Remarks During the ECOSOC Operational Activities Segment

Nerissa Cook
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Bureau of International Organization Affairs
New York City
February 28, 2017



I would like to welcome Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed to her new position and to thank her for her remarks this morning. I would also like to thank the distinguished panelists for sharing their rich experiences of their countries and the ECOSOC for organizing this event. The event comes at an important juncture as Secretary-General Guterres and his senior management team are working to strengthen the UN development system to implement the 2030 Agenda more effectively. The United States looks forward to working with Member States and the Secretary-General’s team in this process.

The “deliver as one” model that many agencies and program countries have voluntarily adopted over the past several years has made considerable progress in bringing agencies together to work as a coherent country team to deliver assistance at country levels. We believe it remains a highly relevant modality for the UN development system to deliver on the 2030 Agenda.

The Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review, QCPR, serves as a useful vehicle to provide guidance to the UN development system to move in this direction, and especially for agencies to consolidate some basic administrative services, such as co-location of field offices, common human resources and procurement platforms, to eliminate wasteful duplications and to achieve cost-savings.

The QCPR has also provided some useful guidance to improve the Resident Coordinator system through better training and selection of individual Coordinators to enable them to lead the UN country teams to work as a coherent whole through the “deliver as one” model, the UN Development Assistance Framework, UNDAF, or other modalities that countries have chosen for themselves as vehicles to receive UN assistance.

During the intergovernmental deliberations last fall, Member States recognized that the QCPR has limitations, which were manifest in the negotiations that produced the QCPR we have today. We, the Member States, collectively recognized that today’s development landscape is dynamic and fast-changing, and UN agencies – because of their unique mandates and demands placed on them by the UN system and Member States – are adapting to this environment at different speeds and with varying degrees of success.

Member States also recognized that there cannot and should not be a one-size-fits-all model for UN agencies to undertake their work. While the QCPR serves as a useful vehicle for system-wide general guidance, it cannot be a substitute for individual agencies’ governing bodies which are mandated and accountable for making decisions on all aspects of their agencies’ operations. To be successful, each agency will have to find its own way, and all have to work together collaboratively and empirically to find common solutions to particular problems at field level.

On the policy side, one of the central contributions of the 2030 Agenda to the international community’s discussions of development is that peace, security, and development are inextricably connected and mutually reinforcing. The question facing the UN development system and agencies is how to incorporate peace and security into their everyday development work.

As Member States of the United Nations, we should challenge ourselves and the agencies to reach beyond the QCPR, to recognize and utilize each agency’s comparative advantages in ways that will both enhance individual agencies’ program delivery and their collective contributions to coherent UN country team approaches.

Thank you.