Governments Conduct First Reading on QCPR
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
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UN Member States conducted the first reading of the draft resolution on the 2016 Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR), discussing proposals on the UN Development System's functions, funding, functioning, governance, follow-up and monitoring.

On 21 November, governments will commence the second paragraph-by-paragraph reading of the draft, and negotiate on changes proposed by different groups during the first reading.

16 November 2016: UN Member States conducted the first reading of the draft resolution on the 2016 Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR), which is expected to guide the alignment of the UN Development System (UNDS) with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The QCPR is the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) mechanism to assess UN operational activities for development and the functioning of the UNDS, and is conducted every four years. Following the circulation of a draft of the QCPR resolution by the Group of 77 and China (G-77/China) and an exchange of general views on the document, which concluded on 7 November 2016, in New York, US, Member States engaged in the first paragraph-by-paragraph reading of the draft, from 10-16 November.

The G-77/China proposed that the QCPR should be the instrument through which the UNGA establishes key system-wide policy orientations and modalities for the development cooperation of UNDS, and to also serve as the main instrument to position UNDS to support Member States in the “full” implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Some developed countries said that rather than focusing on setting system-wide policies and modalities for development cooperation, the QCPR should enhance the coherence and efficiency of the current system and focus more on guiding country-level modalities.

Some developed countries questioned the idea that UNDS can support the “full” implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including through building national capacities, and suggested that UNDS’ support to Member States should focus on its comparative advantages such as: integrated normative support for implementation, monitoring and reporting on global agreements, norms and standards; evidence-based policy advice; convening stakeholders across constituencies, facilitating knowledge-sharing and leveraging partnerships; capacity development assistance especially with regards to data collection and analysis; and service delivery.

Developed countries said the focus should be on “financing” the UN system, not “funding” operational activities.

Instead of focusing on the “funding” of operational activities for development of the UN system, as proposed by the G-77/China, developed countries said the focus should be on the “financing” of the UN system, which should include strengthening domestic enabling environments and partnerships, and rely less on official development assistance (ODA) to developing countries.

Many developed countries opposed the G-77/China proposal of: an independent system-wide mapping of mandates and existing capacities of the UNDS, including its support to States in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets, with a view to determining the gaps and limitations in coverage; an independent system-wide mapping of present functions as defined in the strategic plans and similar steering documents of all entities of the UNDS; and a system-wide action plan, with timetables, allocation of responsibilities and accountability frameworks and resource framework. The G-77/China suggested exploring options for the UN Development Group (UNDG) to evolve into a UN development system-wide mechanism with a structured and fully accountable relationship with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the General Assembly, while many developed countries highlighted the role of the governing bodies of UN agencies, funds and programs in deciding their strategic alignment with the QCPR and the 2030 Agenda.

Developed countries opposed the G-77/ China’s suggestions to strengthen national ownership and leadership over the operational activities of the UNDS in programme countries. They also requested the deletion of the G-77/China’s proposal that any resource or policy commitment of all entities of the UNDS, including the UNDG, to non-UN processes should be formally decided at the intergovernmental level through relevant governing bodies. Some developed countries opposed to the G-77/China’s suggestion that programme countries should be included in the process of selection of UN Resident Coordinators, while other said they should be consulted.

Developed countries stressed the need to emphasize gender equality and human rights, and called for including a reference to the UNGA resolution, titled ‘Review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture,’ and for integrating the concept of sustaining peace into UNDS’s work, and recognizing UNDS’ important contributions to peacebuilding, particularly through economic development and poverty eradication.

The G-77/China opposed suggested additions related to gender equality and human rights. Supported by the Russian Federation, the G-77/China opposed references to sustaining peace.

On 21 November, governments will commence the second paragraph-by-paragraph reading of the draft, and negotiate on changes proposed by different groups during the first reading. [IISD RS Sources] [SDG Knowledge Hub Policy Brief on QCPR] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on General Comments to the Draft]

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