CEB considered that a principal determinant of the United Nations system’s image in donor as well as recipient countries was its work at the country level. The system could not, therefore, afford to be perceived as a disparate group of competing organizations. CEB members should instead strive to work as a coherent system devoted to bringing its diverse capacities to bear, in a concerted way, on the priorities defined by developing countries. How best to harness the limited resources available to United Nations organizations to maximize their impact remained a major challenge.
While intergovernmental discussions on the whole package of reforms put forward in the Secretary-General’s report on the recommendations of the High-level Panel on System-wide Coherence were under way, work on the eight “One United Nations” projects at the country level was serving to bring the United Nations family closer together. The necessity of showing real results from the pilots by the end of the year was underscored. The main challenge in that regard was setting strategic priorities that corresponded to national requirements and the country’s own priorities. The pooling of resources in response to national priorities was an important next step in order to eliminate unnecessary competition in resource mobilization. CEB agreed that “Delivering as one” was a more accurate slogan than “One United Nations” as the intent was not to merge mandates, but rather to deliver together.
The Board expressed appreciation to the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)/Chair of the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) for the work that had been accomplished so far on “One United Nations” at the country level through the eight pilot projects. Attempts to make the models for those pilot projects flexible to respond to different country requirements and to reflect the diversity of the system should be clarified and strengthened, and the Board generally concurred that the success of the pilot projects would be important in demonstrating the ability of the system to deliver as one. As the pilot projects were still in their early stages, a number of issues remained to be addressed. The Board stressed the experimental nature of the pilot projects and emphasized that progress on the projects should not prejudge the outcome of the intergovernmental deliberations on that issue in the General Assembly.
It was suggested that the eight pilot projects were not necessarily representative of the totality of the system’s work at the country level. The development assistance programme in the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) often did not reflect the totality of the contribution that the United Nations system was making in response to country requirements and priorities. There was, thus, greater need for sensitizing resident coordinators with regard to the fuller services and expertise that non-resident agencies offered. Technical assistance and capacity-building of such agencies was highly specialized and targeted and should be taken into account in pursuing the objectives of “One United Nations” at the country level.
CEB recognized the crucial role of resident coordinators in realizing the “One United Nations” approach and stressed the need to ensure that clear and coherent direction was provided to them and that an appropriate framework was developed for managing their work. Resident coordinators should have clear reporting lines and be accountable to the system as a whole. As part of the overall effort to deliver as one, the Board gave broad support for the establishment under CEB of thematic clusters of interested organizations as a means to ensure that the system’s country-level actions were guided by coherent policy frameworks and that the comparative advantages of the agencies directly engaged were fully drawn on. The Board further agreed that national ownership, comparative advantage, accountability and maximum effectiveness should be the principles guiding the system’s efforts to deliver as one.
The Board fully endorsed the establishment of an evaluation process of the pilot projects, noting at the same time that lessons to be drawn might not be applicable to all the system’s country-level work. In that regard, CEB called upon the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG) to urgently establish the substantive parameters and process for the evaluation of the pilot projects and requested to be kept fully and regularly informed of progress. As a first step, UNEG was mandated to begin work urgently on the development of evaluability criteria and baselines for the evaluation.