“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.
“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.