· First of all allow me, through you, to welcome Kemal Dervis as new UNDP Administrator, and to say that we found his recent visit to Norway very useful.
· Let me also thank the Administrator for his important statement this morning. He touched on a number of crucial issues which are important to all of us, including my country. Not least is your emphasis on gender very welcome.
· UNDP is a cornerstone of the operational system of the UN, and a crucial partner in much of what we are trying to achieve in international development co-operation.
· Job number one is achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The Secretary General has assigned UNDP a central role in this task. It must be done urgently, and it requires a strong UNDP. As emphasiezed by Mr. Dervis, increased efforts to meet the MDGs should be carried out within the framework of MDG-based Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRSs). The UN country teams should be given a clear mandate to organise their work around such MDG based poverty reduction strategies.
· Secondly, UNDP must focus even more on democratic governance, national ownership and on institutional capacity building, not least in LDCs and in Africa.
· Thirdly; conflict, instability, terrorism and corruption are threatening to undermine governments and states in various parts of the world. The UN and UNDP have a crucial role to play in assisting governments in addressing these threats.
· To advance in these areas, UNDP must continue its reforms. In this respect UNDP must intensify its efforts in recruiting personnel with the right skills in capacity building, policy dialogue and advice, and probably at the expense of the traditional field oriented project-based competence.
· As Administrator of UNDP, Mr. Dervis is also the chair of the UN Development Group, which is spearheading the reform agenda. UN reform is a very high priority for Norway.
· Increased aid volumes must be accompanied by increased aid effectiveness. We appreciate the efforts done by UNDG to follow up the Paris Action Plan of the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. UN agencies should implement the necessary reforms to achieve better harmonisation, alignment and results. The reforms are not ends in themselves, but means of placing developing countries more firmly in the driver’s seat.
· We hope that under Mr. Dervis’ leadership, UNDP’s co-ordinating role in the reform process will be strengthened. Strong and speedy backing by the UN Development Group and the UN Secretariat will be necessary in this regard.
· Donors are moving towards assistance in the form of Sector Wide Approaches (SWAPs) and untied budget support. This poses challenges for the funds and programmes in terms of not becoming marginalised. If reforms fail, my government believes that donors will find other channels than the UN for their increased official development assistance.
· Norway is convinced that we need a more unified and better-coordinated UN at the country level, with a strengthened role for the Resident Co-ordinator, with more authority as well as accountability, and with more integrated mechanisms for joint programming as well as monitoring.
· Next week our Heads of State and Government will meet to agree on reforms for the United Nations, also in the development arena. It is crucial that we use this opportunity to identify and promote the advantages of the organisation as well as agree to measures that will make it more effective and relevant in today’s world.