Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Statement – UNDP Executive Board: Annual Report of the UNDP Administrator

New York, 08/06/2021 - 22:22, UNIQUE ID: 210608_13
Statements on behalf of the EU

8 June 2021, New York – European Union tatement by H.E. Ambassador Olof Skoog, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, on Agenda Item 6: Annual Report of the Administrator of UNDP

 

 - Check against delivery -

 

Madame Stoeva, President of the UNDP Board, Mr Steiner,  Administrator of UNDP,

 

This statement is delivered on behalf of the European Union as a donor.

 

First of all, let me thank the President for her introduction and  Mr Steiner for sharing the highlights of his annual report, insights on the achievements under  the current Strategic Plan, in the context  of UNDS reform and the  COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the directions for the next Strategic Plan for 2022 to 2025. Let me also express our appreciation  to UNDP staff for their strong commitment during these truly challenging times.

This is the second Annual Meeting of the Boards held in virtual format.  COVID-19 remains a threat to all. While the pandemic has disrupted all countries, it is first and foremost a development emergency, jeopardizing our common ambition in the 2030 Agenda.

Vaccines give hope that the worst is behind us. For all countries to have a way out of this pandemic and get back on the road of progress towards the SDGs, equal access to vaccines and rapid action is needed. For this reason, the EU has been one of the initiators of the COVAX Facility and - with our Team Europe approach the EU with its Member States - is a lead  contributor with close to €3 billion to-date. COVAX seeks to secure at least 1.8 billion doses for 92 low and lower middle-income countries at affordable prices and free of cost for the 61 countries considered most vulnerable. Half of the vaccines produced in Europe have been exported to other countries in the world, as many as those delivered to EU citizens.  Setting up effective systems for vaccine distribution is critical and urgent. We would like to learn more about UNDP’s collaboration with UNICEF and WHO in supporting countries in that respect.

We commend UNDP’s  crucial role in  the UN response to COVID-19,  notably with its technical lead on the socio-economic impact assessments and the corresponding socio-economic response plans  (SERPs).

 

The EU strongly appreciates its collaboration with UNDP and the IMF on promoting integrated national financing frameworks, implemented to-date in 62 countries, which align COVID-19 related funding and national budgets with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement.

 

UNDP’s contribution to UNDS reform has been instrumental for its success.  The role of UNDP as integrator with a mandate across all SDGs and the implementation of the QCPR decision remain crucial. A separate meeting on UNDS reform and QCPR was held with NY-based agencies and WFP last week and we refer to the statement we delivered on that occasion.

We encourage the translation of the lessons learned from accelerated cooperation between agencies in the COVID response – seen as the Litmus test of the reform - into future action and extending it to more UN agencies, while seeking to build synergies and increase efficiency.

In that context, we welcome the announcement that the SERPs are being integrated into the UNSCDFs (UN sustainable development cooperation frameworks) prepared by the host countries and the Resident Coordinator offices. Importantly, we strongly encourage a culture shift to collective outcomes and work on joint results indicators.

UNDP’s current Strategic Plan marked the beginning of a new direction for the agency. We welcome its many innovations such as the  “People for 2030” strategy, the UNDP digital strategy, the Global Policy Network, the Accelerator Labs Network and the Crisis Bureau, noting that some still have to reach their full potential. Importantly, the Plan proofed not only “reform-ready”, but also “pandemic resistant”.

We welcome the intense consultation process for the preparation of the new Strategic Plan and urge the careful consideration of the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the independent review of the current Plan. We look forward to receiving the first draft of the new Strategic Plan and to the continuation of consultations with the Board before adoption in the second regular session.

Going forward, we consider UNDP’s commitment in the following areas particularly important:

  • Country focus: Results and impact on the ground; efficiency and effectiveness, particularly at country level, is important, including ensuring results from the UNDS reform more broadly. Preserving the momentum and progress on UNDS reform is key.
  • Gender: Strengthening the translation of the gender objective into action, and continuing the successful collaboration with UN Women, building  on the successful introduction of gender markers in the COVID-19 assessment and response.
  •  Climate & environment: A key area of EU-UNDP collaboration; inspired by its 2020 Human Development Report on the Anthropocene, UNDP should intensify its assistance to program countries on adaptation and mitigation, and their structural transformation to a green economy, conservation and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems, sustainable agriculture, food security and better disaster risk management. This should include forging new alliances including with the private sector.
  • Leaving No One Behind: Seeking to get a better grip on how to implement this universally accepted principle is particularly relevant for countries in special situations, notably the least developed countries. We expect UNDP, together with UNCDF, to play a prominent role in the run-up to the LDC5 conference in Doha in January 2022.
  • Fragility and conflict: Intrinsically linked with the inability of countries to progress towards the SDGs, UNDP must  increase attention to countries affected by such situations. This requires cross-pillar cooperation within the UN system and better operationalization of the Humanitarian-Development-Peace nexus.
  • Governance: The pandemic has tested the social contract between the state and its institutions and societies. Reinforcing the social contract including attention to human rights should continue to be high on UNDP’s agenda.
  •  Innovation: Thinking outside the box, including the use of new technologies and the digital agenda for development, is seen as one of the key enablers of the new plan.
  • Collaborative solutions: When faced with global problems, collaboration is a sine qua non.

 

At this time, the EU is starting the programming of support to external partners over the next seven-year period under the new “Global Europe” instrument, premised on the 2030 Agenda. In parallel, we seek to translate our recently adopted new policy orientations on strengthening rules-based multilateralism into focused and action-oriented strategic engagement with the UN system.

 

UNDP is one of our most important UN partners, both in terms of financial support provided by the EU and in terms of alignment of our agendas, reinforced by our strong field presence around the globe.

 

The orientations for UNDP’s new Strategic Plan align very well with the EU’s objectives.  Against this backdrop, Mr Steiner, we look forward to four more years of partnership under your leadership of UNDP.

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