Implementation of the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR)
UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
Statement on behalf of Canada and Australia by Ms Alison Chartres, Counsellor (Development), Permanent Mission of Australia to the United Nations
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of Canada and Australia.
Both Canada and Australia were closely involved in the process which led to General Assembly resolution 67/226 on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review, and are therefore pleased by the evidence presented this week of the commitment of the Funds and Programmes to the implementation of the QCPR. We welcome the development of the UN Development Group Action Plan for QCPR implementation, including the commitment to integrate the mandates of the QCPR into strategic plans, and the development of common QCPR indicators.
We thank the Secretary-General for the reports on implementation of resolution 67/226 and on funding of the UN development system. ECOSOC has an important role in monitoring and follow up on QCPR implementation. While we expect reporting to be coherent, comprehensive and based on sound research and analysis, we nonetheless expect the process of QCPR monitoring to be as streamlined as possible. We don’t want reporting requirements to overburden national governments or the UN system itself. We look forward to future reports, which we hope will provide a broad overview of progress and bottlenecks, as well as strategic guidance on next steps.
Turning now to some specific issues:
On funding, we welcome positive trends over the long-term, including a broadening of the funding base and an increase of contributions from developing countries. We acknowledge the primary importance of core funding, and we look forward to timely dialogue in the Executive Boards of the funds and programs towards a definition of ‘critical mass’. We would like to stress, however, that non-core funding will continue to be a large portion of the resource base available for the UN system. Member states and UN agencies must engage in a realistic and frank dialogue about ways to improve the quality of non-core funding, to ensure that it aligns with national priorities of program countries, allows necessary flexibility, reduces transaction costs, and provides incentives for coherence and reform, while retaining clear accountability and transparency for donors and program countries with respect to results and value for money.
On the Resident Coordinator System we welcome the elements of the UNDG action plan on updating the roles and responsibilities of the RC to reflect decisions in the QCPR. We stress the importance of the ‘management and accountability system’ and funding of the RC system. Australia and Canada welcome the conclusion of the UNDG cost-sharing arrangement and look forward to its full roll-out.
Simplification and harmonisation of business practices is also a vital element of the QCPR. We welcome the system-wide initiatives that have been undertaken through the UNDG and the High-Level Committee on Management, but note that lack of coherence in business operations, policies and procedures, and enterprise resource planning systems continues to present major challenges to coherence and efficiency at the country level. We encourage the UN system to provide stronger guidance for a systematic approach to the establishment of common services across UN Country Teams and a more coherent regulatory framework. Such initiatives depend on the full commitment of all UN agencies, including specialised agencies, and we look forward to seeing improvements in this area.
The standard operating procedures for delivering as one represent a very important tool in promoting best practice. We welcome the primary focus on results and accountability, and the flexibility in the guidelines to allow them to be adapted to different country situations. The time has truly come for the delivering as one initiative to drive a stronger UN system across all types of countries.
Mr President, we welcome the measures to enhance accountability for the UN’s work on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, particularly through the use of the system-wide action plan (SWAP). However, we remain concerned about the lack of adequate sex-disaggregated data at the UNDAF country analysis stage, as well as the finding in the Secretary-General’s report that fully a quarter of UN Country Teams have no plans to complete the gender scorecard. More attention is needed to ensure full implementation of the QCPR in this regard.
Likewise, the QCPR calls on the UN system to “take into account the needs of persons with disabilities” in its work. We call on all members of the UN development system to ensure this mandate of the QCPR is mainstreamed in their new strategic plans, and we request the Secretary-General to strengthen analysis of the implementation of QCPR paragraph 23 in future ECOSOC reports.
Canada and Australia expect all UN funds, programs and specialised agencies to ensure timely action for reform in all areas of the QCPR both individually and together as one system. Work is required at all levels – in headquarters, regional and country offices, governing bodies and in national governments of both developed and developing countries – to ensure the UN system remains relevant in a changing world. It must be a collective effort.
The General Assembly has shown its commitment to improving the effectiveness, efficiency and coherence of the UN development system. The QCPR resolution is a bold and important mandate for reform, and we look forward to working with all member states, and all members of the UN development and humanitarian family, to ensure its full and coordinated implementation.