ECOSOC Operational Activities Segment Calls for Accountable UN Development System
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
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ECOSOC held its 2017 operational activities segment, addressing the repositioning of the UN development system within the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the QCPR.

The segment also featured an interactive dialogue with the executive heads of UN Funds and Programmes on increasing support for implementing the 2030 Agenda.

2 March 2017: The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) addressed the repositioning of the UN development system (UNDS) within the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the quadrennial comprehensive policy review (QCPR), during its 2017 operational activities segment (OAS). Participants called for increased integration, coordination, accountability, and transparency in the UNDS to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and increase trust in the UN system.

Mexico said the UN Development System must adapt to the 2030 Agenda, rather than the reverse.

The segment convened in New York, US, from 28 February to 2 March 2017. It aimed to consider key elements of the 2016 UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution on the QCPR around the re-positioning of the UN development system in the context of the 2030 Agenda. During a general debate, UN Member States reflected on operational aspects of development, with many calling for a more accountable, transparent and strategic development system. Mexico said the UNDS must adapt to the 2030 Agenda, rather than the reverse. The UK called for putting collective outcomes above mandates. Member States also highlighted the need for inclusive development, conflict prevention, enhanced South-South and triangular cooperation, and innovative financing.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said achieving the SDGs will require “all countries to rethink systems, approaches, redefine traditional planning, delivery and monitoring,” and emphasized the importance of bolstering efforts in the least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs), small island developing States (SIDS), and Africa.

UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Peter Thomson suggested that the concept of “sustaining peace” could serve as an opportunity for coherent, coordinated and integrated approaches to development and humanitarian efforts. He supported prioritizing poverty eradication, and strengthening collaboration among the UN system’s three pillars. UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Wu Hongbo also reflected on the importance of strengthening the peace, development and humanitarian nexus, including to ensure complementary, synergistic activities.

With the OAS serving to launch the UNGA’s resolution on the QCPR, Wu said the resolution will inform proposals on strengthening the UNDS. ECOSOC Vice-President Cristián Barros said the Council will contribute to the QCPR’s implementation by laying a foundation for its work, discussing immediate, concrete steps the UNDS can take to enhance system-wide coherence and efficiency, and reflecting on adjustments to improve impact and deliver on the 2030 Agenda. He urged participants to consider whether the UN’s principles and modus operandi are fit to meet requirements for integration and coordination.

Three panels convened on the following themes: ‘From coordinated to integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda: the development, humanitarian and peacebuilding nexus’; ‘Integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda: the role of the UNDS in LDCs, LLDCs, SIDS, and countries emerging from conflict;’ and ‘Integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda: the role of the UNDS in addressing the needs and diverse challenges of middle-income countries (MICs)’. On financing, participants discussed opportunities to incentivize contributions, and underscored the importance of comprehensive, predictable financing in achieving the SDGs.

The segment also featured an interactive dialogue with the executive heads of UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Population Fund (UNFPA), World Food Programme (WFP), UN Women and the International Labour Organization (ILO). The discussions aimed to increase support for implementing the 2030 Agenda, including by identifying and addressing gaps and overlaps within the UNDS. Speakers supported, inter alia: joint board meetings; bottom-up approaches; collaborative and networked institutions and governance; and coherence among Member States. UNDP Administrator Helen Clark suggested banning formal statements at ECOSOC and other events, in order to focus on interactive, strategic dialogues. She further highlighted opportunities for incentivizing collaboration among policy, programme and operational capacities, ensuring adequately resourced and authorized Resident Coordinator (RC) systems and improving feedback knowledge and lessons learned feedback loops among global, regional and country levels. [UN Press Release] [ECOSOC Press Release on Opening Session] [ECOSOC Press Release on Day Two] [ECOSOC Press Release on Closing Session] [UN Deputy-Secretary General Statement] [UNGA President Statement] [UN Under-Secretary-General Statement] [ECOSOC Vice-President Statement] [ECOSOC Operational Activities Segment Webpage] [A/72/61–E/2017/4] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on UN Deputy Secretary-General Statement]


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