Opening speech at the high-level tripartite conference on Delivering as One: lessons learned and way forward

16 Jun 2010

Speaker: UN Deputy Secretary General, Ms Asha-Rose Migiro   
Date:       Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Event:     ‘High Level Tripartite conference on Delivering as One: lessons from country-led evaluation and way forward’
Venue:    Melia Hotel, Hanoi

Your Excellency, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung,
Excellencies,
Ambassador Mahiga as Facilitator,
Distinguished members of delegations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Colleagues from the United Nations system,

Mr. Prime Minister, I thank you and the Government of Viet Nam for hosting this gathering of development partners.  We have enjoyed your generous hospitality, including at the magnificent Gala dinner last night. 

Viet Nam has embraced the Delivering as One concept early on, even before the High-level Panel on System-wide Coherence put forward its recommendations.  Organizing a large high-level conference of this kind, particularly in a year full of meetings to host, shows the high priority your Government places on the success of Delivering as One initiative.

Your country’s vibrancy and progress are clear for all to see.   Despite the challenges and churning of the world economy, your country will not be daunted.  Your achievements in economic growth and poverty reduction are most impressive.

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Last October, many of us were together in Kigali, Rwanda, to exchange experiences and take stock of progress in implementing “Delivering as One”. 

We gather once again to draw more lessons learned, this time from independent country-led evaluations.

“Delivering as One” is the centrepiece of reforms for system-wide coherence on operational activities for development.  It has been closely watched by governments, donors, the United Nations system and other partners. 

It is one of the five focus areas being considered by the General Assembly in its discussions on system-wide coherence.

We are now into the fourth year of implementation.  With the upcoming independent evaluation, the piloting is coming   to a close.

We may be nearing the end of a phase of exploration and study, but in many ways, this is just the beginning of innovation, learning, change and reform.

The independent evaluation will feed into the General Assembly’s comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development in 2012. 

The outcome of the review will set the policy directions for the United Nations development system for the years ahead. 

The Secretary-General has shared the plan for the conduct of the evaluation with the Member States.  It adheres to norms for the independence and credibility of evaluation.     The process will be inclusive and transparent.  An independent Evaluation Management Group will oversee the entire process and provide quality assurance. 

This tripartite conference is an opportunity to reflect on where we stand today.

“Delivering as One” was launched at the beginning of 2007 by the programme pilot countries. 

The purpose was clear: pilot countries, working in cooperation with all parts of the United Nations development system, would lead the way in operationalizing the vision of the United Nations system at the country level. 

The aim is to mobilize mandates, capacities and distinct contributions in a coherent response to country-led efforts to eradicate poverty and promote economic growth and sustainable development.

Programme pilot countries agreed to take up this challenge, and to be bold and creative.

The vision was built on the concept of “four ones”: 

One leader.   One programme.  One budget framework.  And, where appropriate, one office.

At the same time, we emphasized that a fifth “one” does not apply – that is, “there will be no “one size fits all” approach.

On the contrary, we stressed national ownership and leadership by the government; alignment with national development plans and strategies; and a recognition of the unique mandates, experiences and expertise of individual United Nations funds, programmes and agencies.  National capacity development was to be a central goal throughout.

Transforming concept to reality has posed many challenges, and has required major departures from business as usual. 

It has also required changes in mindset -- transforming our attitudes and perspectives in order to genuinely work as one team with shared goals and mutual accountability. 

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have come a long way in the past three years.  

The conclusions from our Maputo and Kigali meetings bear this out.

But there is still much work ahead.  Many of the successful changes need to be institutionalised in order to be sustainable. 

Furthermore, there is space to improve coordination, efficiency and effectiveness in the Delivering as One countries.  The Chief Executives Board is continuing to address critical blockages in the operability of systems across UN organizations, including through the Action Plan on Harmonization of Business Practices. 

As we focus on these operational details, we must keep the big picture in view.

As countries prepare for the Millennium Development Goals Summit in September, it is imperative that our meeting here reflect on what “delivering as one” has achieved and what we can we do better.   

Our challenge is to ensure that “delivering as one” truly helps countries meet their national development needs and priorities, including their commitments to the internationally agreed development goals. 

It means ensuring real synergy in joint efforts.

It means providing flexible, rapid, and coherent responses to shocks, emergencies, and sudden turns in developments, such as the multiple crises in the past two years. 

It means mobilizing resources from all parts of the system to meet the growing need for policy and technical advice.

And it means having a coherent support in place – material and human resources from across the system, ready for deployment to assist countries undergoing post-conflict transition, facing complex political situations or recovering from disasters.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to acknowledge the support of the United Nations Development Group, its member organizations, and its secretariat. 

I thank the countries that have generously contributed funding to this effort.  We hope you will continue to demonstrate strong commitment to supporting the initiative.

Most of all, I salute the eight programme country pilots for their efforts not only to “Deliver as One” but to shape and guide     United Nations reform around the world. 

When we Deliver as One, we deliver for all. 

Thank you for your commitment to this effort.