The Chair recalled that CEB, at its first regular session of 2013, requested the Committee to prepare an issues paper on the challenges and opportunities faced by the United Nations system in defining its role and contribution within a changed development policy environment, for consideration by the Board at its second regular session of 2013.
Introducing the issues paper, the Vice-Chair recognized the contributions of the drafting group members. He explained that the paper was written against the backdrop of the larger effort to find a coherent approach to integrating sustainable development across the economic, social and environmental dimensions, while also promoting human rights, peace and security, democratic governance, and the rule of law. The thought-piece addressed two topics: first, the conceptual framework, describing what the post-2015 framework could be – a discussion that he recalled was being led by Member States – and how the United Nations system could fit into this definition; and, second, rendering the United Nations system “fit for purpose” in the context of the new expectations and requirements that could arise from the post-2015 framework.
CEB was seen as essential to establishing the required shared system-wide commitment to coherence, and fostering the organizational culture to support this. CEB’s commitment to systemwide policy coherence and to a nexus approach that brought together the various thematic and sectoral foci of the UN system’s work was urgently needed, in particular in light of the multitude of ongoing inter-governmental and inter-agency processes. There was a need to strategically align the UN system in support of the development of the post-2015 agenda, including through the contributions of different inter-agency mechanisms; the CEB was best placed to ensure the level of coordination and discipline required. The next 18 – 24 months would be a critical period for the UN system to assert its leadership in providing guidance and advice to the Member States-led process of crafting a future development agenda and in reaffirming the UN system’s relevance and readiness in supporting Member States in the implementation of that agenda.
The Committee endorsed the proposal to prepare a pragmatic 2-page paper with a few targeted questions, on the basis of the discussion and the background note prepared by the Vice-Chair for consideration by CEB at its Fall 2013 session. The paper would invite Principals to reflect on the constituent elements of a UN system that was ‘fit for purpose’ for serving the world and its peoples in the rapidly changing environment of the 21st century, with discipline, clarity and unity.