The “Delivering as One" (DaO) Initiative: System-wide Coherence reform 2008 to present
By Katie Jagel
18 April 2012
This article is a summary of the Delivering as One initiative, monitoring the events which took place from inception up through implementation and subsequent evaluations. It tracks the events and debates which took place since 2008 up through the latest Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review planning documents, planned for late spring of 2012.
The DaO program design seeks to enhance coordination between normative UN organizations, specialized organizations and civil societies, and the country level UN programs. The Delivering as One initiative transformed from a larger theoretical inter-state framework into the Delivering as One at a Country level initiative. The history of the DaO stems from the 2005 World Summit established the 2006 High Panel on System-wide Coherence, which recommended the “Delivering as One” (DaO) initiative. DaO is unique compared to the other SWC clusters because of its bottom-up approach, whereas the others (governance, funding, harmonization of business practices…) are often normative, top-down reforms.
DaO is a state-by-state initiative. The 2007 triennial comprehensive policy review (TCPR) declares that there is a “need for an independent evaluation of lessons learned from (voluntary efforts to improve coherence, coordination and harmonization in the United Nations development system, including at the request of some 'program country pilot' countries).” The mantra and goal of the DaO initiative is One Leader, One Program, One Budget, One Office, and One Voice (One Voice was added after inception). At the end of 2006, eight countries volunteered to launch pilot programs of the DaO initiative: Albania, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uruguay and Vietnam. The programs launched in early 2007 and transferred to UNDG leadership in 2010. The idea was to have UN system work more directly with pilot country governments to enhance ground presence, create efficient, sustained results, and lower transaction costs.
62nd Session: Stocktaking
In 2008, the DaO initiative connected to the Common Country Problems initiative, which launched in 2004, under an umbrella mandate to bring coherence to fragmented development structure. Common Country Problems combines several UN agencies (UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, WFP) together with national governments to plan, enact and monitor development activities jointly at the country level. Since the DaO launched in 2007 under a similar mandate, it made sense to bring these two initiatives together.
In April 2008, an ‘informal progress check’ consisted of two preliminary evaluations of the pilot programs, called a ‘Stocktaking Exercise’. The preliminary 2008 Stocktaking Exercise yielded three main results: increased government leadership and ownership was leading to greater alignment of UN and government development-related priorities; UN agencies were demonstrating increased participation and joint programming; and lastly, that One Program, One Fund and One Leader were proving to be effective tools, while One Office and One Voice were still in need of more development for any measurement. Because the programs had essentially just begun, the more formal discussions of program results would take place after the second pilot year in 2009.
To analyze this preliminary feedback, the two 2008 co-Chairs of System-wide Coherence (SWC), Ambassadors Augustine Mahiga of Tanzania and John Paul Kavanagh of Ireland, traveled to Paris, Rome and Geneva to meet with specialists from 12 UN bodies. The co-Chairs delivered their remarks to the General Assembly on May 16th 2008, and a formal report followed on July 21st.
Noted in the report of the co-Chairs, UN agencies and programs on the ground were showing a comprehensive and coordinated effort while coexisting under separate mandates. Joint programming at a country level was showing clear benefits as well. There was an apparent increase in awareness for facilitated national ownership of programs accomplished by aligning DaO efforts with country-specific priorities and by tailoring outside agencies performance indicators to those of specific country offices. Raised collaboration and mutual accommodation were a result of the increased authority given to the Resident Coordinator, or 'One Leader' aspect of the country offices. Countries adopted structural mechanisms to replicate the Chief Executives Board (CEB) on the ground. These boards adopted steps to harmonize business practices within the country offices. The funding aspect of the programs were less positive, however, with concerns relating to the inability to strike a balance between core and non-core funding (agency vs. country based spending), and the unpredictability and unreliability of UN funding. In closing, the co-Chairs emphasized a rejection of a “one size fits all” approach, and that individual state priorities should be fundamental for the overall success of the program. The co-Chairs recommended that informal consultations continue throughout the 63rd Session and that the final modalities of an approach to evaluations should be decided and finalized by the 64th Session in 2009.
63rd Session: Roadmap
In June 2009, co-Chairs briefed Members on the three-stage evaluation process of the pilot countries, blueprinted by the 2007 High-level Committee on Programmes (a body also created by the 2006 High Level Panel) and the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG). The first stage, was the 2008 UNDG Stocktaking Exercise, an assessment of the 'evaluability' of the DaO initiative; this would be followed by an evaluation of the implementation process completed by 2009; and finally, a comprehensive evaluation of results and impacts of the pilot programs on a country specific basis by 2011. The 'Stocktaking Exercise' of 2008 completed Stage 1 of the evaluation. The 63rd session replaced the latter two stages of the pilot evaluation with: a state-led nation-wide evaluation of country offices, launched in October 2009 and then secondly, an independent evaluation (for which the modalities were still being developed) completed by 2011.
Member States first commented on the preliminary evaluation during the June debriefing. Member State's responses to the debriefing were positive. Because the pilot activities were being handled through the pilot-states themselves, this took some pressure off the larger, bureaucratic UN body. The most active States and subsequent statements were therefore from Member States that were also pilot countries. Several challenges were addressed, however, included the funding gaps (Uruguay and Mozambique), the importance of lower transaction costs (Switzerland, Rwanda), and a general lack of updated information on how the pilots were progressing. Many States asked for a website with clear and coherent information to act as a channel to civil society groups and the rest of the UN System.
The 63rd Congress then passed Resolution 311 which re-iterated support for the initiative. The document requested that the Secretary-General make arrangements for an evaluation structure for the 'lessons learned' from pilot efforts, to “inform the General Assembly of the modalities and terms of reference of this independent evaluation” during the 64th Session. A joint meeting then took place early 2010 between the UNDP, UNICEF, and the WFP on the DaO and its benefits on country-wide cohesion, and the lessening of gender violence. It was also decided that the DaO initiative would come under the leadership of the UNDG. The “UNDG is focusing on resolving specific issues related to the implementation of country programmes, including those for the ‘delivering as one’ pilot countries.” This gave the program more direct leadership.
64th Session: Country-led Evaluations
The 64th Session co-Chairs, Ambassadors Tiina Intelmann of Estonia and Ghazi Jomaa of Tunisia, resumed informal discussions in February. They recommended continued National ownership; this included highlighting their role in the state-led evaluations. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon stated that the pilots' state-led evaluations would be completed in July 2010, following the June 2010 intergovernmental meeting of pilot countries in Vietnam. Many States agreed with a statement put out by the Netherlands, which pressed for an efficient time-line, wherein the third stage of evaluations would begin promptly after the state-led evaluations closed in July 2010.
At the 2010 Hanoi Conference, a stark message was sent when the pilot countries asserted “… there is no going back to doing business in the manner prior to the “Delivering as One” initiative.” In her remarks, Helen Clark, the Chair of the UNDP writes, “In many countries where we operate, the UN development system is still too heavy on programme management and project implementation, and too light in its capacity for strategic and policy advice, technical assistance, and advocacy. This has to change in order for us to support the development aspirations of programme countries more effectively.” All the independent country reports were finished by the summer of 2010, except for Pakistan, who chose to pursue a second stocktaking report. Malawi was included in the independent reports as a beta-version, but is not summarized below.
All 2010 evaluations were carried out separately and used different frameworks, but all analyzed the 5-pillar approach of One Program, One Leader, One Budgetary Framework, One Office and One Communication Strategy (One Voice). Each program had different goals, different budgets, and different amounts of staff to fit country-specific needs and policies. Each country had a different organization leading their evaluation, some exported the evaluation to an outside agency and some conducted it from within national governments. Because there was no pre-existing framework for this sort of report, all reports have different structures. None of the reports contain baseline references, but some use ‘the Paris Declaration indicators' as a loose guideline for success. Creation of progress indicators were widely recommended. Further, because of the lack of existing examples, much of the documentation concerning the progress of DaO pilot programs came from within the UN pilot organizations themselves, leading to some inherent bias.
The DaO Albania framework was strategically set up to be aligned with Albania’s EU integration and development goals. The implementation strategy was a dichotomous one featuring strategic inclusiveness and joint implementation. The DaO program represented 85% of UN work within the country. The evaluation showed that since early 2007 there had been an increase in government ownership, reflected in the partnership between the government and Joint Executive Committee (JEC)in instituting fund allocation mechanisms. The report praised a Coherence Fund, set up in 2007 as having “outperformed expectations in terms of bridging the funding gap, whereas conventional pledge funds have been below expectations”. This reflects a larger problem within the UN system as a whole, of an imbalance of core vs. non-core funding. The Ministry of Economics told analysts that the DaO had made a “big difference in helping Government take ownership of donor support and in facilitating communication among Government and agencies.” The DaO received support from a spectrum of partners, ranging from government ministries to civil society organizations. The evaluation clearly showed “improved programming, joint implementation and monitoring of programmes, reduced duplication and fragmentation in external relationships.” Another unique positive outcome was the UN's ability to respond swiftly to “Government requests for short-term, specific technical assistance”. Because of this newfound effectiveness and flexibility, new partnerships with the World Bank and the European Commission launched.
For the next level of development challenges, resulting from the country's upgrade from a lower-middle income country to a middle-income country in 2009, the report recommended more corporate leadership. While the DaO pilot had successfully implemented the One Program and One Budget/Fund elements, it had not fully institutionalized the authority of the One Leader, or consolidated management under 'One Office'. The experience with the UN’s neutrality, support of EU accession, advocacy on gender issues, as well as the improved coordination with counterparts, “have been the most memorable indicators of the improved response of the DaO to Albania's priorities”. The analysts believed the most valuable contributions were to come, from policy advice, technical assistance, and advocacy.
Cape Verde had no such EU membership aspirations but instead took on a more objective approach, looking to be more responsive to national development goals, more effective in delivering development results, and more effective funding and management. The analysts showed that the country sought inter-agency cooperation and greater access to a range of mandate programs and areas of expertise. The evaluation again showed clear advances in “communication, information sharing, and team spirit within the UN system and between country partners.” DaO specifically, had provided access to a larger budget and achieved access to those increased number of agencies, mandates and expertise. This, in turn, opened up data and technical assistance in regards to trade, international trade standards, industry, etc. Further, the greater inter-UN agency coordination led to a better relationship between local and national governments with the UN. The government itself found the UN cohesiveness and available information to be in line with its own strategies and national development priorities. The evaluation writes that, “coherence of the agencies interventions and programmes can still be improved, but overlap has already been addressed in some subprogrammes.”
Recommendations included receiving more direction from from both the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) and the DaO Steering Committee. The main critiques concerned the One Program aspect of DaO, for which they recommended “increased focus and improved Monitoring & Evaluation capacity and framework”. This would lead to more effective advantages in advocacy, a more reliable government partnership, and normative and technical advisory support (goals recommended at the Hanoi Conference).
In Mozambique, the country goals were again to attain a more coherent, better-coordinated, funded and managed UN. There was an emphasis on increased support for its programs. The UN in Mozambique “initiated the process of testing and obtaining improved economies of scale, bargaining power, transaction efficiencies and cost savings through harmonization and common services.” DaO Mozambique was built on a United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). Like the other pilots Mozambique succeeding in creating horizontal national coordination with its 'One Leader' program. The Mozambique government was working alongside the One Leader and One Program helping with corporate and institutional authority. Progress on all national development goals had increased through the joint programming and humanitarian operations. The report stated, however, that because there was no baseline measurement, the overall effectiveness was hard to judge.
The main critiques had to do with institutional architecture. There is specific mention in the Mozambique report of structural 'silos' forming; separate institutions all with vertical chains of command leading to duplication of services and resources. Although DaO had lessened this to some extent, it was still apparent to a large degree. Duplication of information, and One Fund cohesion needed to be addressed further. The evaluation confirmed the economic advantages of DaO and improvements in development and humanitarian operations as well as Gender, HIV and AIDS and Human Rights.
Rwanda- Vol I, Vol II
DaO Rwanda was working to strengthen and achieve national goals that reflected the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The evaluation report noted good progress made in education, gender equality, HIV/AIDS, malaria, water, sanitation and the promotion of environmental sustainability. The evaluation praised Rwanda’s Joint Planning program and said it “has opened the door for an efficient engagement by the UN task forces...[leading]to the deepening of the UN's commitment towards human rights, gender, and monitoring and evaluation (M&E).”
The report cited the need for clearer financial transparency and aid predictability, and the need for lower transaction costs on operational matters. There are still mixed views on whether UN efforts have fully met the expectations of the country government, but it was reiterated there is no real way to measure any type of progress yet. The report recommends performance indicators as a way of self-measurement in all fields. Recommendations included enhanced coordination between agencies and the One Office, which was still in its planning stages. The report put emphasis on communications via “One Voice” because it was thought to be able to lead to heightened achievements in the areas of “messaging, advocacy, media penetration and training and capacity development”. The report made specific mention to future planning, saying that it was necessary to make goals to have a clear, cohesive exchange of information that would aid in this endeavor.
The goals of UN Tanzania were similar to the other pilot countries- “increasing aid predictability; integrating external resources in the Government budget and Exchequer system; harmonizing and rationalizing Government and Development Partner processes; and strengthening capacity for external resource management and aid coordination.” Analysts cited that Tanzania had a fully developed “One Program capacity, but the management of the JP's is spread across several agencies resulting in a lack of cohesion in terms of a direct and centralized authority and management capacity”. One unique progression of DaO Tanzania was the integrated common IT platform instituted within the 'One Office', this included three communication towers which would greatly help the dispersal and sharing of information between agencies. The Resident Coordinator, or “One Leader” system, was one of the strengths of the Tanzania program. The future of One Voice was aided by a clear road map towards key advocacy issues on the public agenda.
Critiques followed. Because of the DaO program, Tanzania had received a lot more funding, however again, funds were earmarked for specific agencies rather than the 'One Fund', and this had caused a fragmentation problem. The evaluation recommended a simplified funding mechanism. There were also problems with convincing the independently elected heads of agencies to align themselves or feel any sort of accountability to the RC, and the position became reliant on the “goodwill” of the agency heads.
DaO Uruguay is unique because it started as the only “middle income country” (MIC) among the eight countries selected for the pilot experience. It writes that because of the DaO experience, Uruguay was able to address a series of “borderline structural vulnerabilities characteristic of MICs” that compromise sustained development. Like the other pilots, it sought to streamline national policy objectives and develop institutional capacities while considering UN obligations.
The formulation of a joint communication strategy, integrated with the objectives of the One UN and local governments had not yet reached a functional stage, but had formed and already increased overall efficiency and boosted information sharing. The program had allowed Uruguay to facilitate some South-South cooperation as well. The budgetary framework instituted under One Fund had improved resource predictability and monitoring, which increased accountability to the Government, donors, civil society, bi-lateral actors and between UN agencies themselves. Whatever progress secured in One Fund was not reflected in 'One Office' where harmonization of procedures lay pretty much inactive at the time of the evaluation. The Resident Coordinator was able to detect windows of opportunities and subsequently mobilize resources more effectively, but the analysts cited that the strategy assumed by the RC to lead the overall reform process had led to an imbalance in distribution of work.
Viet Nam acted as the poster child for the DaO program for the first year and hosted the 2010 Hanoi Conference to measure the progress of the various pilot nations. One of the unique and effective measures taken by UN VietNam was the successful introduction of Program Coordination Groups (PCGs): groups created specifically to hold agencies accountable for delivering results aligned with national policy. In the One Fund aspect, donors are encouraged from the get-go to give un-earmarked funds. Some donors argued that it is better if the Program is underfunded in order to help focus and concentrate support around high priority objectives, forcing efficiency, but this view was not widely shared. In regards to the One Leader piece, VietNam is also unique because they instituted a Memorandum of Understanding. This document is a voluntary agreement amongst the UN agencies which improved management and accountability, and includes a financial framework. Vietnam added a Green aspect to their 'One Office', trying to reduce emissions and cluster resources to reduce waste. The common location of offices was expected to enhance effectiveness through functional clustering of staff, tackling the vertical structure problem of institutions by physically integrating them. The program expected One Voice to be the end result of integration- the Resident Coordinator speaking for the donors and the organizations based on research achieved through efficient and shared data.
The government’s main concern was that the framework needed to align with national policy direction, honored existing agreements, and respected donor expectations. However, stakeholders often held different expectations, complicating later decisions having to do with funding outcomes. Big challenges remained over allocation of budgets, and there appeared to be unbalanced support from UN headquarters towards reform of management practices rather than management and accountability
In July of 2010 the 64th Session passed Resolution 289, the Resolution addressed all SWC issues in an integrated decision. The ‘Governance’ section contained DaO specifics. In it, Member States encouraged the Secretary-General to proceed with a report for the independent evaluation mechanism to measure lessons learned from the “Delivering as One” pilots, as outlined by the Secretariat and covering all aspects of the initiative.
Before the June Conference at Hanoi, informal consultations had been held from 10-12 March 2010 to discuss evaluative modalities for the third stage of reports. For the independent evaluations, Deputy Secretary-General Asha Rose Migiro supported ad hoc arrangements because the UN lacked a framework or mechanisms for independent evaluations. To lead the ad hoc evaluation, Ban Ki Moon proposed the Evaluation Management Group (EMG) to “design, lead, and manage” the evaluation. The EMG included specialists from each of the five regional groups and two from pilot countries, and the Chairs of the Joint Inspection Unit and UN Evaluation Group (UNEG). The Secretary-General recommended regional groups and pilot countries to nominate evaluative candidates based on criteria specified by the Secretary-General.
The points of disagreement at the meeting rotated around the methods of the independent evaluation, specifically the proposed EMG. The EU and Canada gave statements extending their full support, but the JCC, the G77, and Russia stated that the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) already had an appropriate mandate to administer this type of evaluation and therefore the EMG would be a superfluous entity.
65th Session: Follow-up and Results
On 4 and 7 of February 2011 a joint session on on “Delivering as One: Follow-Up to Hanoi” took place that included the Executive Boards of UNDP, UNFPA, and UNOPS, UNICEF, UN-Women, and the WFP. The outcome document stipulated that the EMG was to be the consolidated independent leader for the third stage independent evaluations. The Joint Session delivered a report focusing on five areas: First, UN Country Teams in pilot countries were engaged in more coherent joint planning, prioritization, and programming. This supported enhanced national ownership and leadership of the development agenda and secured access to the full range of mandates and expertise of UN agencies. The second area concentrated on the One Program approach with a newly simplified set of 2009 guidelines from the UNDAF (created with help from Tanzania), and acknowledgment that development agencies are “heavy on process, and that programming can be fragmented”. This included a promise from the UNDG that it was working to address those concerns. Discussed third was the innovative ways pilot countries had tackled cost effectiveness in regards to funding. Helen Clark, UNDG Chair, and Josette Sheeran, Chair of the HLCM, commissioned a joint UNDG-HLCM high-level mission on harmonization of business practices in response, which visited Albania, Mozambique, Malawi, and VietNam. The fourth piece concerned mobilization of funds, and how successful the One Fund aspect of the program had been; taken up by nine more countries outside of the original pilot eight. Lastly, there was discussion about Resident Coordinators and the management and accountability frameworks.
The next High Level intergovernmental conference on Delivering as One took place at the Montevideo, Uruguay Conference from 8-10 of November 2011. At the conference, along with the eight pilot countries, there were representatives of governments of countries who had voluntarily adopted the DaO approach, dubbed “self-starters” or “participants”. These countries included: Bhutan, Botswana, Comoros, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, and Montenegro. Representatives from governments who were curious to learn about the DaO approach also attended and these included: Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico, Liberia, Paraguay and Russia.
The outcome document covered areas touched upon at the Hanoi conference of 2010. It committed to strengthen multilateralism, and affirmed that “the United Nations, [is] the most legitimate, universal and representative forum to discuss the development agenda.” The report highlights key developments in integrated UN obligations and issues such as “human rights, gender equality, poverty eradication and sustainable development”. The report maintains that an essential aspect of the program lies in national ownership and government leadership and that “South-South and triangular cooperation, their principles, modalities of collaboration and partnerships are different and
are a complement not a substitute to the traditional North-South cooperation”. Funding continued to be an area of reform with states remarking, “…the provision of core un-earmarked, predictable, multiyear and sustained funding is needed”, while simultaneously being aligned with national priorities.
66th Session: Independent Evaluations and the QCPR
In April-June 2012 The Final EMG report on independent DaO evaluation will be published as part of the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR). The EMG was composed, as stipulated, as two evaluation professionals from the eight Delivering as One countries, one expert each from two pilot countries, five evaluation experts nominated by the regional groups, one from each region, working and cooperating with the chairs of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) and the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG). EMG members have elected an expert from the Latin American and Caribbean Region as chairperson.
21 Member States Launch ACT, a New Initiative for Better Working Methods of the UN Security Council
by William Pace, 12 May 2013
On Thursday, 2 May 2013, ACT (Accountability, Coherence, and Transparency) officially launched its initiative for better working methods of the Security Council. This initiative is a follow up to the multi-year efforts from the S5, in particular in regard to its draft resolution L.42 Rev.2 from May 2012.
Chapter 1b on Security Council Reform: September 2007-May 2013
7 May 2013
The Center is updating its 2008 publication on "Managing Change at the UN." Chapter 1b has now been made available online. The publication is intended to serve as a resource for academics, media, NGOs, and newly arrived diplomats.
No Strong Support for Drafting of Concise Working Document: Chair Proposes to Put Negotiations on "Strategic Hold."
Updated 7 May 2013
On 16 and 17 April 2013, Member States discussed ways on how to proceed with the intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform, reacting to the proposals made by the Chair in July 2012. The Chair of the negotiations, Amb.Zahir Tanin of Afghanistan, believes that without a working document that could lead to actual give-and-take negotiations, it might be better to "put the negotiations on strategic hold."
Draft Resolutions on Security Council Reform: Growing Convergence between Developing Countries?
By Lydia Swart, 4 March 2013
Includes draft resolutions from L69 (2012) and CARICOM (2013)
Update on Security Council Reform: Another impasse?
By Lydia Swart, 1 February 2013
An update on Security Council reform efforts from July 2012 - 30 January 2013
Annual debate on the working methods of the Security Council - DPI report
26 November 2012
Joint Debate in the General Assembly on the Report of the Security Council & the Question of equitable representation and increase in its membership - DPI report
15 November 2012
67th Session Third Committee Preview
By Tamara Johnson, 24 October 2012
As the Third Committee progresses with its 67th session, here are some hot button issues with which the NGO community and some delegations (the off the record nature of the consultations informing this article prevents specifics) are particularly concerned.
Report on the Security Council Open Debate on Children in Armed Conflict
By Tamara Johnson, 28 September 2012
The Security Council, on 19 September 2012, held an open debate pertaining to The Report of the Secretary-General A/66/782-S/2012/26 on the status of children in armed conflicts and Resolution 2068(2012), the Security Council’s response to the Secretary-General’s report. While this subject of protecting children seems noncontroversial, the resolution proved more polemical than one may have expected. The principle subject under dispute was the reach of the Security Council’s mandate to protect children in armed conflict. The modalities of such protection and the efficacy or appropriateness of different options were also discussed. This report outlines key aspects of the resolution and the lines of argument the debate followed.
Report on Rio+20 Outcome and Migration: Including all stakeholders in the future we want
By Tamara Johnson, 30 August 2012
On 22 August 2012, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the MacArthur Foundation hosted a seminar to review issues surrounding migration policy in a human rights-based framework, as outlined in the Rio+20 outcome document, "The Future We Want.” This report summarizes the statements made at the event.
Report on the Committee for Development Policy Strategy Beyond 2015
By Tamara Johnson, 10 August 2012
On 23 July 2012, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) heard a briefing by members of the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) regarding development strategy post-2015. The Vice-President of the Council, H.E. Mr. Luis Alfonso de Alba, opened the meeting. CDP members Ms. Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Professor of International Affairs, The New School; and Mr. Norman Girvan, Professional Research Fellow, UWI Graduate Institute of International Relations, University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago reviewed the Committee’s recent report, United Nations Development Strategy Beyond 2015. This article provides a summary of the briefing and the CDP report.
Report on ECOSOC Panel Discussion: "Improving capacities for evidence-based humanitarian decision-making”
By Tamara Johnson, 5 August 2012
On 19 July 2012, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) held a panel discussion, “Improving capacities for evidence-based humanitarian decision-making,” as part of its humanitarian affairs segment on special economic, humanitarian and disaster relief assistance. This report provides a summary of the meeting.
Letter of the Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on SC Reform outlines negotiations thus far and possible ways to move the process along
By Lydia Swart
On 25 July 2012, Amb. Zahir Tanin, in his capacity as Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform, wrote a letter to the President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, in which he provided an overview of the intergovernmental negotiations to date while also outlining possible ways to move the process along, including a concise working document to be drafted by the Chair. It is noteworthy that in spite of this bold move, Amb. Tanin was reappointed by the President of the General Assembly of the 67th Session as Chair of the negotiations.
Report on the Security Council Open Debate on the Peacebuilding Commission
By Tamara Johnson, 20 July 2012
On 12 July 2012, The Security Council (SC) met with representatives of the World Bank and the Chair and former Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) to debate the PBC’s efficacy and relevance. SC President and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Colombia, Her Excellency María Angela Holguín, convened the debate pursuant to the Report of the Peacebuilding Commission on its fifth session (S/2012/70) and a Note Verbale dated 2 July 2012 from the Permanent Mission of Colombia to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (S/2012/511). This report provides a summary of the meeting.
Report on ECOSOC Panel Discussion: “Mobilizing partnerships for development, including in the field of education.”
By Tamara Johnson, 22 July 2012
On 11 July 2012, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) held a panel discussion, “Mobilizing partnerships for development, including in the field of education.” Vice-President of the Council, H.E. Mr. Mootaz Ahmadein Khalil (Egypt) chaired the panel, which was moderated by Ms. Sigrid Kaag, Assistant Secretary-General and Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy, United Nations Development Programme. This report provides a summary of the meeting.
Report of the 4th Thematic Meeting in the Ad Hoc Working Group on Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly
By Mie Hansen,28 June 2012
On 1 June 2012, the Ad Hoc Working Group (AHWG) on Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly met for the fourth and final thematic meeting, dedicated to a discussion of “ Enhancing the functions of the Office of the President of the General Assembly including Strengthening its institutional memory and its relationship with the Secretariat”. This report provides a summary of the meeting.
Report on the 2nd and 3rd Thematic Meeting in the Ad Hoc Working Group on Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly
By Mie Hansen,17 May 2012
On 30 April 2012 and 10 May 2012 the Ad Hoc Working Group (AHWG) on the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly held its 2nd and 3rd thematic meetings, discussing respectively “Working methods of the General Assembly, implementation of GA resolutions and the agenda, as well as operational and technical issues” and “The role of the General Assembly in the selection and appointment of the Secretary-General of the UN, as well as in the selection of candidatures for other executive Heads of the UN system”. This report provides a summary of the two meetings
Report on Security Council Reform Meeting 10 April 2012
By Kirsten Schlosser
4 May 2012
On 10 April 2012 the fifth meeting of the eighth round of Intergovernmental Negotiations was held on Security Council reform. This meeting was devoted to the reform initiative of the C-10, presented by the Member State Sierra Leone. This summary is based on statements given by Member States at the meeting.
Report on Security Council Reform Meeting 13 March 2012
By Kirsten Schlosser
4 May 2012
On 13 March 2012 the fourth meeting of the eighth round of Intergovernmental Negotiations was held on Security Council reform. This meeting was devoted to the reform initiative of the L.69 Group, presented by the Member State Jamaica. This summary is based on statements given by Member States at the meeting.
Report on the first thematic meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly
By Mie Hansen, 25 April 2012
Last Thursday, 19 April 2012, the ad hoc working group on the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly met for the first thematic meeting of the session, dedicated to “The role and authority of the General Assembly and its relationship to the principal organs of the United Nations and other groups outside the United Nations”
Harmonization of Business Practices: System-wide Coherence reform 2008 to Present
By Katie Jagel 23 April 2012
Harmonization of business practices was first introduced to the UN in 1977 within resolution 32/197 which resolved, “…measures should be taken to achieve maximum uniformity of administrative, financial, budgetary, personnel and planning procedures, including the establishment of [...] harmonized budget and programme cycles”. The idea made its resurgence as one of the five surviving clusters of the 2006 High Panel on system-wide coherence (SWC). In a 2009 outcome document from a joint meeting between the executive heads of UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, and WFP, it stipulates, “While simplification and harmonization of business practices in the UN system are not new initiatives, the urgency and momentum, the scope, and the approach are now new aspects of those initiatives.” ECOSOC has subsumed the initiative to a large degree, often with collaboration from the CEB, UNDG, and WFP, with progress shifting away from 'harmonization' and towards 'simplification' starting in 2010.
Improving the Funding System of Operational Activities for Development: System-wide Coherence 2008 to Present
By Katie Jagel 23 April 2012
Funding reform has been, and continues to be, a necessary reform to enhance UN efficiency. This article covers the progress of Funding as a cluster within system-wide coherence in 2008, to the present efforts of improving the funding system of operational activities for development taken on by the Fifth Committee, ECOSOC, UNESDA, and the CEB.
Strengthening Governance of Operational Activities for Development: System-wide Coherence 2008 to Present
By Katie Jagel 18 April 2012
Governance reform within the UN is one of the most active sites for comprehensive UN reform. Since 2006, simple ‘governance’ reform has transformed into the more formal “Strengthening Governance of Operational Activities for Development” and has been a fixture on several UN organ agendas. This article maps the efforts, debates, outcome documents, resolutions, since 2008 but focuses mainly, on the actual progress made by the UN on the governance front.
The “Delivering as One" (DaO) Initiative: System-wide Coherence reform.
By Katie Jagel 18 April 2012
This article is a summary of the Delivering as One initiative, monitoring the events which took place from inception up through implementation and subsequent evaluations. It tracks the events and debates which took place since 2008 up through the latest Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review planning documents, planned for late spring of 2012.
The Creation of a Composite Gender Entity: System-wide Coherence reform 2008-present.
By Katie Jagel 16 April 2012
The Creation of a Composite Gender Entity was one of the recommendations of the 2006 High-Level of System-wide Coherence. This article maps the progress of the making of UN Women since 2008. The years 2005-early 2008 are covered in the previous article by Jonas von Freiesleben in Chapter 3 on System-wide Coherence in the Center’s 2008 Edition of Managing Change at the United Nations . This article starts in 2008 and covers the Member State disputes, many concept notes and debates, and what the UN Women organization has been up to since its start date in February of 2011.
The S5 presents draft resolution on the Improvement the Working Methods of the Security Council
By Mie Hansen 10 April 2012
On 4 April 2012 the S5 (Jordan, Liechtenstein, Costa Rica, Singapore and Switzerland) presented a draft resolution on improving the working methods of the Security Council. At the meeting the S5 called for the General Assembly to take a stand to on the issue and suggested 16 May as a possible date for a vote. This article provides a summary of the proposal and the meeting held on it.
First Meeting of the 66th GA session in the Ad Hoc Working Group on Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly
By Mie Hansen 30 March 2012
On 27 March 2012 the ad hoc working group on revitalization of the work of the General Assembly held its first meeting of the 66th General Assembly session. The working group, established pursuant to resolution 65/315, is during the current session Co-Chaired by Ambassador Alexander Lomaia of Georgia and Ambassador Susan Waffa-Ogoo of the Gambia. The meeting was dedicated to a general exchange of views among the Member States on all of the issues included in the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly. This article provides a summary of the meeting and the statements made.
Report on Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) March 7th Special Panel Discussion on “ECOSOC and Global Governance”
By Katie Jagel, 21 March 2012
On March 7th ECOSOC hosted a Special Panel Discussion in New York centered around Global governance. The Discussion hosted three distinguished panelists and was designed by the President of ECOSOC, H.E. Miloš Koterec, as an 'open free-flowing discussion with no formal statements' between Member States and the panelists. Based on questions and statements from Member States, ECOSOC's role in global governance within the UN system is unquestioned but needs to be better defined and articulated in order for it to utilize its mandate as a 'logical platform and good compliment alongside the G20 and the Bretton Woods Institutions (BWI's)'.
Report on Security Council Reform Meeting 21 February 2011
By Mie Hansen, 12 March 2012
On 21 February 2012 the third meeting in the eighth round of the intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform was held, dedicated to the reform initiative of the Uniting for Consensus group. Based on statements delivered by Member States at the meeting as well as conversations with delegates and observers to the process, this report provides a summary of the meeting as well as an update on the current state of the negotiations.
The Human Rights Council: Is it filling its mission as the World’s premier human rights protector?
By Thomas Colerick 23 February 2012
This posting provides an update of the Center’s 2008 article “The establishment of the Humans Rights Council”. It analyzes the achievements of as well as challenges to the Council since 2008 as seen from the perspectives of different stakeholder including civil society, UN Officials and UN Member States.
Update on Security Council Reform: Meeting from 26 January 2012
By Alicia Stott, 15 Febraury 2012
In a letter by the current chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations to the Member States and the President of the General Assembly, it was stated that in the interest of facilitating more in-depth discussion and evaluation the remainder of the meetings for the eighth round of the group will be providing each of the representatives of the five major initiatives the opportunity to present their most current proposals for Security Council reform, beginning with the G-4.
The Council on Foreign Relations posts video talk on Security Council Reform
On 11 January 2012 the Council on Foreign Relations posted a video talk by Stewart M. Patrick on Security Council Reform, entitled “UN Security Council Reform: Is it Time?”. Click here to watch the video talk on the CFR website
Meeting on General Assembly Revitalization 1 December 2011
By Mie Hansen, 5 January 2012
On 1 December 2011 the General Assembly met to discuss Agenda Item 120: Implementation of the Resolutions of the United Nations and Agenda Item 121: Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly.
This article provides an overview of the debate.
Former consultant with the Center for UN Reform Education wins prestigious award
By Thomas Colerick, 13 December 2011
Meeting in the General Assembly on Security Council Reform, 8 and 9 November 2011
By Mie Hansen, 7 December 2011
On 8 and 9 November 2011 the 51st and 52nd plenary meetings of the 66th General Assembly session were held with a discussion of Agenda Item 122: Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters. This article gives an overview of the debate and the statements made during the meetings, as well as an update on the developments in regard to Security Council reform leading up to the debate.
The 2011 Annual Report of the Human Rights Council
By Thomas Colerick, 8 November 2011
The 2011 Annual Report of the Council is now available.
Highlights of the Human Rights Council’s 18th Regular session
By Thomas Colerick, 11 October 2011
New report on the Human Rights Council’s fifth year
By Thomas Colerick, 4 October 2011
The Human Rights Council’s 18th Session (12-30 September 2011)
By Thomas Colerick, 28 September 2011
Update on Revitalization of the General Assembly: A RECAP OF DEVELOPMENTS DURING THE 65th GA SESSION
By Mie Hansen, 27 September 2011
Even before heads of state from around the world gathered last week at UN headquarters in New York for the opening of the 66th annual session of the UN General Assembly, the world’s main deliberative body, continuation of the ongoing negotiations to make the Assembly more effective, efficient and relevant were assured for yet another year. Member States have been discussing the “Revitalization of the General Assembly” for the past twenty years, but according to some critics only minor improvements have been made, leaving deep-seated reforms untouched. Even though all Member States seem to agree that reform of the Assembly is vital, recent developments confirm that it is still very difficult to reach an agreement on what should be done.
Chronology: The Human Rights Council – elections, sessions and important developments
By Thomas Colerick, 23 September 2011
As the Center for UN Reform Education once again will be covering the Human Rights Council more systematically, this chronology of the Council is provided. It includes elections, selected sessions and major developments and takes the reader from the Council’s birth in 2006 to today where the Council is currently holding its 18th Session in Geneva, Switzerland.
Panel on Improving Security Council Working Methods
On 23 June 2011, The Center for UN Reform Education held a panel discussion on “Improving the Working Methods of the Security Council”. The basis for the discussion was the most recent version of the S5 draft proposal on Reforming the Working Methods of the Security Council.
Qatar hosts workshop on Security Council Reform
On 12 & 13 May 2011, Qatar hosted a workshop on Security Council Reform in Doha. Lydia Swart of the Center was invited and she shared ten observations on this key reform process.
To move the process along, Member States, the Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations, and/or the President of the General Assembly will need to provide leadership by proposing a timeline/trajectory for the negotiations and by formulating a compromise solution that can garner support from all factions.
S5 presents draft resolution on Improving the Working Methods of the Security Council
By Mie Hansen, 2 May 2011
On 14 April, 2011, the Small Five Group (S5), consisting of Costa Rica, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Singapore and Switzerland, presented a draft resolution for Improving the Working Methods of the Security Council. The resolution was presented under agenda item 115 of the General Assembly (GA) that deals with follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit. The S5 had presented its first draft resolution on the topic (A/60/L.49) in 2006 also as follow-up to the 2000/2005 Summits.
Update on Security Council Reform
By Mie Hansen, 5 April 2011
Since the Center’s latest update of 22 June 2010, Members States conducted text-based negotiations on 21 October 2010, 11 November 2010, 14 December 2010, and on 2 March 2011 in their efforts to reform the Security Council. Some countries apparently continue to slow down the negotiations, while others may push for a vote sooner rather than later.
Book Launch, The Group of 77: Perspectives on its Role in the UN General Assembly.
25 April 2011
Pictured from right to left: Center President William R. Pace, Minister Marcelo Suarez Salvia from Argentina (current G77 Chair), Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz of Egypt, Ambassador Herman Schaper of the Netherlands, and co-author Lydia Swart. For their remarks, click here: Minister Suarez, Ambassador Schaper, Ambassador Abdelaziz (pending) and Lydia Swart.
Text-based Negotiations in Full Swing
22 June 2010
On June 16th the negotiations on Security Council reform proceeded with the third meeting of the fifth round. The meeting aimed at getting member states to discuss specific language on the fourth “key issue”. Many countries seemed to have misunderstood the intention of the Chair, however, and restated their positions rather than making suggestions for specific changes to the document at hand.
Potentially Historic Text on Security Council Reform
By Jakob Lund, 13 May 2010
On May 10th, Zahir Tanin, the Chair of the intergovernmental negotiations on the question of equitable representation and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council, sent out a long-awaited fax to all member states containing a “negotiation text”. The text and the annex can be accessed on the website of the PGA. The text includes the proposals sent by member states to Tanin's office since he opened the process of moving towards a text-based solution.
Open Debate on the Working Methods of the Security Council
By Jakob Silas Lund, 28 April 2010
On April 22nd, the Security Council’s Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Issues held an open debate on the working methods of the Council. The debate raised some key questions that are relevant to the ongoing Security Council reform negotiations. Furthermore, to keep the issue of its working methods on the agenda of the Security Council is, in and of itself, an accomplishment.
A New Phase in Security Council Reform Has Started
10 February, 2010
On February 5th, the Chair of the intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform, Ambassador Tanin of Afghanistan, sent out a letter to all member states with an attachment of sixty pages. The document (available here and here) includes all “substantive input” submitted by Member States to the Chair thus far in the fourth round of negotiations. This marks the beginning of the fifth round, which, for the first time, will be text-based.
Moving Towards Text-Based Negotiations?
By Jakob Silas Lund, 21 January 2010
The previous month was an eventful one in terms of the Security Council reform process. On December 23rd, a group of countries sent a letter to the Chair of the intergovernmental negotiations, Ambassador Tanin of Afghanistan, urging him to present a composite paper. Following that, Tanin received a number of other letters concerning the process and on January 14th he replied with his own letter to all member states. This all culminated in the latest round of negotiations on January 19th and 20th in which the consequences of the letter exchanges were discussed.
Pros and Cons of Security Council reform
By Jakob Silas Lund, 19 January 2010
Through extensive interviews with experts as well as current and former Ambassadors and diplomats who have been close to the reform process, this article outlines and analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of the components incorporated in the proposals currently on the table.
The Long and Winding Road
by Jakob Silas Lund, 11 December, 2009
On November 16th, the chair of the intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform, Ambassador Zahir Tanin of Afghanistan, sent a letter to all member states inviting them to the first meeting of the fourth round of negotiations. The negotiations ended up spanning over two days rather than the planned one-day session.