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The 2016 quadrennial comprehensive policy review (QCPR) is essential to making the UN development system (UNDS) more effective, transparent and results-oriented, said UN Member States during the annual debate on operational activities for development, held in the UN General Assembly's (UNGA) Second Committee (Economic and Financial).

ga-71-logo6 October 2016: The 2016 quadrennial comprehensive policy review (QCPR) is essential to making the UN development system (UNDS) more effective, transparent and results-oriented, said UN Member States during the annual debate on operational activities for development, held in the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) Second Committee (Economic and Financial).

Thomas Gass, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), introduced two reports of the Secretary-General on the QCPR of operational activities for the development of the UN system: one on implementing UNGA resolution 67/226 (A/71/63–E/2016/8*); and the other containing recommendations (A/71/292/Rev.1). Gass said the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development requires the UNDS to “function as one” and collectively address global challenges. He highlighted the report’s recommendation that the development system transform itself, including through: clear formulation of its core functions and funding; adjustments to governance structures to hold UNDS accountable for system-wide results; and establishment of country-level sustainable development plans encompassing the ‘one country, one UN framework’ approach.

During the discussion, Member States: called for aligning the QCPR with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Venezuela, others); recommended incentives and principles to make the system action-oriented and measure progress with clear follow-up actions and indicators (Canada); highlighted the QCPR’s role in providing strategic guidance and defining results beyond the achievement of individual UN entities (Viet Nam for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)); and supported including the 2030 Agenda in the strategies of each UN entity, and including the concept of sustaining peace in the QCPR (Guatemala). The US said the review will allow the Second Committee to explore how to position the UNDS to contribute in the most effective, efficient and timely manner to help the most people. The EU observed the UNDS is overly complex and fragmented, hampering delivery of the UN’s operational, normative and standard-setting mandates. He recommended addressing what the UNDS should do and not do, and focusing on outcomes rather than process.

Also on improving the UNDS, countries called for: strengthening transparency and coherence, laterally, regionally and globally (Cameroon); focusing on practical delivery of results on the ground rather than New York-centric discussions (Republic of Korea); and strengthening the Resident Coordinator (RC) system with robust accountability mechanisms and adequate resources (Republic of Korea).

Thailand, for the Group of 77 and China (G77/China), called for prioritizing and mainstreaming the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into the UN system’s work, and for addressing special challenges faced by the most vulnerable countries. The Maldives, for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), said the QCPR should call on the UNDS to incorporate priorities and activities of small island developing States (SIDS) into programmatic and strategic frameworks. Several speakers supported reconsidering classification of countries based on income, with Panama suggesting a multidimensional measure that takes into account poverty in all its forms.

Countries also highlighted financing challenges, inter alia: imbalances between core and non-core resources, which contributed to fragmentation, competition and overlap (Thailand, Viet Nam, Maldives, Antigua and Barbuda, on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Belarus, Ethiopia, Iran); the need for adequate, predictable funding for UN operational activities (Antigua and Barbuda, Belarus, Egypt, Nepal, Nigeria); and a need to increase the donor base (Bangladesh, on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries (LDCs)). Norway suggested full cost recovery to enhance core resources and inter-agency funding modalities to respond to calls for integrated approaches. Papua New Guinea (PNG) supported increasing core resources but cautioned against “micromanaging” UNDS. The Maldives suggested the QCPR could contribute to reducing competitiveness between UN entities. [UN Press Release] [IISD RS Story on QCPR Documents]

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