Mon | Aug 19, 2019

UN announces reform agenda

Published:Monday | June 17, 2019 | 12:09 AM

The joint posts of United Nations (UN) resident coordinator and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative have been officially separated, making way for a new post for UN resident coordinator. The new coordinator will be designated as the highest-ranking member of its country teams.

The announcement was made at an event last week to explain the global repositioning and transformation of the UN development system.

UN resident coordinator, Bruno Pouezat, described the split as one of a host of historic reforms of the UN development system that will impact all 34 UN agencies, funds, programmes and other departments of the UN development ­system at its headquarters and offices across the globe.

The reforms, which were entered into force on January 2019, were mandated by UN General Assembly Resolution 72/79 in May last year and endorsed by all 193 member states, including Jamaica.

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Pouezat said the separation of the UNDP ­resident representative and UN resident coordinator ­functions also means that the UNDP and UN resident coordinator’s office have been divided. The resident coordinator’s office is now established as part of a global UN resident coordinators’ system and strengthened with five new core posts to support its new extensive functions: strategic planning, development economics, partnerships and development finance, data and results management and reporting, and communications and advocacy.

He said the empowered and strengthened UN resident coordinator post is specially mandated to lead the UN country team in its joint coordinated responsibility of helping countries achieve the established Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Quoting the UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, Pouezat explained: “Sustainable development has been placed at the heart of the UN’s work, and the 2030 agenda will serve as our blueprint.”

Among the other changes designed to reinforce global action on Agenda 2030 are established mechanisms designed to strengthen the implementation of SDGs at the country level, including better support to UN country teams to be more responsive to Agenda 2030 in a coherent, integrated manner. The UN has also put in place a new system-wide ­strategic document to guide global efforts on Agenda 2030 and a new programming ­framework at the country level to emphasise results reporting, focused on changed lives and progress for those countries furthest behind.

The resident coordinator also disclosed a major shift in reporting relationships. The UN resident ­coordinator is now part of the UN Secretariat, ­reporting directly to the secretary-general. A ­reinforced management and accountability framework will hold the members of the UN country team, including the resident coordinator, accountable for their contribution to the work of the team.

In addition, the UN country team and the UN ­resident coordinator will report to the government on the implementation of the UN’s country ­programming framework.

Pouezat also clarified that the UN resident ­coordinator will lead the UN country team. Individual agency heads remain accountable for their specific agency mandates and report to their own institutions regarding those mandates. They will also retain their direct lines of communication with partner ministries.

“Taken together, this reform package is a bold step, easily the most ambitious in decades, but a needed answer to the call for the UN to meet the demands of the 2030 agenda. The steps are in place to fix the machine,” Pouezat said.