
During a recent mission of the United Kingdom, Norway and the Netherlands to Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania, it became clear that there is a remarkable convergence of views on Delivering as One among these six countries. It was decided to prepare a joint statement for the Boards of all relevant UN agencies. This statement was first delivered on 22 May during the World Health Assembly in Geneva.
The United Nations is a valuable partner in development for both developing and donor countries. Because we value the UN, we want the UN to maximize its contribution to the development process in developing countries by working as effectively as possible. The UN Delivering as One is the most promising effort to ensure that the UN becomes more than the sum of its parts – meeting the expectations of both developing countries that put trust in the UN as a developing partner in our countries, and donors that channel billions of dollars annually through the UN.
We are convinced that a more coherent and effective UN, responsive to host Government priorities, will be key in meeting the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. That is why Malawi, Mozambique, the United Republic of Tanzania, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom are working together in making the Delivering as One a success. While progress has been made, more is needed, not least from the direction of UN headquarters. Following recent consultations between our countries on the status and challenges of Delivering as One, we urge UN headquarters to contribute to making necessary progress at country level in the following priority areas:
- Delivering as One is not a budget-cutting exercise. Savings on administrative costs are already evidenced in pilot countries. In order to realize the benefits of Delivering as One, these savings should be transferred to program activities. However, currently Headquarters’ rules and regulations make this difficult. We ask the UN headquarters to show how these savings lead to increased funding for development purposes in the country where the savings were realized.
- Different rules, regulations, planning periods, reporting requirements, procurement systems and other business practices are hampering progress on Delivering as One. We ask the UN Headquarters to rapidly resolve these problems that have been recognized for many years. We recognize the UN Chief Executives Board’s efforts in this regard, but request that the lessons learned in developing countries engaged in Delivering as One are utilized in this regard.
- A harmonized UN Delivering as One at country level clearly requires an empowered and strengthened Resident Coordinator. We request the UNDP and other UN headquarters, including the Specialized Agencies, to rapidly resolve the so-called “firewall” issue and empower and strengthen the RC so that he/she can fulfill their role in helping the UN deliver more effectively and collectively as one by embracing the development strategies of programme countries.
- No one size fits all. One Programme with One Budgetary Framework, One UN Team, One Team Leader and, where possible, One Office with common services are key. However, how these elements will be constituted in each country will depend on that country’s requirements and will require experimentation, including UN participation in pooled funding for sector-wide assistance programs. We ask the UN headquarters to allow the necessary innovation by decentralizing decision-making powers to the country level, and accept pooled funding and harmonized reporting to headquarters.
- The UN is well placed to build national capacities in a number of areas. As part of these functions the UN should, to a much larger extent and wherever possible, align with and utilize national budgetary systems for issues such as resource reporting and procurement. We request UN Headquarters to encourage UN at country level to make full use of these opportunities. In addition, we urge all headquarters, including those of the specialized agencies, to use national execution to the maximum extent possible.
- Finally, the UN can not and should not do everything. Like any other development actor, it will be most effective when it concentrates its efforts where it has the most to offer. Importantly, the UN Headquarters and headquarters of various agencies should urgently address the issue of overlapping instructions to their country teams. Therefore, priority setting in aligning with Government priorities needs to be pursued with vigor. But this has to be complemented by untied, unconditional and predictable funding from donors.
The UN doing its part on these challenges, we are determined to do our part in providing required national leadership at country level, and ensure untied, unconditional and predictable funding to making the UN Deliver as One a reality to the benefit of the people not yet benefiting from the standards envisioned in the Millennium Development Goals.