New Zealand congratulates the UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and the large number of UNDP staff for their hard work on developing the draft strategic plan 2014-17. The transparent and inclusive facilitation of the consultative process has resulted in the strong, focused and ambitious but (above all) achievable draft plan that we have before us.
As the global leader for international development UNDP must reflect and respond to the major changes taking place in the world. As UNDP has reported, the world is going through an unprecedented transition - the global balance of power is shifting, extreme poverty has dropped to historic lows, more people than ever before now live in cities, and new technologies are revolutionising social behaviour and entire industries – indeed whole societies.
On one hand, progress has not equally benefitted all people. Gender-based violence remains prevalent, disparities within societies are increasing, and the potentially catastrophic consequences of climate change and natural disasters disproportionately affect the poor.
On the other hand, there is, as the Administrator has said, a momentum towards more democratic systems, and the pursuit simultaneously of economic growth, environmental sustainability and social equity. Maintaining this momentum and ensuring development is sustainable, inclusive and equitable is the global task for the next decade. We commend UNDP for focusing on this task in its strategic plan for 2014-17.
Against a backdrop of changing and increasing demands, capacity and skill gaps, rising costs and declining core funding, UNDP has identified its strengths – and weaknesses – in updating its strategic direction and redefined its role. Its strengths lie in its normative foundation and worldwide and trusted presence, working across sectors often in sensitive issues.
As UNDP has already identified, its strengths may not have kept pace with changing demands. Its intellectual outlook needs revamping. More predictable core funding has to be secured. Partnerships have to be strengthened, such as those with DPKO [Department of Peacekeeping Operations], Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and the international financial institutions.
New Zealand commends UNDP for the strong alignment with the strategic plan with the QCPR [Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review], particularly in the areas of poverty eradication (as the greatest global challenge), sustainable development, gender equality and women’s empowerment, transitions from relief to development, and resilience – those last two being particularly relevant in disaster prone countries, such the small island developing states.
The QCPR also, rightfully, draws attention to capacity development as a core function of the UN Development System, the need to mainstream South-South and triangular cooperation; the value of continuous improvements in Delivering as One, and better cooperation on regional issues. As others have also said, we are encouraged to see the increasingly strong focus on improving institutional effectiveness, including the need for strategic focus and ability to scale up work at country level, and value for money, consistent with the QCPR mandates. It will be crucial for UNDP to be demonstrate the difference it is making as it reports to the international community during the implementation of this plan.
We are pleased at the extent to which the Strategic Plan shows how UNDP proposes to contribute to these priorities as set out in the QCPR, within the broader setting of the UN Development System. The plan has also been guided by other United Nations international conferences including Rio=20 [the Conference of Sustainable Development], the Istanbul Programme of Action [for the Least Developed Countries 2011-20] and the Mauritius Strategy [for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States].
New Zealand also applauds and supports the efforts of UNDP, with the Department of Safety and Security, to increase staff security. This is obviously important to ensure business continuity but most importantly it is necessary to protect UNDP’s most valuable assets – its dedicated and courageous staff.
As always New Zealand stands ready to support the UNDP Administrator and her staff in the implementation of the strategic plan 2014-17 and beyond.