Let me start by thanking the Administrator and her team for the statement and presentations given this morning.
Choices must be made. UNDP cannot provide timely and quality expertise on everything. We commend the Administrator for stating this clearly in the Strategic Plan as a guiding principle for the future work of the entire Organization.
We appreciate and support the sharper focus provided by the seven development outcomes and the clearer delineation of UNDP’s areas of work proposed in the Strategic Plan. It has been a long process reaching this fairly balanced plan. The Executive Board’s discussions on this issue have been rather complicated yet necessary and constructive. While we recognize that the Strategic Plan represents a certain concentration of UNDP’s future work, we believe that the proposed strategy is still very broad and that further strategic focusing is possible – and indeed inevitable, given the funding constraints of the Organization, especially with regard to regular resources.
Accordingly, when the implementation of the Strategic Plan starts, choices will still have to be made. We encourage the Administrator to closely monitor the Organization’s performance and continue to strategically prioritize the limited resources of UNDP towards areas where the Organization demonstrates unique added value and strong impact, and towards Member States most in need of UNDP’s assistance. Contributing and adapting to the post 2015 and the sustainable development agendas will equally be crucial.
We appreciate the clear ambitions in the Strategic Plan and the Integrated Budget to enhance UNDP’s contribution to the coordination of the UN development system. In this regard, we would like to emphasize the importance that UNDP also contributes to strengthening humanitarian leadership and ensuring that preparedness planning and early recovery are fully integrated into humanitarian response processes.
We further appreciate the progress made in developing the results framework for the Strategic Plan. We encourage UNDP to further refine the indicators as necessary and to provide baselines, annual milestones and the final targets for all indicators prior to the annual session in 2014. We underline the importance of ensuring the methodological understanding of the indicators and the data collection throughout the Organization, and we support the idea of developing technical notes for the indicators to that effect. The theory of change documents for each outcome also provide valuable information on how UNDP plans to achieve its objectives, and we encourage UNDP to further refine these documents and make them publicly available.
The annual report of the Administrator to be presented in 2015 will be the first test on whether the new results framework leads to improved results reporting. It is important to consult the Executive Board on the format of this report at its second regular session in 2014. In our view, the assessment of the results reporting in the 2014 report should also provide guidance with regard to issues that the mid-term review of the strategic plan should focus on.
The presentation of the integrated budgets of UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA and UN Women is an opportunity to look into how far the joint budget reform has brought us and how we can proceed further.
A key objective of the joint budget reform was to enhance the Executive Board’s insight in how resources are planned to be used. We note that the budget format proposed by UNDP presents financial information at an aggregate level, and that important additional information has only recently been made available in an addendum to the document. We would have preferred a budget format more in line with the format presented by UNICEF and UNFPA.
We note some discrepancies between the figures in the addendum and the annex to the budget. For example the total amounts allocated to corporate oversight and assurance differ. We would appreciate an explanation on this. We underline the importance of providing the Executive Board with specific information of the planned funding of the Evaluation Office and the Office of Audit and Investigations, as it is the responsibility of the Executive Board to ensure the independence and capacity of these functions. Such information should be included in an updated resource plan and assessed as part of the mid-term review of the integrated budget.
We also note that the resources allocated to the development outcomes of the strategic plan are indicative amounts only. We are concerned by the high percentage of resources that are not linked to any of the seven development outcomes. We stress the need to ensure that gradually all resources are aligned with the outcomes of the Strategic Plan. We understand that this is technically challenging, but we need to seek further improvement in terms of strengthening the budget as an instrument to support implementation of the priorities in the strategic plan.
The mid-term reviews of the integrated budgets should be used to look into remaining challenges to enhanced results-based budgeting, along with an assessment of whether the new cost-recovery methodology meets the QCPR expectations of full cost-recovery.
We note with appreciation that the share of regular resources allocated to the institutional component of the budget is being reduced considerably. On the other side, we note with concern the continued low level of contribution of regular resources. We are equally concerned by the information given on Member States not complying with their obligations with respect to financing local office costs.
As demonstrated by the new Strategic Plan and the upcoming structural review of the Organization, UNDP is taking important steps towards becoming more focused, efficient and results-oriented. Accordingly, we would like to conclude by encouraging all Member States to provide more regular resources to UNDP.