QCPR Draft Resolution Undergoes Second Reading
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
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UN Member States conducted the second reading of the draft resolution on the 2016 Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR).

Among other issues, countries held different views on how the document should reflect the link between peace and development.

Many developing countries opposed including references to the refugee crisis, arguing that it is covered by a reference to “humanitarian emergencies”.

23 November 2016: UN Member States conducted the second 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. Governments negotiated whether the QCPR should focus on UNDS at headquarters or country level, and UNDS’ approach to links between humanitarian and development work, among other issues.

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 its first paragraph-by-paragraph reading, which concluded on 16 November 2016, Member States engaged in the second paragraph-by-paragraph reading of the text from 21-23 November, in New York, US.

Many developed countries called for moving from the “donor/ developed” or “recipient/ developing” countries dichotomy, which they noted has been historically at the heart of the North-South development cooperation model. They preferred instead to refer to all countries as “partner” countries, given the Addis Ababa Action Agenda’s (AAAA) recognition of new sources of financing for development. The proposal was opposed by the G-77/ China, which also opposed reflecting prominently other stakeholders in the 2016 QCPR. This Group argued that stakeholders are covered by the AAAA, and the QCPR should focus on governments’ contributions to development.

The G-77/ China noted the need for an instrument to mainstream the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a coherent way, while not imposing a “straightjacket” at the country level.

On reforming the UNDS, the G-77/ China made proposals for creating system-wide mechanisms, while some developed countries expressed a preference for a more “phased” approach, with an emphasis on national delivery. Explaining their call for a system-wide mechanism, the G-77/ China noted the need for an instrument to mainstream the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a coherent way, while not imposing a “straightjacket” at the country level in terms of regulatory frameworks or priorities, as “countries have national ownership of their development.”

Countries held different views on how the document should reflect the link between peace and development, through the concept of “sustaining peace.” G-77/China and the Russian Federation called for it to be referred to in a single “solid” paragraph, arguing that the only way through which UNDS should support peace is through its mandated development work. Developed countries supported the idea of mainstreaming sustaining peace throughout the document, highlighting that integrating peace and development is essential for the effectiveness of development efforts.

Delegations also debated how to portray the link between the UN’s humanitarian and development work. Developed countries supported language on UNDS’ role in addressing humanitarian “crises,” while developing countries said a “crisis” can be of a political nature, in which case UNDS should not get involved. Stressing the need to respect the UN’s peace and development pillars as separate, developing countries preferred to call for UNDS to intervene only in humanitarian “emergencies.”

Many developing countries opposed including references to the refugee crisis, arguing that it is covered by “humanitarian emergencies.” One country requested the removal of language on “durable” solutions to the refugee crisis, arguing that “there is no other durable solution to the refugee crisis than for refugees to return home.” [IISD Sources] [SDG Knowledge Hub Policy Brief on QCPR] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on First Reading]

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