I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA country Iceland, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.
I would like to express the EUs appreciation for the work conducted by the Secretariat in preparing this meeting. We regard the TCPR as a unique tool for the UN membership to guide and operationalise the UNs reforms in the operational activities sector. A strong United Nations should have a leading role on reducing poverty, achieving peace and security, setting global standards and agreeing solutions to global threats such as climate change. This role stem from its global mandate and unparalleled legitimacy.
Progress has been made since the last TCPR, mainly with regard to the increase of organizational efficiency and development effectiveness of individual funds, programmes and specialized agencies. However the EU believes that more needs to be done to enable the UN system as a whole to effectively deliver on the agreed goals and objectives and to respond to new and growing challenges. Ongoing reforms must be deepened in order to create a genuinely united Nations to operate in true partnership with and serving the needs of developing countries.
In this context, the EU Member States envisage the 2007 TCPR as an important opportunity to give further impetus to the ongoing reforms shaped by the past TCPR. A more effective and efficient UN will be an even more important partner for Member States in ensuring that development assistance delivers results in each pillar of sustainable development and accelerates progress towards the internationally agreed development goals including the MDGs.
At the heart of the ambition of bringing the UN family together to deliver as one at the country level is the development of a common programming instrument and joint monitoring and evaluation at the country level. A common country programme should bring together the work of the UN system in each country to deliver a high-performing, effective response to governments priorities, with better accountability for results in line with aid effectiveness principles we all recognize. UN programmes should derive from national priorities, draw on all relevant UN services and expertise including specialized agencies and focus on UNs comparative advantage.
The EU views that assisting governments in developing capacity to achieve the international agreements and standards to be at the very core of the UNs development work.
The UN systems ability to assist in capacity development has to be further strengthened and its role clearly defined. Results based monitoring and reporting on capacity development have to be improved and the sustainability of capacity development activities enhanced. In this regard, in line with GA resolution 59/250, we call on all UN entities to use, to the fullest extend possible, national execution and the use of national expertise and technologies as the norm for implementation of operational activities.
At the 2005 World Summit, Heads of State and Governments resolved to support the mainstreaming of human rights throughout the UN system. A growing number of UN organizations have adopted human-rights based approaches to development cooperation and human rights issues have been increasingly incorporated into the analysis and planning framework. Further efforts are needed in order to build up the UN country teams capacity to support the efforts of Member States, at their request, in strengthening their national human rights promotion and protection systems and link their work with the UN human rights mechanisms.
The EU would like to reiterate that accountability for gender-mainstreaming and women’s empowerment should be given higher priority within UN agencies with explicit performance and accountability mechanisms for gender goals. Creating a stronger gender architecture should be an urgent priority both to help Member States improve the lives of women, girls, men and boys and to maintain the UNs competence and commitment in this key area where it is a global leader.
The EU considers that South-South cooperation is an integral part of the global worldwide effort for development. It should therefore comply with the principles of the Monterrey consensus and with acknowledged principles of aid-effectiveness, such as country ownership, primacy of the poverty reduction strategies of the recipient countries, harmonizing with country processes and procedures, and focus on institutional capacity development of the recipient country.
The EU also sees potential for an increased role of the UN system in strengthening funding partnerships among developing countries. In this context, the UN system could help developing countries establish stronger links between the operational activities that these new contributions support and the pursuit of the IADGs including the MDGs.
The effectiveness of international efforts to prevent and mitigate crises and to manage their aftermath of crises is crucial to meet the internationally agreed development goals including the MDGs. The transition between relief and longer-term recovery towards sustainable development still has gaps in terms of a lack of clarity about leadership, division of labour, sequencing and prioritization, and funding for the transition phase.
In transition situations, the UN needs to further develop a coherent, coordinated and effective response for the UN system as a whole and that is why the EU urges the UN system to intensify efforts regarding the simplification and harmonization of administrative procedures and funding structures. Progress made regarding the cooperation with the World Bank has to be consolidated. The division of responsibilities between the UN and the World Bank has to be further clarified and institutional arrangements and mechanisms strengthened. The EU also calls upon the UN system to clarify and reinforce the UN cluster approach system, most significantly on early recovery, to reinforce humanitarian response.
The EU considers the Resident Coordinator system to be a fundamental instrument in ensuring an effective and efficient coordination of operational activities for development at country-level. To fully use the systems potential, an adequate level of authority should be attributed to the RC with sufficient authority and executive power in order to provide leadership in strategic priority settings. This demands strengthened capacity from the Resident Coordinator in several areas, de-linking from UNDP country program responsibilities and accountability to all participating agencies.
A strengthened RC system, integrated UN programmes and new instruments and interagency mechanisms such as joint programming pose new challenges with regard to accountability, oversight and governance, both for the RC system and for individual UN organizations. A more comprehensive accountability framework would be needed in order to bring legitimacy to a strengthened RC system and for clarity of accountability for the individual agencies at country level. The EU therefore proposes to include a section on accountability, oversight and governance in future TCPR reports and GA resolutions on TCPR.
The EU considers the issue of funding for the UNs operational activities both at central and country- level as a key question, which it is committed to address, with the objective of ensuring multi-year, adequate, predictable and timely core funding. In this regard, the EU considers a code of conduct or principles for good multilateral donorship to have the potential to mitigate distorting funding patterns.
While underlining the interrelationship between improved effectiveness and better funding, the EU is also aware that coherent and predictable donor funding will support UN coherence in development. As governments collectively spend more resources on poverty elimination, there will be greater demands from people, North and South, for more transparency and accountability. There is an interrelationship, a virtuous circle, between effectiveness of UN entities and readiness by donors to provide quality funding.
Regarding financing at country level, the EU is willing to consider increasingly pooling funding instead of financing individual projects and programmes in particular in the framework of the efforts to make the UN to deliver as one at the country level. Contributions to the One UN budgetary frameworks should be predictable and multi-year. The EU calls upon the UN to continue considering modalities for the one consolidated budgetary framework in the One UN pilots to transparently display all sources of UN funding, including agencies core funding.
The EU considers that it will be essential to swiftly modernize and achieve full compatibility between UN organizations on processes for resource planning, human resources, common services and evaluation, as these are important drivers of effectiveness in the United Nations system.
Efforts to reduce transactions costs and improve efficiency should benefit developing countries in the first place. This is about making the UN a better partner for countries as well as a more efficient organization. In this regard specifically mentioning the Paris Declaration in the TCPR resolution would be useful, including specific references to relevant Paris targets that identify reductions in transaction costs: joint missions, expenditure on budget, use of government systems including procurement; lead agency concept in delivery, etc. Lastly, simplification and harmonization in the context of UN operational activities should not only reduce transaction costs, but also lead to better alignment of UN operational activities with national strategies and national systems.
A more comprehensive accountability framework would be needed in order to bring legitimacy to a strengthened RC system, to enable effective implementation of new interagency mechanisms and for clarity of accountability for the individual agencies at country level. More coherent governance structures at country, regional and central levels would be necessary at some point in time to ensure effective oversight and accountability of the new approach, promote policy coherence and reduce transaction costs. One option could be, joint meetings of governing boards (such as the Joint meeting of the UNDP/UNFPA, UNICEF and WFP boards)which could be used to discuss progress in the pilot countries and support a coherent UN programming in general.
I wish to reiterate the appreciation of the EU for the progress made in the past years. The 2007 TCPR should give further impetus to the efforts and achievements of the SG and the operational activities.
The international aid environment is changing and the issues covered by the TCPR will be undertaken in a context influenced by globalization, the emergence of new sources of funding for development and new aid modalities, the follow-up to the 2005 World Summit Outcome and the alignment of development cooperation behind the IADGs including those contained in the Millennium Declaration (MDGs); which all have an impact on the UN development cooperation and the resources made available to it.
We wish to conclude by emphasizing the European Unions belief that the TCPR can set the foundations to achieve many of the reforms we are seeking and we commit ourselves to be creative and constructive during the negotiations of the next TCPR in the 62nd General Assembly. We have an unique opportunity to match the vision contained in the Millennium Development Goals Framework with a world class UN delivery system. We need to seize the moment.