H.E. Desra Percaya
Vice President of ECOSOC
Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the UN
Dialogue on UN operational activities for development:
emerging issues and challenges
New York, 13 February 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to join the President of the General Assembly Ambassador Al-Nasser in thanking the organizers of this timely seminar on emerging issues in UN development operations as well as the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations for hosting us this morning.
Since the 2007 TCPR, the context for UN operational activities for development has changed profoundly.
There is a widespread view that the UN development system has come to a fork in the road. Continuing with business-as-usual would risk the organization losing its relevance in the changing development cooperation landscape.
The UN must be brought up to the beat. However, we must not forget that the future of the UN rests with us, the Member States. The role the UN plays, the value it represents and the way is works will ultimately be defined by us – the Member States - through the QCPR and other related instruments.
Whether ECOSOC can provide the needed oversight and guidance of UN operational activities for development is of paramount importance. I see a few emerging issues and challenges for ECOSOC in performing this role.
Firstly, with the proliferation of development actors, the UN will only succeed through partnerships. The guidance provided by ECOSOC can no longer be inward looking. ECOSOC must look at a range of actors working with the UN, address their concerns and make their partnerships with the UN solid and effective.
The policy-making process in ECOSOC should also reflect this new reality. The QCPR preparations have set an important example. A survey of CSOs has been launched to elicit their views on the work of the UN system for development at the country-level.
Secondly, the increasing complexity of UN operational activities requires ECOSOC to have full grasp of the nuances in the working of the UN system. Evidence-based and issue-driven discussions, are therefore, more-than-ever, critically important. Constituencies that have the highest stake in the effectiveness of UN development operations, i.e. programme countries themselves should also be at the heart of the decision-making process.
Thirdly, in response to major changes in UN development operations at the country-level in the past decade, there have been calls to decentralize operational guidance. If this becomes the trend, there will be greater need for ECOSOC to provide effective strategic coordination at the central-level.
Strategy and coordination, however, cannot be disconnected from the day-to-day realities facing the UN system at the country-level. To maintain the relevance of ECOSOC guidance, increased participation of national policy-makers in its deliberations on operational activities should be actively pursued. This is of course a question beyond logistics. It is also a question of whether the Council is seen by the policy-makers in capitals to be the forum where the implementation of the global development agenda can be effectively brought forward.
Fourthly, as Member States, we are aware that incoherence in the UN often originates in our own capitals. I regret to say, but our positions in governing bodies and ECOSOC may not always be in sync.
ECOSOC, I believe, could play a role in addressing this coherence deficit. There are already mechanisms in place to serve this purpose, for example, the joint meeting between the Bureau of ECOSOC and bureaux of governing bodies. These mechanisms should not become symbolic but be given the means to promote more effective policy coordination among intergovernmental bodies.
Ultimately, when looking to the emerging challenges for the UN development system, we must not lose sight of their impact on intergovernmental governance. I hope you will also address this dimension in your discussions.
I wish you much success in your deliberations today.
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, New York
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