Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review Module 2

Organized by UNITAR

Functions of the UN development system – SIDS Perspective

29 April 2016


Ambassador Marco Suazo, Director of UNITAR NY Office

Moderator Mr. Navid Hanif, Director of Office of ECOSOC Support and Coordination DESA

Distinguished colleague panelists, Colleagues and Mission Representatives

As Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), today I am going to try an bring a SIDS perspective as we discuss the "functions of the UN development system" in the context of the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review.

I wish to thank UNITAR for organizing these trainings. These trainings are very helpful in providing some guidance and food-for-thought as we chart our course and adapt accordingly to the demands of the 2030 Agenda.

For SIDS, the United Nations Development System has always been a staple figure in SIDS development.  Now with the new mandates as set forth by the 2030 Agenda, it must step up to fully address the challenges of the special needs of SIDS. Because SIDS will have to rely even more heavily on it, as we attempt to implement the 2030 Agenda.

2030 isn't that far away. We have a tall ask that not only the system be adjusted quickly, but that these adjustments be made in a holistic manner. It has to allow for efficient and effective service that is also cost effective and leaves room for some flexibility and adjustments.

The 2030 Agenda should be the framework on which we the system orient its functions. For SIDS, this framework should also include the SAMOA Pathway. The SAMOA Pathway is the sustainable development blueprint for SIDS. And it is integrated fully into the 2030 Agenda.

The UNDS cannot continue to work in silos. The different agencies cannot continue to operate as competitors. The system has to act as one, delivering service in a more coordinated and comprehensive manner. We believe this will greatly benefit project delivery, but also enhance the quality of the projects and the work on the ground. This will also assist us with our very limited capacity and expertise to better respond on the ground.

The UNDS must be in a better position to respond and adjust to national priorities. They could also help in identifying these priorities, where applicable.

There is the whole discussion around renaming the system and having it fly under a new logo. SIDS can be flexible with this: but this as the least important factor in the scheme of things that need to be addressed.

We are more concerned with the delivery of services.  And how this will accelerate the implementation process. We have always and will continue to call for the system to be universal. However, we will also continue to emphasize that being universal does not mean, "one size fits all": it means responding to all countries with specific vulnerabilities, such as SIDS. It means responding to national priorities as determined by countries themselves, and agreed jointly with the UNDS.

The UNDS is a system that is familiar with the multi-dimentionality of poverty. It is also familiar with the diversities of challenges that affect specific groups of countries, such as SIDS. The UNDS therefore has to play a more coordinated role with the International Financial Institutions regarding their funding practices and policies. SIDS with its unique challenges are unfavourably accessed by GDP, and become ineligible for most concessional financing. This is why we would favour an approach that determines support that is based on needs, rather than income criteria.

There is also the key role of playing an interlocutor for partnerships especially those with the private sector. The UNDS can also work in ensuring guidelines and policies are in place to provide respected, transparent and monitoring to the engagement.

A mapping of the UNDS with regards to SIDS priorities, which includes the 2030 Agenda, SAMOA Pathway, Sendai Framework, Paris Agreement has to be undertaken. This will be important to have a clearer understanding of the lines of engagement and specifying roles. In addition, there also needs to be some monitoring or assessing mechanism for follow-up and review of these engagements.

UNDS must also assist with closing the gaps. This includes gaps in baseline data, its collection, analysis or disaggregation. SIDS believe that UNDS must provide training and capacity building techniques to facilitate development and possible independence. These should be among the core functions of the system as it related to development.

Lastly, the General Assembly in the context of Resolution 70/202 has commissioned a review of the UN system support for SIDS. This is currently being conducted by the Joint Inspection Unit. We will therefore have more clarity around our positions, once this study is done.

I hope I was able to provide some insight into our priorities and thinking with regard to the functions of the UN Development System.

Thank you.