UNDP / UNFPA Executive Board : UNDP Strategic Plan and Integrated Budget 2014-2017
Statement by Canada, Germany, Israel, United States and the Netherlands
Thank you Mr. President and thank you Ms. Clark for your opening statements.
I am delivering this statement on behalf of Canada , Germany, Israel, the United States and my own country, the Netherlands.
After a period of intensive exchange of ideas and further refinements, we are pleased to see a comprehensive strategic plan, with theories of change for each outcome and an elaborated and integrated results and resources framework, that are greatly improved when compared with earlier versions. We appreciate the interactive process leading to this document and look forward to continuing consultations in the coming year as work progresses on the results framework to further strengthen the indicators, baselines and targets.
Allow me to make a few comments on the strategic plan, on the integrated results and resources framework, and on the integrated budget.
We support the general direction of the new strategic plan and its increased focus on areas of demonstrated expertise and comparative advantage and a limited number of clearly defined outcome areas. We believe it will help UNDP to carry out its mandate as the central and coordinating UN development agency, and achieve greater focus and effectiveness at all levels.
The world has made good headway towards halving poverty, but we cannot ignore the bitter reality of those continuing to live in extreme poverty or conflict. Peace, security and rule of law are key to getting the poorest of the poor out of poverty. In addition, inclusion, participation and gender equality are not only rights but also indispensable for sustainable development and economic growth. Ninety-five percent of disaster fatalities occur in developing countries. It is the poor who live in the most drought, flood and extreme weather prone regions and suffer most when catastrophe occurs.
If we want to eradicate poverty, we need to address these issues. We therefore appreciate the attention in the strategic plan to democratic governance, gender equality, rights, building resilience, disaster risk reduction, early recovery in post conflict and post disaster situations, and transition.
UNDP’s areas of work have linkages with other UN organizations, international agencies and banks, civil society and the private sector. In order to avoid duplication and inefficiencies, we urge UNDP to pay systematic attention to coordination and ensure an appropriate division of labor with other actors. In our view, this is especially needed in the work envisaged under outcome area 1 ‘Growth and development are inclusive and sustainable’. This outcome area remains very broad. It will be important to develop and maintain an informed division of tasks, based on complementarity and institutional and in-country expertise, with other organizations such as the World Bank and UNEP. UNDP has strong added value in the area of governance. With regard to climate adaptation, the added value of UNDP in our view is to give support to the implementation of the governance reforms necessary to build sufficient resilience.
As stated in the Strategic Plan, gender equality is critical to achieving progress on poverty reduction and sustainable development. We welcome the separate outcome on gender equality. We acknowledge the work that has gone into integrating gender equality throughout the areas of work, and we feel this should also be duly reflected in the results framework. In relation to outcome 4 ‘Faster progress is achieved in reducing gender inequality and promoting women's empowerment’ a clear task division with UN Women and UNFPA will be required. We also look forward to UNDP’s Gender Equality Strategy, which should be adequately funded, to further elaborate on the gender dimensions of each outcome area in the context of the Strategic Plan.
Secondly, on the results framework
We appreciate the consistent approach towards impact, outcomes and outputs in the results framework. The MDG experience has taught us that using aggregate data based on averages tells us only part of the story, often leaving severe inequalities unexposed. We need disaggregation of data to better identify and address these inequalities and promote equal opportunities. We encourage UNDP to incorporate sex disaggregated indicators, baselines and targets where relevant in order to ensure that gender equality is mainstreamed, and duly reported in all areas, and not just within the specific outcome area on gender.
We expect that, in general, reporting on progress will require considerable efforts and we emphasize that parallel data collection systems should be avoided as much as possible. We appreciate the country office pilot and recommend that UNDP further investigates with country offices possible bottlenecks in data collection systems and suggest developing clear guidelines for data collection and aggregation. Furthermore, in our experience, it is beneficial to provide country offices with an opportunity to “tell their story” so that reporting becomes more than a compulsory counting exercise and provides meaningful input for an analytical narrative that explains UNDP's contributions to change processes.
While we expect the robust results framework to support improved results reporting, we also wish to underline the importance of ensuring strong and independent Audit and Evaluation functions for ensuring accountability and critical feedback and lessons for improving performance.
Thirdly, on the integrated budget
We welcome the increased contribution of other resources to the institutional budget. The agreement reached earlier this year on the new cost recovery policy is an important step towards full cost recovery, proportionally from core and non-core resources, and ending the cross-subsidization of non-core activities from core resources. Like wise, we are pleased to see the decreasing share of management activities in the overall budget and we encourage UNDP to continue its efforts in fostering increased efficiency.
The economic crisis affects program countries, donors and UN agencies. The financial figures in the integrated budget are current estimates and actual funding may therefor require adjustments in due course. Against this background we recommend a prudent but flexible approach to formulating targets and consider the mid-term review an opportunity to make the required adjustments.
We note that some expenditures are still to be covered exclusively through regular resources only. One example is the contribution of UNDP to UN development coordination activities. This in our view does not reflect the principle of full proportionality, neither does it reflect the supportive role of UN coordination for increased effectiveness and efficiency of all UN activities. While accepting this as an interim approach, we feel that it should be revisited in the review of the cost recovery methodology, in 2015.
While we are encouraged to see specific budgets for gender equalit, we are concerned with the amounts allocated. In particular, we are concerned that outcome area 4, dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, is only allocated 2.7% of the programmatic budget, which translates to 2.4% of the total budget. We expect UNDP to ensure systematic tracking of gender resources allocated to the other six outcome areas, in order to satisfy the requirements of the QCPR.
In our view, the integrated budget document could have provided greater clarity on the allocation of resources to the programmatic components. The additional information provided last week, which also included specifics on the level of resources to be allocated to the important functions of audit, investigation, and evaluation is helpful and crucial for the Board to take an informed decision. We also look forward to more information on the rationale for the lines relating to the Regional and Global windows, and to Development Effectiveness activities. We look forward to engaging with UNDP on the justification for these budget lines based on their performance and fit to the new strategic plan. In this regard we would appreciate to have more information on the structural review, its scope, possible implications and process. A concern is the remaining 10 % of the budget for activities that are not linked to the seven outcome areas. We consider this percentage high and are pleased to have learned that the percentage will be decreasing.
We wish to conclude by reiterating our deep appreciation of the open and collegial manner in which UNDP has developed its strategic plan and budget. We look forward to our continued cooperation and dialogue with UNDP for a successful implementation.