An issue on the UN agenda since 2005
The issue of system-wide coherence was brought to the fore during the World Summit of 2005. A section of the final document (article 169) adopted by heads of State and government was devoted to system-wide coherence, and dealt with development, humanitarian aid and environment. The General Assembly called on the Secretary-General to reinforce management and coordination of operational activities of the UN system so that they could contribute effectively to the objectives set out at the international level in these three fields.
Following the World Summit, then Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced, in February 2006, the creation of a high-level panel of experts whose mission was to explore how the United Nations system could work more coherently and effectively across the world in the areas of development, humanitarian assistance and the environment. This study was intended to lay the groundwork for a fundamental restructuring of the United Nations operational work.
The “Delivering as One” report was issued in November 2006; the United Nations then launched the program of the same name to examine how the Organization could apply a more coordinated approach to finding solutions to development. Eight pilot countries (Albania, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uruguay and Vietnam) offered to cooperate with the United Nations in this experiment aimed at adopting the One UN Program, in support of national development strategies. These experiments are subject to an evaluation process.
Resolution 62/277 (2008) was the first General Assembly decision on system-wide coherence since the high-level panel issued its proposals on development issues. Reflection at the headquarters is based on experience on the ground and is aimed at determining the best way to streamline the UN system in order to achieve improved performance for Member States.
Governance, funding, UN Women
The reflection then focused on three areas: governance of United Nations operational activities (undertaken by the funds and programs), funding of operational activities, as well as institutional arrangements, with the proposed creation of an entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women.
The 63rd session of the General Assembly enabled progress to be made on various key issues aimed at improving UN system performance in order to foster development. Thus, on 14 September 2009, the United Nations General Assembly adopted, by consensus, a new resolution (63/311) on UN system-wide coherence. This resolution supports the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women and proposes the creation of a “composite entity” which would bring together all of the various institutions that focus on women’s issues within the United Nations system. It also calls for improved governance of the United Nations operational activities for development. The Secretary-General is expected to consider a system-wide evaluation system to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the system (more transparency, less redundancy). With regard to funding, the General Assembly is asking the donor countries to increase their voluntary contributions to the regular budget of the United Nations Development Organizations, in particular the funds, programs and specialized institutions.
In order to implement this resolution, new discussions were launched to examine the elements identified as most important: governance, funding, evaluation, and outline of the future type of entity. Exchanges of information were also organized on the work undertaken within the Chief Executives Board, in particular regarding the harmonization of management practices, within the framework of the existing mandates. Technical discussions were launched within the working and focus groups of the Member States enabling the facilitators (Permanent Representatives of Tunisia and Estonia) to present a draft resolution.
A new resolution A/64/289 was adopted on 2 July 2010 by the General Assembly, which contains the following achievements:
— Creation of "UN Women". The resolution creates a new United Nations entity, responsible for promoting gender equality and empower women, by merging four entities, under the direction of a Secretary General / Executive Director. On 14 September 2010, Ms Michelle Bachelet, Chile’s former president, was appointed to head UN Women. She will have broad powers to better take into account issues of male-female equality in UN structures and programs. (Learn more on Protection of women)
— Funding: The resolution acknowledges for the first time the importance of "critical mass" of resources (level of resources sufficient to meet the needs of developing countries), and invites the governing bodies of funds and programs and specialized agencies to undertake a study on the issue.
— "Delivering as One": The resolution welcomes the progress made by the eight pilot countries (Albania, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uruguay and Vietnam) and encourages the Secretary-General to continue this process.
— Governance: the resolution encourages better administrative coordination and a more efficient organization of work between the different UN bodies working for development. It also insists on greater participation of developing States (Least Developed Countries in particular).
8 September 2008 : Statement by Mr. Jean-Maurice Ripert, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations , on behalf of the European Union (in French and in English)
2 July 2010 - A/64/289
16 September 2005 - Outcome Document of the UN World Summit (2005)]
9 November 2006 - Report of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel ’Delivering As One’