One UN ! … to be a fact or fiction?

“The most radical and dramatic thing we can do, is to do nothing,” Mr. Stoltenberg, Prime Minister of Norway. “Maintaining the status quo would represent a victory for inertia.”

The eargerly awaited report “Delivering as one” the report of the High Level Panel on UN Reform (System-wide Coherence) is released… as one who participated in the round of discussions in Pakistan it seems the panel has reflected demands from the field for a clear break with the past.

The outgoing Secretary General Kofi Annan of course strongly endorsed the report’s proposals of country level consolidation, strengthening leadership on humanitarian and environmental activities, creation of a new funding mechanism and consolidation of one new women’s organisation.

UN Reform High Level Panel

“Delivered as One” when conceived was foreseen to lay the foundations for a restructuring of UN field work, as requested by global leaders at the 2005 World Summit in New York.

…the UN’s work in development is fragmented, weak and not properly structured to meet country needs, …
… “incoherent” programme interventions and “excessive” administrative costs stem from large UN country Teams. More than one third have ten or more agencies on the ground, several with more than 20…

Structurally it is recommended that “One UN” Country Programme would streamline UN agency activities and be led by the Resident Coordinator and handled by a strategic Sustainable Development Board (SDB) that would eventually bring together the boards of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The UNDP Administrator would serve as a UN Development Coordinator, reporting to the SDB. This should be tested in half a dozen countries next year to pave the way to a possible system-wide overhaul.

“We want the UN to be a strategic player at the country level, supporting us in the preparation and implementation of our nationally-owned development strategies,” Luisa Diogo, Prime Minister of Mozambique.

Being an optimist I am pleased to see the strong recommendations as the Secretary General Designate Mr Ban Ki-moon takes over… what a great opportunity for the UN to better serve its mandate and above all its clients, those around the world who do not have a voice and all too often are passed by as the Aid machinery swings into action. But speed is of the essence.

“Blunt and Brutal” was ODI’s assessment, they go on to call for a lead from the UK. Change requires dedicated and concerted attention and follow up. The UK representation to the UN has taken a strong lead to-date as being a strong critique and ally of the UN, Gordon Brown’s role in the panel reinforces this interest. Now is the opportunity to strike, the UK should lead the charge.

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One Response to “One UN ! … to be a fact or fiction?”

  1. Blog-hopping: Global Nomad 101 « GlobaLab Says:

    […] I haven’t been blog-hopping for a while now, so it was a pleasure today to come across Global Nomad 101, a collective weblog for humanitarian aid workers overseas that tries to offer some innovative (often technological) ideas to help people engaged in field work. Clearly, anything with the word global in its name is bound to be good (!), but two posts in particular caught my attention. This one, on the recent report “Delivering as one” by the High Level Panel on UN Reform (System-wide Coherence), which was described as pleasantly blunt and brutal by ODI’s Simon Maxwell. And this one on online video sharing, and generally on the use NGOs can make of new information technologies to improve their transparency and to bring people in developed and developing countries closer together, for example through school-linking initiatives. I couldn’t help thinking about Paul’s enthusiasm for this stuff, and in particular at the great example of the Nata Village Blog. Also, when I scrolled to the bottom of the post, a little nostalgia set in as a read about this blog set up by Christian Aid Tajikistan, for I was one of the lucky few ones to witness the birth of this programme back in 2001. […]


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