Marion Barthélemy, DESA, mentioned that core contributions increased for the second consecutive year, but core resources “dropped to an all-time low,” to only one-fifth of all funding to the UN development system.
Jeremiah Kramer, Joint Inspection Unit, said unified administrative services and enhanced cooperation between UN entities at country level amount to about 50% current annual spending.
CARICOM said the "disproportion" between core and non-core funding continues to weaken the multilateral framework of development assistance, creating conditionalities and negatively promoting a “disjointed approach that undercuts development effectiveness”.
UN Member States called for region-by-region proposals for the reform of UN’s regional assets during a discussion of reform of the UN development system. Delegates in the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) Second Committee also stressed the need for sufficient and predictable funding, enhanced cooperation with host countries and South-South cooperation.
The Committee met to discuss operational activities for development on 21 October 2019, at UN Headquarters in New York, US.
Marion Barthélemy, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), introduced the UN Secretary-General’s 2019 report on implementing the quadrennial comprehensive policy review for the UN system’s operational activities for development (document A/74/73). She reported to governments that:
- core contributions increased for the second consecutive year, but core resources “dropped to an all-time low,” to only one-fifth of all funding to the UN development system;
- despite positive trends, the funding base still relies on a limited number of donors, with only three Member States — Germany, UK and US — accounting for half of the funding, making it crucial to expand the donor base; and
- DESA is working to improve system-wide funding data.
Jeremiah Kramer, UN Joint Inspection Unit, said 50% of current annual spending is directed to the UN’s unified administrative services and enhanced cooperation between UN entities at country level.
In the ensuing discussion, many delegations echoed the need for financial sustainability for the UN development system through an increased donor base, increased contributions, and commitments to predictable, stable funding streams. Several countries underscored the need for UN country teams (UNCTs) and Resident Coordinators (RCs) to report to national governments. Many said UNCTs must be set in collaboration with national governments in order to respond to national demands.
While several delegations noted the importance of strengthening the UN development system regarding South-South cooperation, others such as Antigua and Barbuda for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), China and Kuwait underscored that North-South cooperation remains the main channel of development cooperation, with South-South cooperation being only complementary.
Bangladesh noted the “growing prominence” of South-South cooperation, as North-South cooperation “declines and fails to live up to its promise.” Adding that Bangladesh is graduating from least developed to middle-income status, she said South-South and triangular cooperation will assist the government in facing “an entirely new set of financing challenges.”
Several delegates including Palestine for the Group of 77 and China (G-77/ China), Belize for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and Ethiopia requested the UN Secretary-General to provide region-by-region options for consideration and approval by UNGA with regards to the UN’s “regional assets.” Belarus called for retaining the role of UN regional commissions in the context of cooperation for development.
Paraguay for the Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) underscored current financing gaps in LLDCs, and called on the international community to provide more support with respect to official development assistance (ODA) and foreign direct investment (FDI).
Fiji for the Pacific Small Island Developing States (P-SIDS) emphasized the need for RCs’ offices to be “well-positioned and well-resourced” so they can perform the coordination envisaged in the reform. He said country office staff should include “seasoned” international experts with backgrounds tailored to local priorities in helping build capacity of local staff and national institutions.
CARICOM said the differing levels of core and non-core funding continue to weaken the multilateral framework of development assistance, creating conditionalities and promoting a “disjointed approach that undercuts development effectiveness.” He underlined that SIDS are the most vulnerable, as “much of our sustainable development needs rest on the shoulders of UN entities that are equipped to address many of the challenges we face.”
AOSIS called for the UN to document the particular challenges affecting SIDS’ implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and called on countries to meet their ODA commitments and contribute to the voluntary trust fund.
Russia emphasized that UN agencies “must retain free rein” in building dialogue with national governments. Nigeria welcomed the ongoing efforts of the UN Sustainable Development Group to strengthen the collaboration between the UN Global Compact’s local network, the RCs and UNCTs. The Republic of Moldova called for unified reporting by the governing bodies of the UN development system on the implementation of reform.
Norway emphasized that all Member States should look into ways to improve the flexibility and predictability of the funding for the UN development system, explaining that insufficient funding of the new RC system “remains a concern,” and thus burden-sharing must be a “crucial multilateral principle.”
Switzerland noted that the areas reflecting the most visible commitment to gender equality are human and financial resources, and these have only seen limited improvement. He encouraged all UN entities to “step up and increase” their investments in gender equality. [UN Meeting Coverage]