UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has thrown its weight behind the steps outlined by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to better position the UN to deliver tangible results in the lives of the people it services as the organization moves towards implementing the ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The UN.chief’s recommendations, made in a speech to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), included establishment of a “Funding Compact” between member states, strengthening the role of resident coordinators of country teams and shifting the chairmanship of the development system to the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed.
In her preliminary comments on Guterres’ recommendations, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, stressed the importance of setting a clear path for consultations with member states as the process goes forward.
The secretary-general’s outlined vision will be translated into a full-blown report in December for consideration by ECOSOC and later the General Assembly.
“As for the report itself, we fully support the principal objective of the review, which is to ensure that the UN Development System is well positioned to support implementation of the 2030 Agenda in a comprehensive manner,” she said.
On his part, the UN chief thanked Ambassador Lodhi for her support and comments.
“While we agree that sustainable development builds resilience and sustains peace, and durable peace enables sustainable development, an over emphasis on prevention within the development context could fundamentally change the nature of the UN Development System,” the Pakistani envoy said.
“Maintaining the development focus of the System is critical,” she added.
Guterres said he agreed with Ambassador Lodhi that centrality of development should be maintained and all the work of the UN’s Development system should be focused to this end.
“Humanitarian and other aspects of our work will never be allowed to sacrifice the development focus of the system”, he added.
Addressing the growing imbalance between core and non-core financing of the UN Development System and how it undermines predictability, effectiveness, coordination and accountability Ambassador Lodhi said addressing this will be critical to measuring the success of the reform.
At the same time, she voiced concern that the “modest approach” outlined in dealing with the gaps associated with the SDGs coverage, saying the UN Development System should be able to assist countries in implementing them in a comprehensive manner.
Ambassador Lodhi described as the “litmus test for success” the three principles identified in the report — reinforcing national ownership and leadership; ensuring a country contextual response; and country level delivery.
At the regional level, she said there was a need to improve the coherence and coordination of the UN Development System. “This review, however, should also factor in the diversity of various regions and their respective priorities.”
Ambassador Lodhi also welcomed the assigning of comprehensive responsibilities on Sustainable Development to the deputy secretary-general, creation of a redesigned SDG unit and an Executive Committee to promote integrated decision-making.
Wining up the discussion, the secretary-general thanked the Pakistani envoy for her support to his reform initiative.
“I also agree that while creating new linkages we must continue to focus on transparency and accountability,” he said, responding to her remarks.
“You pointed out your concern about our modest approach in dealing with gaps associated with the SDGs and I will like to say that we will continue to work with Member States to make it a little less modest.”