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Ministry Statements and Speeches 2013

Second Committee of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly - Operational Activities

Statement delivered by H.E. Mr Jim McLay, Permanent Representative of New Zealand 14 October 2013

Mr Chair

The significance of the General Assembly Resolution 67/226 on the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review of Operational Activities [QCPR] cannot be overstated. For the very first time the UN development system has a common plan of action; and it has an important vehicle for driving UN reform.

New Zealand commends the work of the UN Development Group [UNDG] in developing the QCPR Action Plan to implement and monitor collective action by the UNDG.

We join Viet Nam (on behalf of ASEAN countries) and others in welcoming the committed and comprehensive response by UN funds and programmes to the QCPR as shown in their recently adopted strategic plans [for 2014-17]. Those plans aren’t just a big step forward in terms of aligning planning cycles and coordinating and integrating operational activities across organisations, they also represent a significant milestone in UN reform.  

New Zealand wants to highlight four aspects.

First is the priority given in the Action Plan to a common set of results-based-management tools for monitoring and reporting. Clear and simple reporting of results at the country level will enable us to demonstrate convincingly to our constituencies the UN’s positive impact at country and regional level.

Second, are the actions to simplify and harmonise programming through a lighter and shorter UNDAF [Development Assistance Framework], and the integration in the UNDAF of country-specific measures for disaster prevention and transition from conflict or disaster.

This should greatly improve efficiencies at the country level, through clear division of labour among UN entities, as well as responding better to the needs and priorities of the country.

Third is the expansion of the second generation of Delivering as One, with the development of an integrated package based on the new DAO Standard Operating Procedures, which will ensure that the achievements and experiences of existing DAO countries can be shared for the benefit of countries that want to adopt an upgraded DAO approach.

Fourth is the focus on women’s empowerment and gender equality, rights and participation of persons with disabilities, and disaster risk reduction.

All are mutually reinforcing and an integrated approach to all three will support more inclusive, sustainable and equitable development. The evidence shows that, without investment in these areas, there both social and economic costs.

There are challenges too of course - the most obvious being the fulfilment of the QCPR mandates. Through the QCPR resolution the General Assembly has laid the groundwork for a new vision of the UN for the future; and we must remain resolute in fulfilling that vision.

Mr Chair

Another challenge is securing the commitment of all UN agencies, including the specialised agencies, to the implementation of the UNDG Action Plan and the QCPR.
This must be a priority and we look forward to hearing more about progress in this area - just as we would also like to hear more about the progress being made in the Harmonisation of Business Practices Plan of Action.

Evidence from the first phase of this Plan of Action showed enormous potential for cost efficiencies, not just within individual agencies, but across UN operational activities as a whole – but greater clarity is still needed on how this Plan of Action has been integrated into the reforms institutionalised in the QCPR.

Mr Chair,

This United Nations has been presented with a unique opportunity.

The General Assembly has shown its commitment to improving the UN’s effectiveness and to reinforcing its relevance.

We have a vision, we have a plan, we have the tools to put it into practice, and then to measure progress.

If we can boost our collective effort, we will succeed in not only making the UN more efficient and more relevant, and as Benin [on behalf of the Least Developed Countries] emphasises, more credible. But above all we will have offered billions of people a more dignified, healthier and secure future.

That’s the opportunity, Mr Chair; that’s the challenge; and that’s our task.

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Page last updated: Thursday, 17 October 2013 09:19 NZDT