General Assembly General Assembly

Statement by Mr. Ashish Sinha, Counsellor at the 2018 ECOSOC Operational Activities for Development Segment on 1 March 2018


General discussion of agenda item 7


Operational Activities of the United Nations for International Development Cooperation:


  1. Follow-up to policy recommendations of the General Assembly and the Council; and


  1. Reports of the Executive Boards of the United Nations Development Programme/United Nations Population Fund/United Nations Office for Project Services, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, and the World Food Programme.


Mr. President,

Thank you for giving me the floor. Considering that we are on the last day of the Operational Activities Segment, and much has been said and discussed already, I will be brief in my remarks. My delegation aligns itself by the statements given and interventions made by the distinguished representative of Egypt on behalf of G77.

Mr. President,

Eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions should be accorded the highest priority and be the overarching guiding principle for the activities of the UN Development System. UNDS should support the developing countries’ in implementation of 2030 Agenda in accordance with their national priorities, plans and strategies.

Keeping these in mind, the repositioning of the UNDS should ensure that its full responsibility for national ownership and leadership is maintained. The reporting obligation to the Member States must be fulfilled in letter and in spirit. UNDS’s expertise should help the programme countries leverage and channel enhanced resources taking into account the different levels of development and ground realities.

The UNDS entities and the Resident Coordinator, while adopting the Nexus Approach for enhanced coordination with humanitarian assistance and peace building efforts, must keep in mind that these are for specific situations of humanitarian emergencies and in the countries facing conflict and post-conflict situations.  Therefore, in the proposal for repositioning the UNDS, a blanket mandate should not be asked from Member States for the Nexus Approach, rather it should be sought on a case by case basis.

Mr. President,

This brings us to the issue of the selection criteria for a right Resident Coordinator.  By prescribing one set of competency requirement in a generic way would be a classic case of one-size-fits-all.  The qualification and competency requirements should match the needs of the countries and should definitely be special for countries facing humanitarian situations and countries in conflict and post-conflict situations.  Multi-hatting by Resident Coordinators should be an exception rather than a rule as RCs’ consistent effort should be for the longer term development to meet the 2030 Agenda.

Decision of UN Country Team’s configuration and presence should be the prerogative of the national governments, to meet the specific needs and challenges as per national priorities and plans.  Such configuration of the UNCT must meet the accountability requirements to the national governments, in particular through the UN Resident Coordinators.

United Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) should play a key role in bringing all stakeholders on the same page and to help achieving full alignment of operational activities with national priorities and plans.

Mr. President,

We all agree on the need for enhanced core resources as well as loosely earmarked non-core resources at the disposal of the UNDS entities coordinated by the RC.  A lot is being discussed about the private sectors’ participation and tapping its resources in achievement of 2030 Agenda. In this context, it would be worth to explore and evolve a common understanding on the partnership norms and modalities, both at the country level as well as at the headquarter level, through an intergovernmental process

We also strongly believe that the system-wide strategic document as mandated by QCPR should be an inter-governmentally agreed document.

Last but not the least, the proposed repositioning of the UNDS system should be our win-win formulation for the developing countries and should be able to channelize more funds to meet the 2030 Agenda and in no case that it should increase the burden on the developing countries. In this regard, we reiterate our longstanding position that South-South Cooperation is a complement to rather than a substitute for the North-South Cooperation.

Mr. President

We look forward to a constructive engagement in the inter-governmental process in the General Assembly for discussing the Secretary General’s UNDS Reform Proposals.   

I thank you.