"The UN needs to deliver better results if it is to remain the important development actor it needs to be, and it must improve its efficiency and effectiveness", said Norway's ambassador to the UN, Mr. Geir O. Pedersen on the Quadrennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system. Photo: Ragnhild H. Simenstad, NorwayUN

C2: Operational Activities for Development

10/15/2012 // The statement on "Operational activities for development" in Second committee was held by Ambassador H.E. Mr. Geir O. Pedersen, on 15 October.


The UN needs to deliver better results if it is to remain the important development actor it needs to be, and it must improve its efficiency and effectiveness through better coordination and system-wide coherence. We are fully aware that not all of the work the UN does is measurable. This applies, for example, to its normative work and convening function. And we are aware that the UN is an important actor in countries affected by conflict and countries that are in fragile situations, which inevitably means taking risks.

The report of the Secretary-General and its recommendations provide a very good starting point for the QCPR discussions. A number of other areas also need to be discussed.


The QCPR has to be forward-looking and reflect the changes that have taken place in the development cooperation landscape, including cooperation with new actors in the development field.

A strategic and results-oriented “One UN” should be recognised as the main modality at country level. The pilot countries and self-starters have clearly demonstrated their leadership and commitment in advancing UN reform and system-wide coherence. We should all listen carefully to what they have to say. A more efficient and coordinated UN that delivers better results and enhances national ownership are the main goals of UN reform at the country level. The independent evaluation of the pilot phase shows that “One UN” has been a success in this regard. “One UN” has also had a positive effect on cross-cutting issues, such as gender equality, human rights and anti-corruption. The Montevideo and Tirana Conferences on Delivering as One have highlighted progress at country level also after the pilot phase.

We need to discuss how we can ensure continued and sustainable financing for “Delivering as One”. It may be necessary to earmark funding to the One Fund. However, any such earmarking should not be more specific than the strategic goals set out in the One Programme. The UN organisations and agencies themselves also need to contribute. We have gained useful experience from the Expanded Funding Window for Delivering as One. This instrument should be assessed carefully before we decide on the most appropriate mechanisms for the future.  

The authority of the resident coordinator must be strengthened. In general there is a need to strengthen UN leadership at country level so that it can function effectively and efficiently, including in its role as humanitarian coordinator.

There must be a clearer strategic focus. The next generation of Strategic Plans for 2014–17 should emphasize strategic priorities based on the respective organisations’ comparative advantages and division of labor. We need improved results frameworks and better monitoring and reporting on results, as well as improved evaluation systems. This will enhance accountability and enable strategic, results-based management of the organisations.

The budgets should be results-oriented and each organisation should be held accountable for delivering results. The harmonisation and simplification of business practices should be intensified. The UNDAFs should be made more strategic. Stronger leadership and support for Delivering as One principles from UN headquarters are key. The fragmentation of the UN system cannot be overcome by a bottom-up approach.

We need fair burden-sharing in the financing of the operational activities of the UN system. Wealth must be shared – both between and within nations. This also means that emerging economies should contribute their fair share to financing UN development activities. This is vital for the legitimacy of the system.

Donor policies must improve. We are concerned about the high level of strictly earmarked non-core funding that currently supports UN operational activities, as this increases the fragmentation of the UN development system.

Core funding is and will continue to be essential for the operational activities of the UN system. We also need to improve the quality of non-core funding. Soft earmarking, at programme or sector level, would reduce transaction costs and make it easier for the UN development system to work in a more coordinated way. This would in turn make it easier to implement strategies agreed by the governing bodies of the respective UN agencies. The principle of full cost-recovery should apply to all funding to the funds and programmes. The current practice of allowing core contributions to “subsidize” the management of non-core contributions is not acceptable.

Gender equality and women’s empowerment are important preconditions and drivers for sustainable development. Gender mainstreaming contributes to better results. The establishment of UN Women has been a great leap forward. We welcome the System-wide Action Plan on gender equality and women’s empowerment adopted by the UN System’s Chief Executives Board for Coordination. For the first time, the UN has a set of common tools with which to measure progress in its gender-related work. This should lead to better mainstreaming of the gender perspective into all parts of the UN system. Safeguarding the rights and security of women affected by crisis and conflict and securing their active participation in transitional situations are key to ensuring peace, security and sustainable development.

The UN development system needs to respond to and address the high expectations of stakeholders in programme countries regarding its ability to support them in implementing a human rights-based approach to development as a practical tool on the ground.

Also, the question of equitable distribution of resources and opportunities needs to be addressed. This is one of the greatest challenges we face in the context of achieving the MDGs, and it will be a central issue in our discussions on the future development agenda. Domestic mobilisation of resources, as well as the sharing of wealth between and within nations, are important in this regard.


Let me end by stressing the crucial importance of commitment and leadership on the part of the member states and the UN as a whole in implementing the QCPR. Not only at country level, but also – and not least – at headquarters level.

Thank you.

Bookmark and Share