Launching the Report of the High Level Panel

10/24/2008 // "You, the member states are the owners, and you deserve to see the results and to hold the UN accountable," Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said at the launch of the High Level Panels reform report, “Delivering as One”. The Panel was established to explore how the UN system could work more coherently and effectively in the areas of development, humanitarian assistance and the environment.

Madam President
Mr. Secretary-General,

When I was asked to serve as co-chair for this Panel, I was at first reluctant, and asked myself if such a task could be reconciled with my duties as Prime Minister of Norway. I concluded that I should accept. It was essential to bring a pro UN donors perspective to the process, and I do bring that in.

Norway is planning to give 0.97 per cent for development assistance next year, having reached the 0.9-target years ago.

Moreover, I represent a country which is among the strongest supporters of the UN and among its largest donors in real terms. We belong to the many around the world who truly and deeply want a more effective UN. A UN that is a true center of excellence.

I believe that other donors too, will renew their commitments to the UN, and will be more positively inclined to increase their funding of UN activities, if the UN modernizes.

If it delivers better results, for the benefit of the weak and impoverished, for funds that can be accounted for, and if it is made subject to independent evaluation, –

If it continues to improve its record in achieving the Millennium Goals and other internationally agreed development objectives, –

Then – it will be more eligible for increased, long term funding.

Today, all managements, public and private, are measured against their results, and have to renew their contracts of trust with their owners.
You, the member states are the owners, and you deserve to see the results and to hold the UN accountable. You have it in your hands to take or reject many of the recommendations we are presenting. But rejecting them would be a very radical position in the face of compelling need for reform.
And remember: We do not recommend that one solution is appropriate in all countries. We are sensitized to differences between countries and the principle of country ownership.

We call for stronger coherence and coordination at country as well as headquarters level, removal of unnecessary duplication, adoption of business practises based on performance and measuring of results, and long term predictable funding.

Our vision is for the UN to deliver as one in the areas of development, humanitarian assistance and the environment based on the needs and priorities of the countries themselves. The establishment of a One UN at country level with One leader, One programme, One budget and One office, where appropriate, is at the heart of our report. We need to support that by improved governance at headquarter level.

The establishment of a UN Sustainable Development Board with the appointment of a UN development coordinator, will provide for coordination, coherence and oversight at headquarters level. The Board should supersede the joint Boards of the development agencies.

The Board will make decisions, endorse country programmes, and allocate funding from voluntary contributions. It will commission independent evaluation and drive coordination and coherence. It will report to ECOSOC.

Efficiency gains must be pursued through better business practices in all entities. Any savings should be channelled back into country programmes. Other business practices, such as human resource policies including incentives for mobility, planning and results-based management, unified data systems etc. should be upgraded and harmonized across the UN system as a driver for better performance and results.

The establishment of a Millennium Development Goal funding mechanism will provide multiyear-funding for the UN country programmes – and a guiding principle – funding should be based on performance and results.

In the area of Humanitarian assistance – the UN should have an enhanced role in coordinating between governments and the NGOs. A fully funded Central Emergency Response Fund will be crucial.

In the area of Environment we want to establish the United Nations Environment Programme as the central environmental pillar of the UN system.

And we have proposed a stronger voice for women. A dynamic, independent UN entity for gender equality and women’s empowerment should be established, by consolidating the three existing UN entities – UNIFEM, Office of the Special Advisor on Gender Issues, and UN Division for the Advancement of Women.

Such a new entity will have a stronger normative and advocacy role, and a targeted programming role. The gender entity should be fully and ambitiously funded.

We have had some discussions about what ambitiously means. Many thought that 200 million dollars was an indicative figure. Others found that too stingy. We decided not to mention a figure.

Gender should from now on be an integral part of all UN activities, not least the One Country Programmes, and remain the responsibility of all UN organizations. We recommend that the new entity be headed by an Under-Secretary-General. Such an elevation of gender issues seems long overdue. It is now for the UN to take the needed corrective action.

Finally, it is an honour to share this podium with The Secretary-General and to thank him for his services towards humanity.

It is an honour to be under your guidance, Madam President, in this crucial time of change for the UN.
And it has been an honour to work with my co- chairs. Respected leaders such as Mr. Shaukat Aziz, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, and Ms. Luisa Diogo, Prime Minister of Mozambique. Our cooperation has also served to bring Pakistan, Mozambique and Norway even closer together, and I am deeply grateful for that opportunity.

Thank you

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