Publicado en Mayo 15, 2024

Deputy Secretary-General's remarks at ECOSOC segment on Operational Activities for Development [as prepared for delivery]

Vice-President of ECOSOC, Excellencies,

Five years on, the reinvigorated Resident Coordinator system has become the beating heart of the UN’s development efforts.  

Together, we have realized the vision of the historic development system reforms.

And the dividends are tangible.  

The impact delivered in the last year is a testament to the leadership displayed across the UN system – from my Vice Chair in the UNSDG, Achim Steiner, through the heads of each entity to the individual members of the UN country teams.

I am proud of the ownership and leadership demonstrate by all to ensure we can most effectively deliver on the 2030 Agenda.

This would not be possible without the guidance and contributions of Member States. On behalf of colleagues across the UN system, thank you!

This is the beginning of consolidating the gains. The next QCPR cycle is just ahead of us and will be critical to propel us even further.   

Our litmus test remains unchanged: how can we collectively accelerate actions to achieve the SDGs, which remain woefully off track.

Last September, Member States set a clear vision for accelerating action for the SDGs, including through the Political Declaration.

To accelerate action towards the SDGs, the UN has to mobilize the means of implementation at unprecedent pace. And it has to bolster its offer around key transitions.  These opportunities have catalytic and multiplier effects across the breadth of the SDGs.

As we had envisioned, the Resident Coordinator system has consolidated as the bedrock of a development system that is being called upon to deliver with renewed pace and scale – often addressing unparalleled and unforeseen global challenges.


My report on the Development Coordination Office and the Resident Coordinator system explains their impact and support to countries in their pursuit to accelerate action for the SDGs.

Year after year, we increasingly receive positive and constructive feedback on the added-value of the reinvigorated RC system and the support provided by the UN development system.

And the evidence is also clear in evaluations and independent surveys carried out by external and internal entities like OIOS, UNFPA and DESA.

But, as set out in my report, hurdles still impede our ability to deliver at a full sprint. As the evidence base widens, we are able to increasingly target our focus to address these remaining variables.

Strengthened Resident Coordinator leadership, with the support of a minimum of core capacities in each Resident Coordinator office, is amplifying the reach and impact of the UN development system.

My report highlights the progress the development system has made in several areas.

First, the UN development system is more closely aligned to national needs and priorities, anchored in robust common country analysis.  

Today, 92 per cent of host Governments say that Resident Coordinators are effectively leading UN Country Teams’ efforts to deliver strategic support for national plans and priorities, compared to 79 per cent in 2019.

94 per cent of host governments agree that Cooperation Framework activities are closely aligned with national needs – a 13 per cent increase since 2019.

And as set out in my report, there has been greater participation by non-resident entities and international financial institutions in Cooperation Frameworks.

In mission settings, Resident Coordinators are ensuring that UN interventions are anchored to a vision of sustainable development. This is especially pivotal in the transitions to the UN country teams after the mission closures in Sudan and Mali, and the ongoing transition in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and indications of others to come.

Second, an important shift is taking root towards collective policy support and a systems approach to accelerate the SDGs.

In a recent evaluation, OIOS found in the 5 countries examined that Resident Coordinators have effectively leveraged the breadth of UN expertise to deliver integrated policy advice in line with countries’ needs. This demonstrates the close collaboration between Resident Coordinators and members of the UN Sustainable Development Group.  

94 per cent of host Governments agree that the UN development system adequately provides evidence-based policy advice today, compared to 88 per cent in 2021.

Resident Coordinators are working with UN country teams to ensure that system-wide shifts in internal policy priorities are taking place.  

97 UN country teams reported on the System-Wide Action Plan for gender equality last year, compared to 76 in 2022. While the gender system--wide analysis shows, we have a long way to go in supporting countries to achieve Goal 5.

All UN country teams have reported on annual implementation of the UN Disability Inclusion Strategy for the third year in a row. However, only 35 per cent of UN development system entities and 30 per cent of UN country teams meet or exceed 50 per cent of the strategy’s indicators. There is still more work needed to mainstream disability inclusion across the system.

In keeping with the UN’s zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, 98 per cent of country teams have a structure in place to coordinate efforts to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse. We continue to ensure that victims receive tangible and sustained assistance and enhance our engagement with local communities to strengthen prevention. We are also working to mainstream protection from sexual exploitation and abuse in the Cooperation Frameworks.

Third, Resident Coordinators are facilitating more access to pooled funding and financing for SDG solutions.

They helped access US$268 million in financial commitments from the Joint SDG Fund to 119 UN country teams for joint programmes with 31 UN entities.

In 57 countries, Resident Coordinators steered the design and delivery of UN country team joint programmes funded by the Peacebuilding Fund, for a total of $202 million.

However, the overall share of multi-year funding for the Cooperation Frameworks remains low. Joint budgeting remains a challenge, along with limited pooled funding and incentive structures.

In the next year, the Development Coordination Office will continue working with UN entities to implement planning processes better aligned with the Cooperation Frameworks with the budgets associated with the country programme documents.  We have  - in line with the reforms - worked to tailor the UNCT country configuration to provide the right footprint and profile to support the delivery of the commitments in the Cooperation Frameworks and CPDS. The evaluation to be conducted by the system-wide evaluation office on alignment later in the year provides an opportunity to identify the hurdles in improving this.

Fourth, a rigorous and conscientious approach has been adopted to strengthen accountability and transparency for results.

For the second consecutive year, all Resident Coordinator offices produced a UN Country Results Report in 2023, which are made available on the UN country team websites.

We are reporting against the multi-annual Resident Coordinator system results framework – which points to increasing results across the RC leadership, partnerships, and accountability.

Through the consultations I led this fall on funding for the Resident Coordinator system, we heard your requests for more transparency and engagement on results. I am now certain that we have provided more information than ever before on the functioning and finances of the Resident Coordinator system. 

But we continue to welcome your input on how we can further strengthen this. The session to be held on Thursday provides ample opportunity for Member States to discuss and the ECOSOC resolution is a space to provide guidance.

Fifth, the Development Coordination Office is effectively stewarding efforts by development system entities to realise delivery of operational efficiencies.

The Resident Coordinators in Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Colombia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Mali, Morocco and Tanzania have worked with UN country teams and established common premises in 2023.

The first fully-fledged common back office was launched this year in Nairobi. Serviced by UNON together with UNICEF and WFP, the office offers 101 services to over 3,500 staff from more than 60 UN entities. Similar efforts are under way with priority initiatives in Tanzania, Brazil, Viet Nam and Senega.
As noted by the Secretary-General this morning, the system has far outperformed expectations in realising efficiencies – over $1.5 billion since 2019. This means $1.5 billion that has been redirected back to programme support in countries. This is a testament to the commitment of UN entities and country teams. 


While we should be encouraged by the progress to date, my report also highlights areas that need continuous attention as we seek to enhance the benefits of coordination day in, day out.

Of particular concern is the fact that, for the first time since the reform’s implementation, we saw a 29 per cent decrease in UN country team members perception of improved implementation of the Management and Accountability Framework.

We cannot allow this to become a multi-year trend. We will undertake a review of the Framework in 2024 to identify barriers and how to address them.

System-wide commitments made through Cooperation Frameworks are still not uniformly translated to entity programme instruments at the country level.

Under the leadership of the Secretary-General and in consultation with the governing bodies, we will do our utmost to overcome these challenges, and others.

Other aspects require further guidance and support from Member States.

Governing bodies of UNSDG entities have access to a checklist to support reform efforts. And I count on all entities to share these results with their Boards.


Sufficient and quality funding for the work of the UN development system is critical.

Core funding enables agencies to shift their mindsets from survival to collaboration. From being forced to take any projects or funding available, to a more effective use of comparative advantages and collective and dynamic responses to better enable delivery of the SDGs at the country level.

Pooled funds – in particular the Joint SDG Fund – continue to be the main vehicle to support collaborative programming. As such, UN Principals agreed to revitalize the Fund to ensure that it is better aligned to the transitions to ensure catalytic impact for SDG acceleration. The Fund continues to have an astonishing multiplier effect, with $18 in funding mobilized for the SDG for every $1 invested in the Fund.

The re-energized Funding Compact – clearer and more strategic than its predecessor – can play a critical role in supporting these behavioural shifts.


As the Secretary-General said earlier today, it is of the utmost importance that funding for the Resident Coordinator system is provided in a predictable and sustainable way.

Without this, the RC system cannot and will not be able to perform as you expect. And this will have a knock-on effect across the support provided by the entire UN development system. It could also weaken trust in the reforms itself, setting us back in our joint efforts and jeopardizing the investments you have made.

The RC system is constrained by the inadequate financial resources available. Last year’s shortfall of $68m continued to hamper and scale back the ability of the system to deliver.

In 2023, DCO curtailed RC talent scouting — and the talent pipeline has been paused in 2024. W 52 countries were directly impacted by recruitment pauses.

And it may get worse.

Should the funding gap not be addressed urgently, more significant cuts will be unavoidable,  including to our footprint on the ground.

As you know, the General Assembly Fifth Committee is considering the Secretary-General's proposal to address this chronic problem. The Secretary-General and I consider this matter to be a top priority.  We count on Member States to constructively engage in the Fifth Committee to achieve an outcome in a timely manner.

To date, we have appreciated your engagements that have guided us to date in this process. Your reflections and perspectives have taken seriously.

We are counting on Member States to close this gap and unlock the full potential of the system’s reforms.


In only five years, we have revolutionized the way the UN development system operates. My report this year demonstrates the benefits of improved coordination for sustainable development, precisely when the world most needs results.

But achieving the SDGs will take much more from all of us.

I remain convinced that, working together, we can overcome any obstacles ahead of us. Let us rise to the challenge and deliver at the scale and urgency needed to meet the 2030 deadline.

Thank you.