C2: Operational activities of development

Last updated: 10/13/2011 // The Nordic nations presented a joint statement in UN General Assembly's Second Committee on "Operational Activities for Development" on October 12, 2011. The statement was delivered by First Secretary Maria Tarp from the Permanent Mission of Denmark to the United Nations.

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries – Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark.

In our view the operational activities are a very visible demonstration of the role of the UN and constitute an important flow of resources to developing countries – about 23 billion US dollars in 2010. In addition to its operational role, the UN system is the guardian of internationally agreed goals, objectives and norms, convening Member States on critical global public goods agreements. Its operational window therefore plays a vital role in the international development architecture.

Hence, we highly appreciate the opportunity to review the results achieved and to provide some guidance ahead of the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) next year. Sufficient guidance with support from all Member States is indeed paramount for the UN’s ability to deliver effectively on the ground.

Despite visible progress, the United Nations development system remains complex and fragmented. Accordingly, it will - in our view - be of utmost importance that especially three issues will be addressed in the QCPR:

1.Questions of effectiveness and efficiency must be addressed if we are going to ensure the relevance of UN operational activities for development in the future. Furthermore, the QCPR should pay particular attention to the findings of the independent evaluation of “Delivering as one” as well as to the reports of the country-led evaluations. We also look forward to the assessment of UN agencies of the main bottlenecks that need to be addressed in order to advance the Delivering as One agenda. In addition, the QCPR will be important in order to assess the functioning of the Resident Coordinator system, including its ability to represent and support the entire UN system of around 30 diverse organizations at the country level. We must ensure that the Resident Coordinators have the necessary authority and resources to lead and coordinate the UN country teams. Effective firewalls are also critical.


2.The UN has a comparative advantage in fragile or post-conflict states given its ability to combine conflict prevention, humanitarian-, political- and development efforts, peacekeeping and peace building initiatives. However, to be a reliable and committed partner in the difficult transition from relief to development, UN-coherence and the ability to “Deliver as One” will be crucial.


3.The question of funding must be addressed. Financial flows for development through the UN-system have increased substantially over the last decade, despite the global economic uncertainties. This is good news! However, while core resources remain the bedrock of the mandate and resources of the UN Funds and Programs, we all know that recent growth in funding is concentrated in the non-core category of resources. While non-core funding can provide important additional support when fully aligned with strategic plans and national priorities, it is our view that core resources must remain the stable base of funding of UN operational activities.

Greater stability and predictability in the provision of financial resources, and decreasing the dependence on a small number of donors, whether core or non-core in nature, is key for effective and strategic delivery according to strategic plans and national priorities. In order to achieve a fairer share, a larger number of Member States with high GDP per capita should increase their contributions. In this regard we encourage other Member States to strengthen efforts to live up to the 0.7 target. Moreover, increasing the ownership of UN operational activities and broadening the funding base is essential in a changing world where emerging economies are playing an ever important role economically and in terms of development assistance.
A successful outcome in Busan in November holds great potential as a milestone to address some of these important issues. Further, we hope Busan will reaffirm the relevance of South South Cooperation and Triangular Cooperation for development, and should allow an exchange between partner countries, donors and emerging economies in order to share experiences in achieving results.

Let me wrap up by ensuring you, that the Nordic countries hold great expectations to the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review next year. As the UN-system for operational activities has grown more complex over the years, the QCPR offers an important opportunity for taking stock and stepping up efforts to provide guidance for the UN system to deliver coherent, effective and efficient results. In this process, we should also build on our recent experiences from the successful establishment of UN Women. We will be looking forward to strengthening our partnership with UN Women for the promotion of gender equality and women's rights and empowerment in all countries.

Thank you!

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