I have the privilege of speaking today on behalf of Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
Thank you for convening this first thematic informal on governance and funding, and for providing further details on the work plan, for which you have our support. CANZ is committed to constructively engaging in both governance and funding discussions. We are active in many of the governing bodies of the UN’s operational activities, and collectively contributed almost 7% or $1 billion of Member States’ contributions in 2007.
As we noted at the last meeting, meaningful impact can be achieved in the coherence and effectiveness of governing bodies, especially by improving their working methods. Legislation is not the problem. The established roles and responsibilities between the General Assembly, ECOSOC and the Executive Boards are clearly established through various resolutions, among them 48/162. This presents a sound and logical division of labour. Nonetheless, we see existing challenges in implementing this division of labour. The working methods of the various governing bodies can be improved to enhance coherence - both within and between these bodies – to arrive at decision-making that better meets country-level demands.
1. Decisions need to better meet the needs and demands the UN faces at country level. One commonly heard challenge is that decisions at the central level are not keeping pace with the demands the UN faces at country level.
2. Various approaches are used by Member States to implement the established division of labour by how they engage in each governing body. Often this can lead to inconsistent decisions and practices of the governing bodies
3. Common country program approvals, which we believe requires a coherent process. We intend to share further suggestions in this area during subsequent sessions
Turning to our first point - remedying the gap between demands at the country level and intergovernmental decisions taken at the central level - we suggest the following
The issue of funding of operational activities is becoming increasingly complex. More reflection and analysis is needed to find meaningful ways forward. The Secretary General’s report on funding statistics makes it clear that general statements on core and non-core resources need to evolve. The demands on the UN’s operational activities are changing across the spectrum of development, transition and humanitarian areas. What we need to assess is whether the system’s funding is allowing it to respond more effectively to these demands.
According to the most recent report on funding statistics, there is growing demand for the UN’s services at country level. The nature of the demands at the global and country levels is also changing. In order to respond to these new demands and opportunities, the UN system has been pragmatic and diversified its income streams. It has become better at mobilizing resources, the majority through non-core resources. These mechanisms include global programs, multi-donor thematic funds, country-level resource mobilization, system-wide funds and an expansion of the financial base, including substantial resources from developing countries. We won’t go into all of the details here, but they are described in the version of the statement being circulated.
Mr. President, the system is evolving to meet its new mandates and demands, and we must recognize that we collectively have encouraged it to develop new mechanisms to respond to these. Perhaps, however, there are some questions we should be exploring through these discussions on funding. For example -
1. Do all of these funding sources complement and align with agencies’ specific strategic plans and are these new sources of resources aligned with program countries’ priorities and with their leadership?
2. We need to analyze each form of funding to look at their level of predictability and stability – perhaps there are mechanisms we can use to enhance this?
3. What impact do different income streams have on programme planning and results? Are there ways that we can reduce the burdens associated with multiple funding sources for both the UN system and program countries?
We recognize that these are complex issues. We offer these questions as areas for potential reflection that could help in finding the right path in the area of funding. CANZ is committed to engaging with all delegations on these and other concerns to find pragmatic and meaningful solutions to support the UN system’s impact at country level.