UN Member States discussed the potential of the 2016 Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) to help address challenges and opportunities posed by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in the second module of a training series organized by the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of Switzerland.
29 April 2016: UN Member States discussed the potential of the 2016 Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) to help address challenges and opportunities posed by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in the second module of a training series organized by the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of Switzerland.
Module 2 considered the capacity needs of countries to implement the 2030 Agenda with a focus on middle-income countries (MICs), least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS), including a detailed case study of Uruguay.
Opening the session on 29 April 2016, in New York, US, Navid Hanif, DESA, said demands from the field are changing, and the focus of the UN Development System (UNDS) is no longer solely on poverty eradication, but also increasing the capacity of countries to deal with their own challenges.
Juan Carlos Mendoza-Garcia, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica, said the agreements of 2015 have “vastly” increased the expectations for the UN system. On the needs of MICs, he cited the need for a system-wide strategy, the lack of which limits activities’ effectiveness. He said the QCPR process must be relevant to all countries, ensuring that the specific challenges faced by MICs do not cause regression in development efforts. He highlighted the inadequacy of using income as a criteria for classifying countries and their development status, given the multidimensionality of poverty.
Ahmed Sareer, Permanent Representative of Maldives, noted that a MIC can never “graduate” from SIDS status, because the vulnerability is ever present. Sareer said the UNDS should orient its functions around the 2030 Agenda, and should focus on providing accurate and disaggregated data, and capacity building assistance, which he said are the System’s competitive advantages. Anne Poorta, the Netherlands, echoed that the UNDS is part of a larger, multilateral development system, and should focus on its competitive advantages.
Sareer and other panelists stressed that the UN System cannot continue to operate in silos, with agencies competing for resources and dividing work on the ground.
John Hendra, Senior Coordinator of the UN Fit-for-Purpose initiative for the 2030 Agenda, outlined ways to maximize the UN’s competitive advantages, which include normative support, integrated and upstream policy support, convening power, the leverage of partnerships among various stakeholders and capacity building. He also noted the importance of reporting and monitoring on the progress of the 2030 Agenda, and said capacity building is a prerequisite for this data collection and analysis. Hendra described the 2030 Agenda as a horizontal approach to development, the challenges being to adapt the current, vertical system to the new Agenda.
Finally, Denise Cook, UN Resident Coordinator (RC) in Uruguay, shared lessons learned in Uruguay as one of the pilot countries for UN Delivering as One. She called for clear government leadership at all stages of joint work, and said an empowered RC office can work more effectively in coordination with UN decision-makers and national priorities.
The QCPR training series will continue with sessions on: Funding for UN operational activities for development (24 May); Perspectives from the field (24 June); and Briefing in preparation for the QCPR negotiations (late September). [IISD RS Sources]