At its second regular session 2008, CEB endorsed the management and accountability framework for the United Nations development and resident coordinator system, including a functional firewall for the resident coordinator system. The agreement contains a vision to guide the creation of a better-managed and more efficient United Nations development system. To operationalize the agreement, the United Nations Development Group developed and endorsed a detailed implementation plan with clear and actionable outputs, timelines, responsibilities and accountabilities for actors at the headquarters, regional and field levels. Progress will be tracked throughout 2009 and the framework will be assessed at the end of the year.

The second round of stocktaking reports has been received from the eight delivering-as-one pilot project countries. The lessons learned from the stocktaking exercise will be presented in a synthesis report in June 2009. In 2008, the focus of the pilot projects shifted from process orientation to the implementation of programmes jointly developed in the spirit of the One United Nations initiative. Throughout the year, there were increased indications of alignment with national priorities and reform agendas, including increased alignment with the Paris Declaration, with several pilot countries scoring above the targets for 2008 set by the United Nations in relation to Paris Declaration indicators. Good examples were noted of resident and non-resident agency collaboration in regard to national requests for support in response to climate change, increasing food prices and the impact of the financial crisis on vulnerable populations. The United Nations Development Group developed tools to mainstream the integrated programme and operations approach applied in the pilot countries. It is expected that the toolkit assembled by the United Nations Development Group, which was launched earlier in 2009 and which incorporates guidance, lessons and experiences from both pilot and non-pilot countries, will further help facilitate voluntary change management processes at the country level with a view to achieving greater efficiency, coherence, relevance and effectiveness, as called for by the General Assembly in its resolution 62/208, on the triennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system.

Countries which are in a position to adopt the elements of the delivering-as-one approach (including the development of a United Nations Development Assistance Framework Action Plan) towards more integrated programming at the country level and which voluntarily come forward to do so may be considered eligible for the expanded delivering-as-one funding window for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, recently established under the governance structure of the United Nations Development Group. The objective of the expanded funding window is to provide an incentive for the United Nations system to improve the coherence, effectiveness and relevance of its operations at the country level. The expanded funding window builds on the success of the broadening of the Spain/ UNDP Millennium Development Goal Achievement Fund to include additional donor countries and United Nations organizations.

The joint preparations undertaken within the United Nations Development Group for the High-level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (Accra, 2-4 September 2008), are illustrative of the advances made towards harmonizing and coordinating the work of the funds, programmes and agencies that constitute the United Nations development system. In follow-up to the Forum, which resulted in the adoption of the Accra Agenda for Action and the broad consensus that aid volumes must be matched with further improvements in aid quality and effectiveness, the United Nations Development Group is in the process of preparing a corresponding guidance note and a strengthened action plan on aid effectiveness to provide practical guidance to United Nations country teams for effective engagement in the rapidly changing aid environment.

The 2008 survey on monitoring the Paris Declaration, which was undertaken in the run-up to the High-level Forum, confirmed that the United Nations system had made tangible progress in implementing the Paris principles over the preceding two years. However, enhanced efforts are needed to achieve the targets set for 2010. In particular, there is need for improved utilization of country systems, including national procurement and public financial management systems. The United Nations Development Group is, in this connection, developing aid effectiveness indicators for United Nations Development Assistance Framework programmes, which will reflect the specific nature of United Nations contributions to national development.

Similar to the joint preparations undertaken for the High-level Forum, the preparations for the Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, held in Doha from 29 November to 2 December 2008, also benefited from a collaborative effort in the form of a joint task team of the United Nations Development Group and High-level Committee on Programmes. Work is currently ongoing within the United Nations development system to analyse how best to support country capacity to both manage official development assistance as effectively as possible and access diverse sources of finance.