H.E. Mr. Wegger C. Strømmen
Deputy Permanent Representative
New York , 9 June 2004
I thank Director Joe Judd for his presentation of the report on UNICEF’s experience in joint programming and other innovative and collaborative approaches. We are pleased to have this opportunity to discuss in particular the usefulness of joint programming. Norway fully align herself to the statement made by Denmark.
Let me explain why Norway attaches so much importance to the topic of joint programming:
The greatest challenge facing the world today is to combat poverty. If we are to lift 1.2 billion people out of poverty by 2015, we must intensify our efforts greatly. We need to work on many fronts and act swiftly, efficiently and coherently to reach both the targets set in UNICEF’ Medium Term Strategic Plan and the Millennium Development Goals. The UN agencies, funds and programmes have a vital role to play in promoting effective strategies and assisting the poor countries, but do not yet operate as a coherent team at the country level.
Considerable progress has been made in persuing the ‘simplification and harmonization’ agenda launched by Secretary General Kofi Annan. The Common Country Assessments and the new result-oriented Development Assistance Framework are positive examples.
Less progress has so far been achieved in the Secretary General’s second reform package such as better coordinated programming and pooling of resources.
It is pointed out in the report ‘Full participation in the harmonized country preparation process can demand an unexpectedly high input of time and resources’. There might be start-up costs to get the processes on track, but our own experience through bilateral cooperation is that joint programming and programme implementation clearly reduce the transaction costs in the long run. This requires of course also that the donors exercise flexibility. We encourage all donors to contribute to harmonization by demonstrating flexibility in accepting common reporting.
We welcome UNICEF’s efforts to strengthen the use of joint programming and joint programmes as tools to enhance programme delivery. We are also glad to see that UNICEF has been actively advocating sector-wide approaches and PRSPs, and is slowly adapting the new development agenda. However, much remains to be done.
Norway welcomes the UN Development Group’s guidance note from February and sees this as an important step towards harmonization among UN agencies. We request the Executive Director to fully implement these guidelines to ensure that:
- action is taken to further harmonize country programme preparation, approval, implementation and monitoring and evaluation
- joint programmes entailing a joint annual work plan and common budgets and integrated programme documents are identified and implemented
- pooling of resources is promoted
As defined in the UNDG guidelines, there is a difference between joint programming and joint programmes. While joint programming is the collective efforts through which the UN organizations and national partners work together to prepare, implement, monitor and evaluate the activities aimed at achieving the MDGs, a joint programme includes a common work plan and related budget. Examples of the latter are few.
It is very important to Norway that UNICEF, as a key partner, make full use of joint programming, including joint programmes, as tools for enhanced programme delivery. In some instances there seem to be a gap between what is communicated at UNICEF headquarters level and the actual situation in the field regarding UNICEF’s participation in and co-funding of SWAPs as well as joint programming. Norway stresses the role of headquarters in ensuring implementation of the UNDG guidelines on the ground. Any procedural impediments to UNICEF’s participation in such collaborative approaches should be removed.
We would like to see UN organizations willing and able to create integrated teams and to pool resources at country level when needed. We would also like to see maximum use made of shared administrative services, infrastructure and ICT at country level, and where feasible, larger UN organizations (such as UNDP and UNICEF) commonly representing or “hosting” smaller ones.
Let me give you two concrete examples:
- UNICEF should make sure that its school programmes form an integral part of the joint UN education programme in each country, together with the WFP and, where relevant, UNESCO programmes in the same field. UNICEF and WFP must agree on what schools should be targeted for girls’ education.
- UNAIDS, of which UNICEF is a co-sponsor, recently introduced the “three ones”: one programme, one co-ordination framework and one report on HIV/AIDS-related work in each country. UNICEF’s work with HIV/AIDS should take place within the framework of the “three ones”.
As we said in our statement on Monday, the Norwegian government makes it clear in a recent white paper on development co-operation policy, that future support to multilateral organisations will be based on an assessment of what the organisation is doing within its mandate to achieve the MDGs. Norway will consider both effectiveness and to what degree the organisation is contributing actively to donor harmonisation and UN reform. Norway will consider increasing funding to those multilateral organisations that are considered the most active in making co-ordination and harmonisation more efficient.
Norway will closely follow UNICEF’s participation in joint programming and programmes and we would like to see information about this in the Executive Director’s annual report.
The year 2005 is just around the corner, let us get on with the fight against poverty - and let us do it more smarter, more efficient and more coherent. I thank you Mr. President.