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Sufficient Financing, Strengthened Country Offices Needed for Development System, Delegates Say, as Second Committee Takes Up Operational Activities

With the United Nations striving to reform its development system into a more robust, reliable and accountable entity, delegates underscored the importance of sufficient financing, revamped country offices, host country relations and South-South cooperation, as the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) took up operational activities for development today.

Speaking for the Caribbean Community, Antigua and Barbuda's delegate stressed the need for adequate and reliable funding, noting that the disproportion between core and non-core funding continues to weaken the multilateral framework of development assistance. Our group is acutely aware of the funding challenges facing this Organization, he said.

Small island developing States are the most vulnerable, he added, noting that much of our sustainable development needs rest on the shoulders of United Nations entities that are equipped to address many of the challenges we face. He expressed concern that reviews and recommendations for multi-country offices and revamping of regional commissions will suffer from unsustainable funding streams.

The representative of Fiji, speaking for Pacific Small Island Developing States, emphasized the need to ensure well-resourced resident coordinator offices and international office staff who can help build capacity of local employees and national institutions. Noting that financing remains critical for reform, he said that United Nations country offices should be sufficiently and predictably financed to ensure reforms work.

Noting that implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals remains too slow, Kenya's delegate emphasized the need for tighter consultation with national Governments in implementing the United Nations Development Assistance Framework. We are still struggling to mobilize sufficient resources for implementation, hunger has risen and the effects of climate change continue to pose a complex challenge, she said.

The representative of Morocco, speaking for the African Group, agreed that stronger commitments are needed to reform the United Nations development system, underlining the importance of multi-country offices and realigning national policies with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The reforms presented by the Secretary-General are intended to reinvigorate our collective commitment, she said, stressing that multilateralism, transparency and accountability lie at the heart of reform.

Bangladesh's delegate highlighted the growing prominence of South-South cooperation, as North-South cooperation declines and fails to live up to its promise. Adding that her country is graduating from least developed to middle-income status, she said South-South and triangular cooperation will assist it to face an entirely new set of financing challenges.

Reports and notes on the topic were presented by the Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination for Sustainable Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs; Inspectors at the Joint Inspection Unit; the Director of the Chief Executives Board for Coordination Secretariat; and the Deputy Director of Policy and Strategic Partnerships in the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation.

Also speaking today was an observer for the State of Palestine (for the Group of 77 developing countries and China), as well as representatives of Paraguay (for the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries), Thailand (for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Belize (for the Alliance of Small Island States), Russian Federation, Belarus, Indonesia, Argentina, Cuba, Qatar, Nigeria, Morocco (national capacity), Lao People's Democratic Republic, Cabo Verde, Ethiopia, China, Mexico, India, Malaysia, Sudan, Uruguay, Kuwait, Central African Republic, Republic of Moldova, Norway, Federated States of Micronesia, Bahrain, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea and Switzerland. A representative for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development also spoke.

The Committee will meet again Tuesday, 22 October, at 10 a.m. for a dialogue with regional commissions, and at 3 p.m. to take up the sovereignty of the Palestinian people over their natural resources.

Introduction of Reports

MARION BARTHA�LEMY, Director, Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination for Sustainable Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the Secretary-General's report titled Implementation of General Assembly resolution 71/243 on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system, 2019 (document A/74/73). She noted trends including the receipt of $33.6 billion funding for operational activities in 2017, representing 23 per cent of development assistance. Core contributions increased for the second consecutive year, but core resources dropped to an all-time low, one-fifth of all funding to the United Nations development system.

The report noted that despite positive trends, the funding base still relies on a limited number of donors, requiring broadening of that base, with only three Member States � the United States, United Kingdom and Germany � accounting for half of the funding, making that funding vulnerable to any changes therein. On the other end of the spectrum, the 77 smallest States accounted for 6 per cent of funding. She noted that the Department of Economic and Social Affairs continues to work on improving system-wide funding data.

JEREMIAH KRAMER, Inspector, Joint Inspection Unit, introduced the Secretary-General's note transmitting the report on Opportunities to improve efficiency and effectiveness in administrative support services by enhancing inter-agency cooperation (document A/74/71). He said he visited seven United Nations country teams, surveying all teams that have implemented business operation strategies. He noted that significant resources have been devoted to administrative support services, which involve over 30,000 people. Unified administrative services have existed for some time, but organizations that have the scale to do so have developed separate administrative frameworks. Adding that integrated services have not been supported by corporate policy changes to enact them, he said the key message is that business operative reform cannot be led from the bottom up in isolation from Headquarters. In terms of cost-efficiency, he said enhanced cooperation would amount to about 50 per cent of current annual spending for unified services, although this is to date an imprecise estimate.

SIMONA PETROVA, Director, Chief Executives Board for Coordination Secretariat, introduced the note by the Secretary-General transmitting his comments on the report on Opportunities to improve efficiency and effectiveness in administrative support services by enhancing inter-agency cooperation (document A/74/71/Add.1). She said it noted that solutions cannot be isolated from the corporate framework, and that organizations valued the inspectors' realistic analysis. The note also cited the importance of avoiding parallel work streams and duplicative work.

EILEEN CRONIN, Inspector, Joint Inspection Unit, introduced the Secretary-General's note transmitting the report on the Review of the United Nations System-wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (document A/74/306). She said her organization has evaluated the effectiveness, value added and impact of the United Nations System-wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women as a tool for performance monitoring and accountability following its full implementation. She observed that the Action Plan has proven to be an effective framework for tracking system-wide advancement towards gender mainstreaming and is a useful benchmark and catalyst for progress in most participating entities. Given the resources invested, progress made through its implementation by the United Nations Organization is considerable. The Action Plan should be viewed as a system-wide achievement in which most of the reporting entities were actively involved and reported progress.

Ms. PETROVA then introduced the note by the Secretary-General transmitting his comments on the Review of the United Nations System-wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (document A/74/306/Add.1). She noted that organizations cited progress on gender mainstreaming, and partially supported the recommendations of the report.

TARIK IZIRAREN, Deputy Director, Policy and Strategic Partnerships, United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, introduced the Secretary-General's report on the State of South-South cooperation (document A/74/336). The report features specific measures taken by the United Nations development system to enhance South-South and triangular cooperation and makes recommendations for the way forward. It notes that South-South cooperation is emphasized in over 80 United Nations Sustainable Development Frameworks at the country level and that there has been a surge in new partnerships drawing on South-South and triangular cooperation. The United Nations system has continued to strengthen institutional support for South-South cooperation.

Statements

SAHAR NASSER, observer for the State of Palestine, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, noted several principles that should drive the United Nations system, including respect for the values of national ownership and leadership. She stated the revitalized United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks should be prepared and finalized in full consultation with national Governments. Noting that her bloc is comprised of a highly diversified group of countries with varied developmental needs, she expressed concern about the state of play as regards to revamping of the regional level and reiterated a call to the Secretary-General to provide the options on a region-by-region basis, which is crucial for implementation of all relevant resolutions.

JULIO CA�SAR ARRIOLA RAMA�REZ (Paraguay), speaking on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said the repositioned United Nations development system should be adapted to focus on the priorities and needs of developing States. It should be accountable on the ground, remaining in full consultation with national Governments. The revitalized system of resident coordinators and new generation of country teams should continue to focus on sustainable development. He observed that the current financing architecture fails to encourage enough joint efforts or collective results. Pointing in particular to financing gaps in landlocked developing countries, he called on the international community to provide more support with respect to official development assistance (ODA) and foreign direct investment (FDI).

VITAVAS SRIVIHOK (Thailand), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and aligning himself with the Group of 77, reiterated support for the ongoing repositioning of the United Nations development system and reinvigoration of the resident coordinator system. He expressed support for the Secretary-General's focus on achieving greater gender parity and geographical balance with the new coordinators. Emphasizing the importance of revamping the regional architecture, he called for more efforts to better utilize the development system's regional assets and cited the Association's close cooperation with the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). He noted that ASEAN itself is an example of South-South cooperation and has expanded to become a community with three pillars of cooperation: political and security, economic and sociocultural.

SATYENDRA PRASAD (Fiji), speaking on behalf of Pacific Small Island Developing States and associating himself with the Group of 77, pointed to tangible steps that have taken place thus far with the new resident coordinator system, which give real meaning to the Organization's reform process. It is necessary to ensure that the resident coordinator offices are well-positioned and well-resourced so they can perform the envisaged coordination. He emphasized the need for country office staff to include seasoned international experts with backgrounds tailored to local priorities in helping build capacity of local staff and national institutions. He welcomed the decision to set up a dedicated multi-country office in the North Pacific, as it is the best way to cater to the needs and challenges of that region, ensuring they meet the sustainable development targets. Also noting that financing remains a critical part of the reform process, he stressed that United Nations country and multi-country offices must be resourced adequately, predictably and sustainably to ensure that reforms work.

WALTON ALFONSO WEBSON (Antigua and Barbuda), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Alliance of Small Island States, said that the next quadrennial comprehensive policy review will guide the United Nations system for the next four years and therefore must remain development-focused and address the needs of all developing countries. Our group is acutely aware of the funding challenges facing this organization, he added, stressing the need for adequate and predictable funding for the United Nations system. The disproportion between core and non-core funding continues to weaken the multilateral framework of development assistance. It creates conditionalities and can negatively promote a disjointed approach that undercuts development effectiveness. Small island developing States are the most vulnerable, he added, emphasizing that much of our sustainable development needs rest on the shoulders of United Nations entities that are equipped to address many of the challenges we face. Turning to the multi-country offices review and the revamping of the regional commissions, he expressed concern that these two reviews and subsequent recommendations for implementation will suffer the consequences of unsustainable funding streams. He also stressed that South-South cooperation should always be a complement to North-South cooperation and not a replacement for it.

SHARON LINDO (Belize), speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States and associating herself with the Group of 77, said that her bloc of countries depends greatly on the entities of the United Nations development system to meet their goals in that arena. As such, island nations have taken an active role in the process of repositioning the development system, including through funding dialogues and other ongoing discussions. Describing the whole repositioning process as a tremendous exercise, she spotlighted two elements that remain unfulfilled and of great concern � namely, the revamping of the regional level and the reconstruction of multi-country offices to render them better equipped to assist States. Reiterating her call on the Secretary-General to provide region-by-region options for consideration and approval by the Membership and to consult with the involved countries, she also called upon the United Nations to document the particular challenges and gaps facing small island developing States' implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The current funding/financing dynamics of the United Nations is also of serious concern, she added, calling on partners to meet their ODA commitments and contribute to the voluntary trust fund.

MERYEM HAMDOUNI (Morocco), speaking on behalf of the African Group, said more efforts and stronger commitments are needed to implement the remaining mandates of General Assembly resolution 72/279 on the repositioning of the United Nations development system. Calling on States to ensure the adequate, predictable and sustainable funding of the new resident coordinator system, she said the United Nations Development Assistance Framework remains the most important instrument for planning and implementing the Organization's development activities in each country. She also underlined the importance of multi-country offices, while noting that the configuration of the new country teams should assist developing States in realigning national policies with the 2030 Agenda, and called for the consolidation of the Regional Commissions' leadership role. The reforms presented by the Secretary-General are intended to reinvigorate our collective commitment, she said, stressing that a renewed commitment to multilateralism, transparency and accountability lies at the heart of the reform.

ELENA K. MELNIK (Russian Federation) expressed support for reform of the development system and stressed that country teams should be formed solely based on the needs of the host nation. Agencies must retain free rein in building dialogue based on trust. She called for more information on the parameters of humanitarian assistance, and also expressed support for the basic principles of cooperation, including non-interference in national affairs. She noted that her Government has usually received positive feedback from countries regarding the allocation of financial support.

VITALY MACKAY (Belarus) said his country expects greater development cooperation in meeting the needs and priorities of all nations. The part of reform that needs detailed discussion with the host country is any change to the resident coordinator system. The new framework agreement for sustainable development must be carried out after full consultations with national Governments. He supported the regional aspect of reform, stressing the need to retain the role of regional commissions in the context of cooperation for development.

ANDREANO ERWIN (Indonesia) said that his country supports the Secretary-General's message that sustainable development must be in the DNA of a resident coordinator. The United Nations system must honour an open and inclusive dialogue with host Governments. As the new development system comes into place, there must be close monitoring and financing sustainability of that system. It is also critical to revamp the regional architecture, including regional economic commissions, and to strengthen the multi-country offices, particularly for small island developing States, he said. His country will continue to strengthen South-South and triangular cooperation and is happy to announce the launch of the Indonesian Agency for International Development.

MARTA�N GARCA�A MORITA�N (Argentina), aligning himself with the Group of 77, noted the importance of a discussion on strengthening the United Nations development system regarding South-South cooperation, especially in facilitating partnerships. He spotlighted initiatives on data collection, and that global challenges call for greater triangular cooperation, which must be designed for the twenty-first century.

BIANA LEYVA REGUEIRA (Cuba), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and the Alliance of Small Island States, expressed support for the neutrality and intergovernmental nature of the United Nations development system, as well as flexible policies that respect sovereignty. Predictable and unconditional resources are the basis of the system. She said it is regrettable that outstanding issues persist on regional reviews. She stressed that the nearly six-decade long blockade by the United States hinders implementation of projects in United Nations system entities, as well as her country's development and access to financial and other resources, and amounts to a genocidal policy.

KHALID AL-MANSOORI (Qatar), associating himself with the Group of 77, stressed the need for improvements to the United Nations development system in meeting the needs of host countries. Adding that the resident coordinator system plays a crucial role in country programmes, he said Qatar has provided $500 million in support to strengthen the system for 2019-2020. He also underscored the importance of South-South cooperation and its valuable role in implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

CATHERINE IMAJI UDIDA (Nigeria), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, expressed her delegation's support for United Nations development reform, but emphasized that success in implementing the new accountability lines within the United Nations country teams will require continued leadership and close monitoring by the Executive Office of the Secretary-General. Her delegation also welcomes the ongoing efforts of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group to strengthen the existing collaboration between the United Nations Global Compact's local network, the resident coordinators and the United Nations country teams. Turning to South-South cooperation, she said Nigeria's Technical Aid Corps scheme has challenged the commonly held perception that Africa is a recipient of aid, dispatching tens of thousands of volunteers to more than 36 countries in the African, Caribbean and Pacific regions to bridge the human-resource gap in education, judicial services, health care, agriculture, engineering and public service.

Ms. HAMDOUNI (Morocco), this time speaking in her national capacity and aligning herself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said political will is critical to implementing the remaining mandates. Financing is likewise crucial to a fit-for-purpose United Nations development system. She reaffirmed her Government's long-standing support for South-South cooperation, making it one of the pillars of its foreign policy, helping to develop a truly diversified dynamic in just 20 years. Morocco is the largest investor in West Africa and is dedicated to capacity-building.

PHOUTTHASONE TAIKEOPHITHOUN (Lao People's Democratic Republic), aligning herself with the Group of 77, ASEAN and the Group of Least Developed Countries, welcomed that the reinvigorated resident coordinator system is now up and running. Expressing hope that it can truly lead the United Nations country team to respond effectively to the development needs and priorities of Member States, she sought regular updates on the results achieved through the new system. The partnership framework between her country and the United Nations for 2017-2021 reflects the collective commitment and intention of the Organization to supporting the Lao People's Democratic Republic in achieving its development goals and assisting in its transition to an upper-middle-income country, she added.

MARIA ISABEL GOMES MONTEIRO (Cabo Verde), associating herself with the Group of 77, the African Group and the Alliance of Small Island States, said the Secretary-General's report reiterates what small island nations have said for years: initiatives of economic development must be tailored to the circumstances in which they emerge. This is certainly true for the States, which face well known, unique challenges in achieving sustainable development, she said. Cabo Verde welcomes the call for multi-country offices to consider domestic circumstances when developing country-specific and regional development initiatives. It reiterates the Secretary-General's concerns regarding the availability of financing. Cabo Verde welcomes the Secretary-General's efforts to transform the United Nations development system. The reforms implemented so far, along with a renewed sense of urgency, promise that the institutional infrastructure of the United Nations can help implement the 2030 Agenda. Yet a clearer picture of whether the ongoing reforms are actually increasing the system's efficiency is needed, she added.

GEBEYEHU GANGA GAYITO (Ethiopia), aligning himself with the Group of 77, the African Group, the Group of Least Developed Countries and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, stated that developing States require a more robust and fruitful partnership with the United Nations, meaning reform of the development system is mandatory. It is critical to reinforce national ownership and leadership ensuring country-contextual responses rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. He called for consolidation of the leadership role of regional commissions to improve coordination among work programmes in their respective regions. He also reiterated a request for the Secretary-General to provide region-by-region options for longer-term re-profiling and restructuring of United Nations assets.

LUO JIN (China), aligning herself with the Group of 77, said developing countries still face serious challenges across the board. The international community must adhere to multilateralism and build an open world economy. The United Nations development system must focus on development as its core activity, especially in light of the contextual requirements of States. She cited North-South cooperation as the main channel for development with South-South cooperation as a complement, not a replacement. She also stressed the importance of poverty eradication as the global priority. As the world's most populous developed State, China still faces uneven progress.

JUAN SANDOVAL MENDIOLEA (Mexico) said operational activities for development is probably the most important topic of the Second Committee, as it directly relates to events on the ground. He lauded reports in this area, stating that they are important when it comes to transparency, but cannot cover all questions and comments of Member States. In that respect, he emphasized the need to improve reporting methods in the Committee as well as the Economic and Social Council by establishing a forum where all questions can be answered. In connection with such a forum, the head agencies in the development system must be in New York to receive guidance from Member States.

SHANCHITA HAQUE (Bangladesh), associating herself with the Group of 77, said that South-South cooperation is growing in its importance while North-South cooperation is declining and failing to live up to its promise. Bangladesh is in the process of graduating from the least developed country category, and with this transition it will be faced with a new set of challenges as a middle-income country. Her delegation believes that robust South-South and triangular cooperation can address such challenges. The United Nations global publication on best practices has incorporated five innovative development solutions of Bangladesh including the Union Digital Centre, the SDG [Sustainable Development Goals] Tracker, Empathy Training, the Service Innovation Fund and the Time Cost Visit Model of public-service delivery. To leverage the existing systems, resources and expertise in the wake of the fourth industrial revolution, the Government will set up a South-South Centre on Knowledge and Innovation.

SIDDHARTH MALIK (India) said that his country made a voluntary contribution to the United Nations trust fund for the new resident coordinator system, demonstrating its support for reforming the United Nations development system. For India, two main focal points for the quadrennial comprehensive policy review would be its strict adherence to the 2030 Agenda with an unrelenting resolve to eradicate poverty, and its ability as an organization not to seek to create a complex system. It is equally important that the fundamental principles of national ownership and leadership, and deference to national development priorities, must be the pivots around which United Nations development activities are modelled and implemented, he said. India is engaging with the Global South more than ever before. In that regard, in September it hosted the first India-CARICOM Leaders' Meeting and committed $176 million for the next decade on development projects in least developed countries and small island developing States.

STEPHANIE NGONYO MUIGAI (Kenya), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said that despite some progress, implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals remains too slow. We are still struggling to mobilize sufficient resources for implementation, hunger has risen and the effects of climate change continue to pose a complex challenge, she said, underlining the urgent need for States to meet the commitments outlined in the 2030 Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and other development summit outcomes. Expressing support for the repositioning of the United Nations development system, she emphasized the need for even closer coordination and consultation with national Governments in implementing the United Nations Development Assistance Framework. Efforts are also needed to ensure that resident coordinators maintain transparency and strong accountability to host Governments, she said, calling for adequate and predictable funding of the system. At the national level, she said, sustainable development stands at the heart of Kenya's Big Four Agenda, which includes food security, universal health care, affordable housing and a vibrant manufacturing sector.

AZIZAH BINTI ABD AZIZ (Malaysia), aligning herself with ASEAN and the Group of 77, said her country believes the focus of operational activities for development should be on implementation. Malaysia underscores the importance of national ownership and leadership in all matters pertaining to implementation, including timely reporting from resident coordinators and United Nations country teams back to host Governments. It is also critical that the new guidelines for the development of new United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks be developed in full consultation with host Governments, considering country needs and priorities, she said. Furthermore, Malaysia believes that South-South cooperation remains relevant to developing countries, especially in addressing existing global challenges in the areas of economics and finance.

AMEL MOHAMMED (Sudan), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, stressed the importance of a revitalized United Nations development system prioritizing the battle against poverty. It must also follow the guiding principle of coordinating with national Governments in the context of their needs. She noted that tangible improvement in adequate, predictable and sustainable financing would improve the system to the benefit of least developed countries. She looked forward to achievements driven by South-South and triangular cooperation.

MATA�AS PAOLINO LABORDE (Uruguay) said the United Nations should work on making aid universal for all developing nations, especially those with medium-level development who need international cooperation to remain at that level. Such countries are excluded from ODA based on impartial criteria, but many still have many vulnerabilities to overcome, including poverty, inequalities and structural gaps in their societies. The graduation criteria do not take into account the multifaceted aspects of development.

ABDULLAH A. KH. A. KH. ALSHARRAH (Kuwait), aligning himself with the Group of 77, stressed that South-South cooperation is only a complement to other forms of assistance, given its voluntary nature, and does not replace ODA or North-South cooperation, especially for less-developed countries. He noted that his Government has provided assistance to over 107 countries worldwide since its independence, making Kuwait among the largest contributors of aid, and called on all developed nations to honour their own financing commitments.

YANNICK-MICHEL LENANGUY BRINZ (Central African Republic) said the situation in his country is very fragile, but it is attempting to implement the 2030 Agenda. It is aware of the challenges and is providing stable conditions in returning it to constitutional order so that it can meet development targets, with assistance from technical partners. It has a framework for dialogue that has been carried out to improve cooperation, he said, stressing efficiency of economic policies. The situation in the country has improved, thanks to international assistance and national resources.

VICTOR MORARU (Republic of Moldova) said that while the problems of the United Nations development system will not necessarily be resolved through per centage targets on core funding, the funding compact could broaden sources of support, particularly for the new resident coordinator system. He noted that installing better accountability platforms requires unified reporting by the governing bodies of the development system on the implementation of reform. He noted the Joint Inspection Unit report plays a role as a catalyst for the system towards gender mainstreaming and empowerment of women.

SIV CATHRINE MOE (Norway) said that transparency is crucial in reform as it enables active engagement in the governing bodies and intergovernmental processes. The quadrennial comprehensive policy review asks for a whole-of-system approach in conflict-affected countries, she noted. It is crucial that the resident coordinators are genuinely empowered to lead United Nations development system efforts at the country level. The United Nations Development Cooperation Framework must reflect the Organization's comparative advantage in each country. Turning to gender equality, she said the empowerment of women has a multiplier effect for achieving sustained and inclusive growth, poverty eradication and sustainable development. The present funding pattern is an obstacle to reform. As Member States, we should all look into how we can improve the flexibility and predictability of our funding, she added. Insufficient funding of the new resident coordinator system remains a concern. Burden-sharing is a crucial multilateral principle in this regard.

JEEM LIPPWE (Federated States of Micronesia), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Alliance of Small Island States and the Pacific Small Island Developing States, welcomed the Secretary-General's decision to consult with the Governments in his region and establish a dedicated multi-country office in the North Pacific. The office would address the needs and priorities of these countries and advance the 2030 Agenda and the SAMOA Pathway. The decision supports his country's long-standing call for such an office. This move brings the United Nations closer to the five Micronesian countries: Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia, he said. He expects the office to improve the delivery of services from the United Nations development system and the quality of the life of the region's people. His nation is honoured that the five Micronesian countries recommended to the Secretary-General that the multi-country office be established in the Federated States of Micronesia.

MOHAMED ISA ALBUFLASA (Bahrain) noted that South-South cooperation has grown in importance during the last decade, providing tools to overcome poverty and food insecurity and boost economic development. South-South and triangular cooperation have been well illustrated in Bahrain. It has helped school training systems to improve national capacity in strengthening sustainable development in agriculture and bolstering food security. He stressed the importance of commitment with other nations to exchange experiences to implement the 2030 Agenda.

GHANSHYAM BHANDARI (Nepal), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said State ownership and leadership should be at the core of the United Nations development system, as no accomplishment can be sustainable in the long run without it. His Government's priority is development and prosperity, and therefore it puts its faith in the repositioned system and its capacity to cater to our development needs. Funding for the resident coordinator system should be predictable and aligned with national priorities. He stressed that if the reinvigorated system fails to deliver on its promises, the severest brunt will be felt by the most vulnerable countries and those left furthest behind.

REEM BINT MANSOUR BIN MISHAL BIN ABDULAZIZ AL SAUD (Saudi Arabia), aligning herself with the Group of 77, emphasized efforts made to carry out the provisions of the two related General Assembly resolutions. Her Government believes all progress requires transparency and responsibility in financing, noting it has been among the primary contributors to ODA since the 1950s, having provided $14 billion, or over 1 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP). She noted the efforts to improve the efficiency of the United Nations development system and expressed support for its reform.

NADJA MICAEL (Eritrea) said that many challenges are hampering South-South cooperation, including intractable conflicts, climatic factors and natural hazards. Given the scope of the 2030 Agenda and the importance of South-South cooperation in leveraging for wider partnerships, all available means of cooperation should be employed to effectively address the objectives of ending poverty and inequalities in all countries. Eritrea is working diligently to boost its productive capacity by focusing on its human capital as an engine of growth, she said. The recent positive and rapid development in the Horn of Africa has renewed the spirit of regional cooperation, putting behind two decades of conflict and mistrust.

MIKE MARTIN AMMANN (Switzerland), addressing the United Nations System-wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, said one of its success factors is that it is a harmonized mechanism to assess all entities within the Organization's system. Thus, it must be ensured that any quality-assurance mechanism still assesses entities in a harmonized manner, so the Action Plan ratings remain comparable across the entire system. He expressed concern that areas reflecting the most visible commitment to gender equality, namely human and financial resources, have seen limited improvement, encouraging all United Nations entities to step up and increase their investments in gender equality.

CHANTAL LINE CARPENTIER, Chief, New York Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), said South-South cooperation is an integral part of its mandate and work programme. During the 2018-2019 period, UNCTAD convened 49 policy dialogues, organized 35 South-South Cooperation Programme and capacity-building workshops, established 18 South-South partnerships and supported 22 regional/subregional or interregional events/initiatives. Spotlighting some of those activities, she said a new project involving India and four African countries is working to improve the value added of cotton by-products, while two new regional Centres of Excellence in Viet Nam and Mauritius have helped to build the capacity of least developed countries in upgrading their fishery sectors by harnessing and sharing expertise. UNCTAD also contributed to the second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40), held in Buenos Aires in March, she said.

Source: United Nations

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